New arrest documents in a criminal case over leaked voting machine data make repeated allegations about the involvement of Sherronna Bishop, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) former campaign manager.
Bishop is a major voice in the election conspiracy theory scene in Colorado, and she’s a confidante of Tina Peters, the clerk of Mesa County who now faces multiple felony charges for allegedly stealing a local man’s identity in a plot to violate her county’s election security protocols. As a result of the alleged scheme, sensitive election information from the county’s voting machines leaked online and has been cast, falsely, by election theft evangelists as evidence as they continue to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
The latest details come in the form of an affidavit supporting the arrest of Mesa County’s former elections manager, Sandra Brown, who turned herself in Monday on new state charges in the same case. The affidavit describes Bishop’s alleged involvement in the scheme. It was first reported by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Tuesday; the Colorado Sun later published the document.
Bishop has not been charged with a crime.
In a phone call with TPM Wednesday, Bishop characterized the investigation as a harassment campaign mounted against her and her allies by prosecutors. She acknowledged that some aspects of the affidavit were correct, but denied others and said her memory was hazy on some details. She also expressed frustration that law enforcement hasn’t released records of when the FBI searched her home last November.
Separately, in a Facebook post Wednesday morning, Bishop said Brown’s arrest was meant to intimidate others. “He’s so far arrested 3 grandmas,” she said, referring to the Mesa County district attorney.
In short, Peters and others are accused of conspiring to use a county security badge they’d had made for a local man, Gerald Wood, to surreptitiously allow someone else into an in-person voting machine software update known as a “trusted build” in May 2021. That other person has since been identified as Conan James Hayes, a former pro surfer and an IT guy of sorts for the Big Lie movement who has been involved in similar schemes around the country, and who confirmed his involvement to The New York Times recently.
According to the new affidavit, Bishop brought up the trusted build date during an April 2021 meeting with Peters, other election office workers, and Douglas Frank, a former high school teacher who’s traveled the country applying an intellectual sheen to the false election theft claims.
During that meeting, Peters allegedly asked Frank if he could open up her county’s voting machines, but Frank told her it would be against the law. Then, per the affidavit, Bishop brought up the trusted build: “On May 26-27, when they come, what’s the plan?” she allegedly asked.
As Peters worked to get a security badge for Wood that, prosecutors contend, was ultimately used to sneak Hayes into the trusted build, Bishop allegedly used her credit card to book a hotel room for Hayes, according to the affidavit.
On the phone with TPM Wednesday morning, Bishop said she didn’t specifically remember if she’d booked Hayes a hotel room. “I haven’t bought any hotel rooms for anybody,” she said later.
She did recall the meeting described in the affidavit, saying it took place in the clerk’s office and “anyone was invited.”
“I guess I didn’t know yet we needed to be afraid to talk to our elected officials at that time,” she said of the conversation, a recording of which is now evidence in a criminal case. “You’re freely talking and asking questions, and then the district attorney decides to weaponize that. Merrick Garland decides to weaponize that. That’s insane.”
Though Bishop has been ever-present in the Tina Peters saga — she attended Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” in Sioux Falls with Peters last August, where the leaked Mesa County data first attracted widespread public attention — her old boss, Rep. Boebert, has not.
That changed recently when The Times reported on the ordeal. Peters told the paper that Boebert “encouraged me to go forward with the imaging.” Boebert denied that claim to the Times through a spokesperson.
Was it true that a sitting congresswoman encouraged a county clerk to make copies of voting machine data, triggering a criminal inquiry and multiple felony charges?
“I’m not going to respond to that,” Bishop told TPM, before hanging up the phone.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the charges against Peters as federal rather than state charges. We regret the error.