Denver Post Editorial: Thanks to voters, we can almost ignore Tina Peters and Ron Hanks

We thought we’d just take a moment to thank Colorado Republican primary voters for rejecting Tina Peters and Ron Hanks as the candidates for secretary of state and U.S. Senate, respectively.

These individuals have no business being in public office, and were they now candidates with the legitimacy of a party nomination, they would be insufferable.

We can almost ignore their antics, except for the fact that they continue to cast doubt on our election system in Colorado. Both have requested recounts in their races, which the candidates will have to pay for themselves because the elections were not close. Peters is also requesting records about ballot drop boxes and video surveillance. They allege the election was rigged and they were the actual winners, but neither has presented any evidence to that effect.

Peters is technically still the clerk and recorder in Mesa County despite the fact that she has been indicted on charges related to the illegal copying of an election hard drive and passwords. She said on election night that she shouldn’t have trusted the system because polls she saw (we have not seen any polling in her primary race) indicated she would win. She received 29% of the votes.

Hanks, who lost with 46% of the votes, centered his campaign on claims that the 2020 election for president was rigged.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office confirmed to The Post on Thursday that both candidates had requested recounts.

Of course, we fully support the recount process, especially in extremely close races, but these candidates are not serious in their efforts to force a recount. We do not believe that Peters and Hanks are sincere in their belief that the 2020 election or their 2022 primary election were rigged. This strikes us as a publicity stunt. We base that on having reviewed the evidence that they have publicly presented through the group U.S. Election Integrity Plan and found it completely absent of merit.

That is not to say that Colorado’s election system is perfect. There are a number of reforms we would love to see put in place to make the elections more secure — simple things like requiring a driver’s license, passport, social security card, or other secure identification to register to vote. But it’s impossible to have a policy debate about nuanced reforms when candidates allege a vast conspiracy of fraud.

Peters especially has shown a blatant disregard for our state.

She is out of jail awaiting a trial on a $25,000 cash bail for 10 criminal charges, including attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, identity theft, official misconduct, violation of duty, and failing to comply with the secretary of state. District Attorney Dan Rubinstein accused Peters last week of violating the terms of her release by leaving the state without notifying the court and receiving permission.

On Thursday, a Mesa County District Court judge agreed to revoke Peters’ bond and issue a warrant for her arrest. Peters’ attorney blamed himself for her actions saying that he had failed to relay to the court Peters’ travel plans and also failed to notify Peters about changes to travel allowances that had been given to her during the election. In a hearing Friday, the judge quashed the arrest warrant.

We are grateful that Peters and Hanks have not been deemed legitimate candidates for the 2022 general election, and once the recount is completed and the criminal trials concluded, we hope the state can move on from these conspiracy theories.

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