Decertification of Mesa County’s election systems possible

An investigation into a security breach of Mesa County’s voting systems is underway
Mesa County Election Systems Security Breach
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 9:27 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - According to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, images containing the passwords used to access Mesa County voting system hard drive stations were posted on social media by a well-known but unnamed conspiracy theorist last week. Sec. Griswold is conducting an investigation into the incident.

According to Sec. Griswold, “We do know that the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder [Tina Peters] has allowed a breach in security protocol. We know that through the postings that were on social media last week. So we’re currently conducting an investigation and will release more information to the public as soon as we are able.”

Sec. Griswold stressed that only those with proper clearance have access to voting equipment. The pictures were taking during an update to Mesa County’s voting equipment called a “trusted build” on May 25 of this year. Members of the Secretary of State’s office, as well as the equipment vendor and the Mesa County Clerk’s office, were part of the less than ten-person team inspecting the equipment that day.

Sec. Griswold noted that, “If there was a lapse in security protocols further than what we already know by Mesa County, I will need to decide whether I need to decertify that voting equipment in Mesa County, which means that it will no longer be able to be used in the upcoming election.”

As reported, no election was impacted, and Mesa County is the only county affected. Also, this breach will not undermine future elections, said Sec. Griswold. When asked about the possibility of consequences for those involved, Sec. Griswold had this to say: “Ultimately, if we determine that we cannot establish that no unauthorized person has had access tot he voting equipment, or the chain-of-custody cannot be established, that will require major changes in Mesa County for the upcoming election. So there will be action potentially taken place. In terms of civil or other liability, at this point in the investigation I cannot comment.”

This is the first breach of its kind in Colorado state history, according to the Sec. of State. When Mesa County was asked if they had any further comment to add, they referred back to Clerk Peters statement from Monday, saying she will share more information when the investigation is over.

This is the statement Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters released Monday: “Confidence in the election process is paramount. The citizens of Mesa County have been critical of election integrity. They have brought me their concerns and I have told them I will do everything in my power to protect their vote. I will share more information once the investigation has concluded.”

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