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Recount confirms that indicted Colorado clerk lost election

Colorado's secretary of state says a statewide recount has confirmed that an indicted county clerk who alleged voting fraud lost her primary election last month

DENVER (AP) — A recount has confirmed that an indicted Colorado county clerk who alleged voting fraud lost the primary election she ran in last month in her attempt to win the post of running the state's elections, officials announced Thursday.

The results barely changed, with Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters picking up 13 more votes in the recount of the votes cast in the June 28 election to determine the Republican candidate for secretary of state. Peters received about 29% of the vote, Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement.

The winner of the GOP primary for the job of overseeing Colorado's elections, Pam Anderson, received 13 more votes during the recount and finished with 43%. A third candidate, Mike O'Donnell, got 11 more votes.

Peters’ voicemail was full and she did not immediately return a text message or emails seeking comment on the recount results.

She filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Griswold and the state’s county clerks alleging the recount was not conducted according to state law. The lawsuit claims that the accuracy of randomly selected machines used to count ballots should have been verified with a hand count before the recount began.

Griswold's office said in a statement that the lawsuit was meritless.

“The allegations in the lawsuit are based on debunked conspiracies that have been rejected by judges in previous cases. The recount is over and was conducted under Colorado election law and rule,” the statement said.

Peters faces several felony charges for her alleged role in allowing unauthorized people to break into her county’s election system in search of proof of the conspiracy theories spun by former President Donald Trump after his 2020 election loss.

She has denied she did anything illegal and contends the charges are politically motivated. She has issued reports purporting to show suspicious activity within voting systems, but those have been debunked by various officials and experts.

A judge prohibited Peters from overseeing last year’s and this year’s local elections in Mesa County, a western region of the state that is largely rural and heavily Republican. Trump lost Colorado in 2020 but won the majority of the vote in this county.

Peters' margin of loss in the GOP secretary of state primary did not require an automatic recount but she raised more than the $256,000 required to pay for one, reportedly mostly from supporters outside the state after making a plea for help on Steve Bannon's podcast.

During the recount, 37 ballots that had been filled out and returned by voters were discovered in a bin with ballots returned as undeliverable that were being prepared for storage in Elbert County, which is near Denver.

Those ballots were opened and counted for the first time during the recount but did not change the results of any race, the secretary of state’s office said.

A breakdown of county recount results provided by Griswold's office showed that there were also some small changes in ballot tallies in other counties that changed the vote results.