The wording for petitions to recall Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters were approved Thursday, and people can start signing it as early as today, organizers of the effort say.
Eagle County Treasurer Teak Simonton, the special election official appointed by the Mesa County Board of Commissioners to oversee the recall effort, said she reviewed the petition to recall Peters and approved the way it was drafted.
Simonton was appointed because, by law, Peters can’t oversee an effort to recall herself.
“The (recall) committee will have 60 days within which to submit all of their petitions sections simultaneously, which period will end on August 3, 2020, at 5 p.m.” Simonton said in an email.
The effort needs at least 12,192 signatures from registered voters in the county. It is actually shooting for as many as 18,000, a high threshold considering that’s nearly 19% of all active registered voters in the county.
While there are others who are helping in the effort, the recall committee is made up of Amanda Polson, Bette Meininger and Lynda Baxter.
Polson and Meininger are former employees in the clerk’s office, but both left before Peters took office in November 2018. Baxter didn’t work in the office, but did work with it in a contractor role.
Polson said the recall group already has a slew of volunteer petition gatherers, and plans to start handing out petitions starting today. The first petitions will be able to sign at the old R5 High School at Seventh Street and Grand Avenue starting at 4:30 this afternoon.
Petition gatherers also will be at the Black Lives Matter rally in Fruita on Saturday.
Polson said the group has many other plans for where people can sign, including from their own homes.
“The volunteer coordinators are contacting the large group of volunteers that have already contacted us for packets,” Polson said. “We also have at-home signing available to voters who are unable to leave their homes for any reason. A finalized list of drive-up signing locations will be available starting Saturday afternoon.”
That list, along with a list of other signing locations, is to be posted on the group’s website at RecallClerkTina.com on Saturday.
The petitions not only call for signers to print and sign their names, but also provide their full home address and date of signing. Any information not included on the petitions, including things as name suffix such as junior or senior, can result in those signatures being invalidated.
The general statement on all petitions reads:
“Tina Peters has repeatedly failed in her duties as Clerk & Recorder. Under her leadership, the clerk’s office has experienced the following deficiencies:
n The Election’s Division failed to count over 500 ballots from the 2019 Coordinated Election. They were left in a ballot box steps outside of her offices for months. Additionally, one ballot style had 150% turnout in the same election;
n The 2020 Presidential Primary resulted in several voters voting twice and other counting errors;
n A candidate petition resulted in numerous administrative errors;
n Historical relationships with local municipalities to operate their elections were discontinued. This has resulted in increased costs for the taxpayers of those municipalities;
n She has not maintained a trained, full staff in her term thus far. Poor management and substantial turnover in specialized jobs has made it unlikely she will be able to fully staff the office.”