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Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters looks out to the a=udience before speaking during the “Colorado Election Truth Rally” on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at the Capitol Building in Denver, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

The Fruita Police Department on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters for allegedly violating the terms of her bond, as well as a protective order.

The violation stems from an email Peters sent to 62 county clerks, telling them she would request a hand recount of the June 28 GOP primary results for Colorado Secretary of State.

One of those counties was Mesa County. Peters was prohibited from having any contact with anyone in the county clerk's office, both as a condition of her $25,000 bond and from the terms of a protective order issued earlier this year.

An affidavit filed to support the arrest warrant said that Peters sent an email to Brandi Bantz, the county director of elections, at 2:44 a.m. on July 20. The email was sent from Peters' Mesa County email address and stated that as a candidate, Peters was going forward with a request for a hand recount in "selected counties." According to the Colorado County Clerks Association, only Fremont and Weld counties did not get that request.

Griswold nixes requests for hand recounts from Republicans Tina Peters, Ron Hanks

Bantz notified a Fruita Police Department's investigator that Peters was under a restraining order that banned her from contacting anyone in the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's Office. Bantz also contacted the district attorney's office, according to the affidavit.

Peters was in a Mesa County courtroom less than a week ago for violating the terms of the bond, tied to traveling to Las Vegas without court permission. An arrest warrant had been issued for that incident, but was dismissed by Mesa County Court Judge Matthew Barrett. District Attorney Dan Rubinstein had no objection to the dismissal, based on admissions by Peters' attorney Harvey Steinberg that he had failed to notify Peters that she needed court permission to travel out of state. 

Barrett's order was issued on July 11, hours before Peters flew to Las Vegas to speak at a convention. Rubinstein argued in a motion restricting her travel that Peters should be treated like any other defendant once she lost the Republican primary for secretary of state.

While Barrett dismissed the arrest warrant and request to revoke her bond, he sternly warned Peters and Steinberg he would not tolerate any more violations of the bond tied to travel and would likely not grant such requests for travel so freely in the future. 

Peters' decision to seek a hand recount is not likely legal, according to the clerks association. She lost the primary to former Jeffco Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson by 14 percentage points, so the contest is not subject to an automatic recount. 

Peters could have obtained a recount if she were willing to pay for it. But she failed to submit certified funds, totaling more than $236,000, to Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office ahead of a July 15 deadline.

She also said she wanted a hand recount, but under rules adopted by Griswold's Republican predecessor, recounts have to be conducted using the same method as the original count — in these cases, using electronic tabulation equipment.

Editor's note: A previous version misidentified the law enforcement agency handling the arrest warrant.

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