- The Colorado secretary of state is concerned about a “potential breach in election security protocol.”
- A Republican county clerk claimed on social media that he copied election-machine hard drives.
- Merlin Klotz said he had been in touch with the “legal team” for MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Colorado’s top election official said Thursday that she is investigating a “potential breach” in voting security by a local Republican county clerk.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said that in late January her office learned of a social-media post, “attributed to Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz,” in which the official appears to boast that he made a copy of the hard drives used by local election systems.
“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 in a statement.
Griswold, a Democrat, told Insider last year that she has received a number of threats from supporters of former President Donald Trump and his false claims that he won the 2020 election.
The order from Griswold’s office asks Klotz to hand over all video surveillance of the potentially affected election equipment, as well as provide a timeline for when it was accessed and by whom.
In particular, the order asks Klotz to say whether he has been coordinating with My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell — an ally of former President Donald Trump who has spent millions of dollars in an unsuccessful attempt to show the 2020 election was stolen — or anyone who might be working with him.
In the social-media post, which was shared on the Telegram platform, the account attributed to Klotz said he had been in touch with “the Lindell legal team.”
Lindell earlier assisted another Colorado election official, Mesa County clerk Tina Peters — who is currently under criminal investigation for allowing unauthorized access to local voting machines — by hiding her in a safe house amid reports that the FBI was looking into her actions. Peters, who took part in Lindell’s 2021 vote-fraud symposium in South Dakota, has been stripped of her authority to oversee future elections.
In the social-media post — dated October 1, 2021, and in apparent response to an email from someone concerned about election fraud — Klotz said he did not previously believe there was any potential issue with local voting machines and efforts to install a “trusted build,” a required part of the election process that helps ensure that the software used by the equipment has not been tampered with.
“Like the rest of the world, prior to Ms. Tina Peters … I assumed ‘Trusted Build’ was merely an update to newer program files,” Klotz wrote, according to a copy of the post included in the election order. He then described the “dissection of log files at Lindell’s Symposium,” listing a series of unsubstantiated claims that the software actually allowed for vote tampering — and concerns about “perhaps Criminal acts.”
Klotz declined to comment. Griswold’s office did not say whether Klotz appears willing to cooperate with the investigation.
He is now the third Republican election official in Colorado to be investigated since the 2020 election, Colorado Public Radio reported. Last month Griswold’s office began looking into claims from Dallas Schroeder, clerk and recorder for Elbert Court, that he was also inspired by Peters’ example to make unauthorized copies of local election equipment hard drives.
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