The Colorado secretary of state sued Monday to remove a rural county’s election clerk who is accused of allowing a security breach of voting equipment that the FBI also is investigating.
According to Secretary of State Jena Griswold (a Democrat), an initial investigation revealed images of election management software had been obtained by conspiracy theorists. They were then posted on far-right blogs. Griswold’s office claims that one of the images was taken May 23rd from a secure area where the equipment was kept. Tina Peters, Mesa County Clerk Recorder, was able to access the equipment and allowed a non-employee in the office.
Although the secretary of state identified the person, he refused to give any further information about him or his motives. Until more information is available, the Associated Press won’t name him. He has not been accused of a crime.
Griswold stated in a statement that she was suing because she can’t remove a county clerk from serving as an election official.
The lawsuit calls for Peters to be replaced by Wayne Williams, former Secretary of State and Sheila Reiner, former Mesa County Clerk Recorder, to act as elections supervisor for November’s elections.
Peters has not appeared in any local events since August when the secretary of State announced the investigation. However, she has been on broadcasts hosted Mike Lindell, MyPillow CEO, who is a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, who made unsubstantiated allegations about fraud in the 2020 elections.
Peters stated that Griswold was investigating her in an attempt to seize control of one of Colorado’s few conservative counties. Peters claimed that Reiner is a libertarian with a history and has attempted to “derail Peters’ position” since her election in November 2018.
Griswold’s lawsuit claims Peters is “absent” and that she cannot perform the duties required by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office because of the above wrongful acts and breaches.
The inquiry by the secretary of state is just one of two that have been launched into the security breach. A criminal investigation is also being conducted by the FBI and Mesa County’s District Attorney.
Griswold has also called on Mesa County’s voting equipment to be replaced following the security breach. Annie Orloff, Griswold’s spokesperson, stated that the county had agreed to replace the voting equipment.
After the Mesa County commissioners unanimously decided to replace Peters with Williams at their Aug. 17 meeting, the lawsuit to remove Peters is filed. Peters, an elected official is still being paid.
Monday’s statement by the commissioners highlighted the positive changes and stated that Mesa County will now have “arguably the safest and most transparent electoral system in the United States”.
Williams released a statement saying that he appreciated the trust shown by the commissioners, secretary and attorney general. Williams also stated that he would ensure fair and transparent elections for Mesa County residents this fall.