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Judge rules Mesa County clerk Tina Peters cannot oversee November elections

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FILE – In this June 30, 2020, file photo, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters reads an update on the election in Grand Junction, Colo. The rural Colorado county clerk who has been out of state and allegedly unresponsive since several investigations were opened into an elections-related security breach told co-workers she’s been working remotely. Mesa County Clerk Peters has not been seen in Colorado since Secretary of State Jena Griswold opened an investigation into a security breach of the county’s voting equipment. (McKenzie Lange/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP, File)

DENVER (AP/KDVR) — A judge has ruled that Tina Peters, the Mesa County elections clerk, cannot be involved in the November elections.

The ruling comes after multiple investigations including a criminal probe by the FBI were opened into a security breach of the county’s voting machines.

Judge Valerie Robison issued an injunction Wednesday prohibiting Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from participating as election officials in the upcoming elections.

Peters and Knisley “have committed a breach and neglect of duty and
other wrongful acts,” the judge found in the ruling.

It also approved the state’s request to appoint Wayne Williams as the Mesa County designated election official through the November election and Sheila Reiner as the county’s election supervisor.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold sued to remove Peters as clerk after she said images of Mesa County’s election equipment management software were obtained by elections conspiracy theorists and posted on far-right blogs.

Knisley, the deputy clerk, was charged in September with burglary and cybercrime on accusations she accessed a secure county workspace while suspended from her job and tried to print something from Peters’ computer.

Attorney General Phil Weiser said it’s continuing to work with the Mesa County district attorney on the investigation in the alleged elections system security breach.

Read the judge’s full ruling, which includes the facts of the case.

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