(The Center Square) - A third county clerk and recorder in Colorado is under investigation for an alleged election security protocol breach, the secretary of state's office said Thursday.
Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz is under investigation for allegedly taking a picture of the backup to a county election server during a trusted build event, which is when local voting machines are manually updated.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold said her team learned of the potential security breach on January 28 when Klotz made a post on social media stating that he had made the backup.
Griswold subsequently sent Klotz an email requesting additional information about the event by January 31, but her request went unreturned, she said.
"To ensure the security of Douglas County's voting equipment, I am issuing an Election Order requiring the Douglas Clerk to disclose information regarding the imaging of the election equipment server," Griswold said. "As Secretary of State, I will continue to protect Colorado's election infrastructure to ensure that every eligible Coloradan - Republican, Democrat, and Independent, alike - has access to secure elections."
On Thursday, Griswold issued a formal order requiring Klotz to produce evidence that all appropriate security protocols were followed during the trusted build event. The order also requires the video surveillance features of the voting machines to be activated and that no one access the equipment unaccompanied.
Klotz's office declined to comment.
This is the third investigation by the secretary of state's office into alleged security breaches by county clerks. Griswold is also investigating Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder.
Griswold and the Mesa County Commissioners have sued to remove Peters as the designated election official in the county.
Colorado law does not allow a secretary of state to unilaterally remove a county election official from their post.
Both Klotz and Schroeder are involved with a lawsuit against the secretary of state's office that called for an independent audit of the state voting systems, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.