Election-denying Colorado clerk surrenders to authorities

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FILE - Tina Peters speaks to supporters at her election watch party in Sedalia, Colo., on June 28, 2022. Mesa County Clerk Peters turned herself in to law enforcement on Thursday, July 21, Pitkin County officials said. She was booked at the county jail at 9:22 p.m. Thursday because authorities said Peters violated the terms of her bail and a protective order forbidding her from contacting election staff in Mesa County. Peters was released Thursday night after paying her bond. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — A rural Colorado official known as the state’s most prominent election denier surrendered to authorities amid allegations she violated the terms of her release as she awaits trial on accusations of breaking into her county’s election system.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters turned herself at the Pitkin County Jail in Aspen in Thursday night and was booked, said Parker Lathrop, the county's chief deputy of operations.

She was released on bond later that night, Lathrop said. Authorities claim she had violated bail conditions by contacting workers at the Mesa County elections office.

A warrant for her arrest had been issued less than a week after Peters' lawyer convinced a judge not to send her back to jail because of allegations she improperly traveled out of state while awaiting trial.

Peters has echoed former President Donald Trump’s false theories about the 2020 election. She and her chief deputy, Belinda Knisley, are charged with allowing a copy of a hard drive to be made during an update of election equipment in May 2021.

Peters and Knisley have denied wrongdoing and Peters has called the charges politically motivated.

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 won it in the 2020 presidential election with nearly 63% of the vote. President Joe Biden won Colorado overall with 55.4% of the state’s vote.

Peters lost a bid for the Republican Party nomination for Colorado Secretary of State last month.

After the Secretary of State’s office told her she was not entitled to a hand recount under the law, Peters contacted dozens of county election offices asking them to do their own.

Authorities said she included Mesa County and that doing so was a violation of her release.

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