Colorado election office investigated after equipment passwords appear online

Colorado’s secretary of state has launched an investigation into an alleged security breach of a county’s election office after passwords for Dominion Voting Systems software were posted online. 

Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) said in a press release Monday that she had issued an order “in response to a potential chain-of-custody and security protocol breach for Mesa County’s voting system components.” 

Griswold referenced photos that were posted online showing passwords “specific to the individual hardware stations of Mesa County’s voting system.” 

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The images were posted earlier this month to social media platform Telegram and conservative blog The Gateway Pundit, which reportedly used the photos to advance a debunked conspiracy theory that Dominion, which provides voting machines to several states across the country, has remote access to their machines. 

Griswold said that the breach of the machines from Dominion likely occurred during the installation of machines in Mesa County in May 2021. 

The company has consistently been targeted by former President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE and his allies for unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

“The collection and dissemination of this information during the trusted build installation violated security protocols and Department of State rules governing the process,” the secretary of state said Monday. 

Griswold’s office is requesting the “inspection of election equipment and other relevant materials to the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder,” adding that potential violations “may result in the decertification of the voting systems in Mesa County.”

In response to the probe announcement, Tina Peters, the county’s clerk and recorder, released a statement arguing, “confidence in the election process is paramount.”

“The citizens of Mesa County have been critical of election integrity,” Peters added, according to local NBC affiliate KKCO. “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,” she said. 

A Dominion spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill that the company is "fully cooperating with authorities on this matter.”

The news comes after acting Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid said late last month that Dominion voting machines used in the November 2020 election in Fulton County were compromised as a result of an audit conducted by software company Wake TSI.

Degraffenreid said at the time that she had “no other choice” but to decertify the compromised voting machines. 

For its part, Dominion has fervently pushed back against 2020 election conspiracy theories, and this week filed lawsuits against One America News and Newsmax for defamation over election claims advanced by the networks, including that the voting machines were manipulated to swing votes in favor of President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE

Dominion previously filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, which has sought to dismiss the legal action.

—Updated at 4:22 p.m.