Mesa County’s election system being investigated

Mesa County’s election office is being investigated after passwords for its election equipment allegedly were posted on social media and a right-wing blog earlier this month.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office announced Monday it was looking into a “serious breach of voting system security protocols,” calling it an “extremely serious event” that could lead to criminal charges and force Mesa County to replace election equipment.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold believes the alleged breach occurred May 25 during the installation of new Dominion Voting Systems software. On Aug. 2, images of the software were posted to the social media site Telegram and conservative blog The Gateway Pundit. Dominion has been a target of conspiracy theories that claim it changed votes in the 2020 presidential election.

The social media and blog posts do not mention Colorado or Mesa County but, according to Griswold’s order, the images include “passwords specific to the individual hardware stations of Mesa County’s voting system.”

Griswold says the posts do not imminently threaten Colorado’s election security but require investigation. She has ordered Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters to allow the Secretary of State’s Office to change equipment passwords and turn over all surveillance footage of the election equipment between May 24 and Aug. 9, along with access logs and chain-of-custody logs.

The sweeping order also requires Peters to hand over any communications, including texts and voicemails, in which she or her staff discussed Dominion or the alleged breach, along with all background checks on clerk’s office employees. Peters must do so by Thursday.

“Confidence in the election process is paramount to Mesa County,” Mesa County spokeswoman Stephanie Reecy said in an email Monday. “Because this is an active investigation, the Mesa County District Attorney asked that we do not comment until the investigation is complete.”

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