Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) has reported that a Mesa County Clerk allowed an unauthorized individual to access a secure facility while annual software upgrades were being conducted on election equipment.
According to CPR.org, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters could be facing legal consequences for the misstep as the county will now be unable to use the equipment for the upcoming fall election. The Dominion voting equipment that was part of the breach will now have to be replaced.
While an investigation into the incident has determined the breach did not result in a "direct security risk," Griswold's office did confirm "the person did release the passwords for the underlying voting machine software online."
Despite those determinations, Griswold has explained why the man's presence was problematic. "He is not an employee — you have to be an employee to attend these," she said. "You also have to be background checked and the County Clerk's office specifically misled my office saying that he did comply with the rules."
On Thursday, August 14, county spokeswoman Stephanie Reecy also addressed the situation but did not offer specific details about the current investigation. "There are still many unanswered questions, and the Board is working closely with legal counsel to determine the next steps," Reecy said in an email. "The Board's focus continues to remain on ensuring the integrity of the voting process in Mesa County."
In an email to the publication, Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein has also confirmed that an investigation is underway and could potentially lead to charges against those involved.
"I can confirm that we have not entered into this investigation with any person or criminal act in mind and will reserve judgment on that until the investigation is complete," said Rubinstein. "I also am unable to speculate on the length of time the investigation will take as we are too early in the investigation to have a good sense of the scope of it."
The latest report has also garnered reactions online. In a series of tweets, Julian Sanchez shared his opinion of the situation and explained why it is questionable. "So, uh… this sure looks an AWFUL lot like a Mesa County, CO official helped conspiracy theorists steal data from Colorado's election systems in order to give them to Mike Lindell to hunt for phantom evidence of "rigging," Sanchez tweeted.
Like, this is an extremely specific reply that implies she knows exactly how the data was exfiltrated. Peters then… https://t.co/IWVZAMV6sx— Julian Sanchez (@Julian Sanchez) 1628822256.0
Sanchez also tweeted, "Peters apparently "ordered her staff to turn off the video surveillance that is meant to monitor the voting machines a week before the breach, and that it was only recently turned back on."
So… motivated by unfounded “election security” conspiracy theories, it sounds a whole lot like Peters created an *… https://t.co/xwLovVpw91— Julian Sanchez (@Julian Sanchez) 1628822495.0