- Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is concerned about a “potential breach of election security protocol.”
- An account apparently belonging to Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz, a Republican, claimed to have copied hard drives from election machines on social media.
- Klotz also said he’s been in touch with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s “legal team.”
Colorado’s top election official said Thursday she was investigating a “potential breach” of vote security by a local Republican county clerk.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said her office became aware of a social media post in late January, “attributed to Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz,” in which the official seems to boast of having made a copy of the hard drives used by local electoral systems.
“To ensure the safety of Douglas County voting equipment, I am issuing an election order requiring the Douglas County Clerk to release information regarding election equipment server imaging,” Griswold said in a statement.
Griswold, a Democrat, told Insider last year that she had received a number of threats from supporters of former President Donald Trump and his false claims that he had won the 2020 election.
The order from Griswold’s office asks Klotz to turn over all CCTV of potentially affected election material, as well as provide a timeline showing when it was viewed and by whom.
In particular, the order asks Klotz to say whether he coordinated with My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell — an ally of former President Donald Trump who spent millions of dollars in an unsuccessful attempt to show off. that the 2020 election was stolen – or whoever could work with it.
In the social media post, which was shared on the Telegram platform, the account attributed to Klotz said he had been in contact with “Lindell’s legal team“.
Lindell had previously aided another Colorado election official, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is currently under criminal investigation for allowing unauthorized access to local voting machines, hiding her in a safe house amid reports that the FBI was investigating his actions. Peters, who attended Lindell’s 2021 voter fraud symposium in South Dakota, has been stripped of her authority to oversee future elections.
In the social media post – dated October 1, 2021 and in apparent response to an email from someone concerned about voter fraud – Klotz said he did not previously believe there was a potential problem. with local voting machines and efforts to install a “trusted version”, a mandatory part of the electoral process that ensures that the software used by the equipment has not been tampered with.
“Like the rest of the world, before Mrs. Tina Peters… I assumed ‘Trusted Build’ was just an update to the new program files,” Klotz wrote, according to a copy of the message included in the election order. . He then discusses what he observed from the “dissection of log files at the Lindell symposium”, listing a series of unsubstantiated claims that the software actually enabled vote tampering – and concerns about ” possibly criminal acts”.
Klotz did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Griswold’s office has not commented on whether Klotz appears willing to cooperate with the investigation.
He is now the third Republican election official from Colorado to be investigated since the 2020 election, Colorado Public Radio reported. Last month, Secretary Griswold’s office began investigating claims by Dallas Schroeder, clerk and recorder of Elbert Court, that he had also taken inspiration from Peters’ example to make unauthorized copies of hard drives local electoral equipment.
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