DENVER, CO (KRDO)-- A little more than 24 hours after Democrats in the Colorado Senate unveiled Senate Bill 22-153, Colorado Republicans are firing back.
The bill would prohibit anyone convicted of an election-related offense from being an elected official. It would also require an electronic key card login to access voting systems, 24-hour video surveillance of voting sites, and would ban election officials from knowingly spreading misinformation.
Last week, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters was indicted on 10 counts connected to the investigation into "election equipment tampering and official misconduct."
Peters turned herself into the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and appeared before a judge, where she surrendered her passport and was told she was not allowed to leave Colorado. She has since bonded out of jail.
Peters is also running to be Colorado Secretary of State,
While she hasn't been convicted yet, it's unclear at the moment if that section of SB 22-153 would apply to Peters.
On Tuesday, Peters responded to the bill, telling KRDO:
This is not “an elections bill”, this is an attempt to further limit transparency into Colorado’s election process. Soros operative Gestapo Griswold’s Senate Bill 22-153 is a bald attempt to prevent anyone from knowing how our voting systems work," she continued. "Among other things, it criminalized election officials’ free speech.Tina Peters
Mesa County Clerk and Reporter
Just got a text back from Mesa Co. Clerk Tina Peters on the election security bill put out by the Colorado Dems. Peters says it's an attempt to further limit transparency and calls SoS @jenagriswold a "Soros operative Gestapo"@krdonc13 story: https://t.co/zSuJ8WcGVV #copolitics pic.twitter.com/OlGlaPTHzE— Spencer Soicher KRDO (@spencersoicher) March 15, 2022
A Gestapo is defined as "a secret-police organization employing underhanded and terrorist methods against persons suspected of disloyalty." According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Gestapo was Nazi Germany's police force used to target the Jewish community.
Peters went on to say she has issues with sections 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 and 15 of the bill, claiming the bill was "scary."
Last week, the Colorado GOP asked Peters to suspend her campaign. Still, in a letter to supporters Tuesday, the party rebuked the bill too.
"Jena Griswold not only wants to be the Secretary of State; she wants to become judge and jury as well. The extreme portions of this bill are a transparent attempt to stoke fear and distrust in local elections and center all the power with Jena -- all without checks or balances," a letter signed by Colorado GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown reads.
Peters is not the only Republican running to be the next Colorado Secretary of State. Pam Anderson has announced her candidacy as well and told KRDO she actually isn't opposed to SB 22-153.
"I don't have a problem with the bill as a whole," Anderson said. "Do I think that there needs to be a further conversation for potential amendments? Yes. I do think this should apply to the secretary of state's office as well. I don't think it should just apply to local election officials.
Anderson is a former two-term Jefferson County clerk and past executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association. She says she's not an election-denier and unlike Peters, she believes there were no discrepancies that would have changed the outcome in the 2020 election. Still, she says she's unhappy with election officials trying to raise their political profile, which she says she sees in both Griswold and Peters.
"I've been extremely disturbed by some of the partisan rhetoric that we see not only from the state but at certain places and the local level like Tina Peters and using the power of the office for raising your own political profile," Anderson said.