Former President Donald Trump's conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was "stolen" has uprooted untold numbers of lives, especially among his supporters.
Hundreds of pro-Trump extremists were arrested after attacking the United States Capitol in an effort to prevent the congressional certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory. At least two of the former President's supporters died that day.
MyPillow CEO and prominent conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell claims to have spent nearly $30 million of his personal fortune in a quixotic effort to vindicate his 2020 election delusions.
Trump himself is under criminal investigation in Georgia for his efforts to persuade its Republican election officials, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to overturn Biden's victory there.
Now, yet another name can be added to that list: Mesa County, Colorado elections clerk Tina Peters.
A staunch supporter of Trump, Peters attempted last summer to prove election instability by secretly recording a video and screenshots for Ron Watkins, the 8chan administrator whom many believe is secretly the "Q" of QAnon. The low-quality video shows Peters interrogating an employee of Dominion Voting Systems—the elections software company that Trump's supporters baselessly claim switched Trump votes to Biden votes. Watkins shared the video and screenshots, crediting a "whistleblower," but didn't block out Peters' password to the election system's basic input/output system (BIOS) motherboard—a catastrophic breach of election security.
In her effort to prove the election was compromised, Tina Peters compromised herself. Because her password was unique, the breach was easily traced to her.
BREAKING: Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters has been INDICTED on 11 counts and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley on 6 counts in "election system breach." This is out of the DA's office in Mesa County.
— Jeremy Jojola (@jeremyjojola) March 9, 2022
Now, she's been charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant and one count each of conspiracy to commit attempting to influence a public servant, identity theft, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation identity theft, criminal impersonation, first-degree official misconduct, violation of duty, and failing to comply with the secretary of state.
Peters' colleague, Belinda Knisley was arrested on six similar counts. Both have since been released on bond after turning themselves in.
Social media users weren't exactly sympathetic.
Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters was just indicted. Officials who carry out elections do so in public trust and must be held accountable when they abuse their power or position. I will always protect Colorado elections and Coloradans’ right to vote.
— Jena Griswold (@JenaGriswold) March 9, 2022
If found guilty, corrupt election officials need to be severely punished. https://t.co/pzgKPuBUiu
— Show Up And Vote (@wtime90) March 9, 2022
Few were surprised that, once again, the election insecurity was coming from the party that claims to champion secure elections.
GOP: every accusation is, in fact, a confession … https://t.co/qn6BSZvwOY
— C. Gordon - (@the_cgordon) March 10, 2022
This is why the GOP projected fraud. They were doing it themsleves. Trump has been doing this for years. Claim others have done what you are currently doing. Its now the entire GOP. https://t.co/QPl9KcEm1x
— Grit (@TrueGrit10) March 10, 2022
As always, the only actual voter/election fraud is committed by Republicans. https://t.co/0Vg0JNYw9e
— Andrew Wortman 🏳️🌈🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@AmoneyResists) March 9, 2022
More egregious voter fraud and shenanigans from Republicans!! https://t.co/oQaMLecGKp
— The Jordan Watch (@TheJordanWatch) March 9, 2022
This is getting to be overkill at this point, but yet another Republican has been indicted for election fraud. Every accusation is a confession. https://t.co/IqDK1FMq23
— Ray Oyler (@sweetpup7) March 9, 2022
Gran always said that people often accuse others of that which they themselves are guilty. https://t.co/5daLNOnlSG
— Thaddeus Maximus (@ThadMessenger) March 9, 2022
Trump has repeatedly encouraged supporters who are willing to overturn elections in the GOP's favor to infiltrate elections offices.