Lynn Bartels: Pam Anderson is the best choice for Secretary of State

By Lynn Bartels
Lynn Bartels: Pam Anderson is the best choice for Secretary of State

Somehow Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters got talked into believing Dominion voting machines are untrustworthy but her own primary victory in 2018 dispelled that notion.

Peters was convinced that the Mesa County clerk at the time, Sheila Reiner, was going to throw the primary so that Reiner’s staffer would win the nomination for clerk.

Peters relayed her fears to then Secretary of State, fellow Republican Wayne Williams, when he visited Grand Junction. Colorado’s election process is designed to prevent election officials from tampering with machines and changing votes, Williams told her. 

Peters went on to win the primary and the general election.

It is worth noting that after having concerns about her predecessor fixing an election, Peters as a new clerk never took the time to understand her voting system or the security protecting that system. Under Williams’ leadership, the Colorado Department of State conducted its own independent analysis of Dominion’s voting system.  That testing resulted in system security upgrades and other new security protocols that mitigated vulnerabilities that recently were disclosed. Those changes were made before the 2020 election.  

Peters now faces felony and misdemeanor charges over alleged security breaches involving the county’s Dominion machines in an attempt to bolster the disproved theory that the 2020 presidential election victory was stolen from Donald Trump.

It’s numbing to think she is running for secretary of state, the top elections officer in Colorado.

“We exposed the fraud,” Peters said when she addressed the Douglas County Republican Assembly on March 19. “I won’t give up. I won’t give in. I won’t back down.”

The only thing Peters exposed is her own naivety and gullibility and that of her followers. 

The secretary of state, however, must be nervous about Anderson, who is an elections expert on the local, state and national stage. After two terms as county clerk, Anderson led the Colorado County Clerks Association, the final two years during Griswold’s first two years in office. Anderson has Griswold’s number. 

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Peters faces former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson and businessman Mike O’Donnell of Yuma in the GOP primary. The winner will take on Democrat Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who unseated Williams in the 2018 blue wave that crushed many Republicans. 

Griswold’s abrasive management style, hyperpartisanship and unprecedented senior staff turnover have turned off even fellow Democrats. 

As political columnist Eric Sondermann once said, Democrats are mixed about Griswold’s performance, with critics believing she is “a walking definition of shallow hype whom her own employees loathe and then leave.”

At a recent debate with the three GOP candidates, Clerk Peters claimed she’s the only candidate “Jena Griswold is afraid of.”

Who is Peters kidding? Her legal problems have enriched Griswold’s campaign coffers considerably. The secretary often appears on national TV and social media criticizing Peters and asking for donations to stop the election-conspiracy candidate. Peters is her golden goose. 

I doubt Griswold is worried about O’Donnell, who has become somewhat of a favorite at candidate forums with his Australian accent and folksy demeanor. But it is easy to debunk the conclusions he reaches from information gleaned from  public lists and Google searches, a sign that O’Donnell hasn’t reached out enough to county clerks who understand election data.

The secretary of state, however, must be nervous about Anderson, who is an elections expert on the local, state and national stage. After two terms as county clerk, Anderson led the Colorado County Clerks Association, the final two years during Griswold’s first two years in office. Anderson has Griswold’s number. 

But Griswold isn’t going anywhere if Tina Peters wins the GOP nomination. Unaffiliated voters make up the largest voting block in Colorado, followed by Democrats and Republicans. Even voters who aren’t fans of Griswold will hold their noses and vote to re-elect her to make sure someone with Peters’ history never becomes Colorado’s secretary of state.

Peters is accused of helping an unauthorized person make copies of sensitive voting machine hard drives and sharing information from the machines and secure passwords with election conspiracy theorists. She faces seven felony charges and three misdemeanors. 

Yes, she is innocent until proven guilty. But consider that a judge ruled that Peters and her top deputy cannot oversee elections in Mesa County in part because they were found to have breached and neglected their duties, and “committed wrongful acts by being untruthful.”

We’re not talking about allegations here. We’re talking about an actual judicial finding.  

Tina Peters’ hometown newspaper in Grand Junction said it best. 

“In general, The Daily Sentinel does not endorse in primary elections. But we are making an exception this year to endorse against the following: running with scissors, drinking Drano and voting for Tina Peters. She is a uniquely unqualified, incompetent and immoral candidate in the Republican race for secretary of state.”

The headline read: “Send Peters home.” 

Amen to that. 


About the Author:

Lynn Bartels worked as a reporter for 35 years before becoming the spokeswoman for Secretary of State Wayne Williams. She also handled communications for the clerks association.