Hand inserting a piece of paper labeled "vote" into a wood box labeled "Ballot Box." The box is secured by chains

Colorado secretary of state's office investigating Mesa County election system

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Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – The Mesa County clerk’s office is under investigation for an alleged security breach of its voting system, the Colorado secretary of state's office said Monday.

According to Secretary of State Jena Griswold's office, several components of Mesa County’s voting system were published on social media, including images that appeared to show the passwords specific to the individual hardware station.

The secretary of state's office said the breach did not occur during an election and “has not created an imminent direct threat to Colorado’s elections.”

Griswold called on Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters to provide surveillance footage and other relevant documents regarding how the breach occurred.

"It is likely from the content of the social media postings that this sensitive information was collected during the limited access trusted build installation in Mesa County on May 25, 2021," Griswold's office said in a statement. "The collection and dissemination of this information during the trusted build installation violated security protocols and Department of State rules governing the process."

The county’s election systems could be decertified if the county clerk's office cannot demonstrate proper chain of custody, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported. This means that Mesa County would have to pay to refit all of its machines.

The breach could mean criminal charges against those responsible.

"We have these security protocols in place for a reason," Griswold told The Daily Sentinel. "This is a very serious breach in chain-of-custody and security protocols.”