Briefline

Third county clerk in Colorado investigated for possible unauthorized copy of voting system server

By: - February 3, 2022 3:53 pm

A ballot drop off box outside the Denver Elections Division on W. 14th Ave. (Moe Clark/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is seeking information about a third county clerk and recorder who allegedly copied a voting system hard drive ahead of a routine software update.

“My office became aware of a potential unauthorized imaging of a Douglas County voting equipment server. The Douglas County Clerk has failed to respond to an email request requiring disclosure of information about this potential breach in election security protocol,” Griswold said in a statement.

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Griswold is asking Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz, a Republican, about his actions when he posted on the online messaging platform Telegram that he took a “full image backup” of the server before a “trusted build” update in August 2021.

Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz (Douglas County website)

“After my friend SOS, Wayne Williams selected Dominion as the sole election system provider for Colorado, I sued for an alternative. Accordingly only Douglas and Garfield counties now use Clear Ballot election system. And we, as always, took a full image backup of our server before a trusted build was done this year,” Klotz said in a post from the Telegram account Ashe in America and signed by Klotz.

“While anomalies were not discovered at the time of the 2021 trusted build, this new information requires an investigation of whether there were violations of rules and statute during Clerk Klotz’s ‘full image backup’ of the election server,” an order from Griswold to Klotz, issued on Thursday, reads.

Her office is also investigating if Klotz violated any other laws during an unauthorized imaging.

Klotz has until Feb. 10 to respond to Griswold’s request for more information. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment in recent days.

Last week, Griswold issued a similar order to Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder, who allegedly made copies of the county’s voting system and gave them to unauthorized people.

Schroeder and Klotz are both parties in a lawsuit against Griswold alleging flaws in Colorado’s election system.

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is also under investigation about her role in allowing images of that county’s voting equipment and system passwords to get leaked online.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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