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Colorado Sec. of State orders Elbert Co. clerk to testify on alleged copying of voting system hard drive

Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder said he made copy of drive before 2021 "trusted build"
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Posted at 2:16 PM, Jan 24, 2022

DENVER – Colorado’s Democratic secretary of state issued an order Monday directing Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder, a Republican, to testify at a deposition about how he allegedly made a copy of a voting system hard drive.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold said the copying of the hard drive image could potentially be a breach of election security protocols of the county’s voting system. In addition to the order requiring Schroeder be deposed about how the hard drive image was created, Griswold ordered him to provide information on how he made the alleged copy and require video surveillance of the county’s voting equipment be activated.

“The Elbert Court Clerk has failed to respond to both an email request and an Election Order requiring disclosure of information about this potential breach. That is why I am now taking further action,” Griswold said in a statement. “As Secretary of State, my top priority is to ensure that every eligible Coloradan – Republican, Democrat, and Independent, alike – has access to secure elections and I will always protect Colorado’s election infrastructure.”

Griswold’s office said she was made aware of the potential security breach because of an affidavit Schroeder signed on Jan. 7 as part of a lawsuit filed by Schroeder, Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Fremont County, and Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz, among others, in November against Griswold, which claimed the election software used by Colorado counties in 2020 was not properly certified.

Griswold and the secretary of state’s office have said the suit was “based on multiple unfounded election conspiracy theories.”

In the affidavit filed earlier this month, Schroeder said he “made a forensic image of everything on the election server” ahead of a “trusted build” of the county’s election system ahead of the 2021 election. He also said he wanted to make another forensic image after the trusted build to be sure no election records from 2020 were destroyed.

“The affidavit admitted that the Elbert County Clerk had made an image of the voting system hard drive sometime before August 27, 2021, but it did not disclose how the copy was made or what security measures were taken at the time,” the secretary of state’s office said in a news release.

Griswold’ office said Schroeder’s office did not comply with the initial requests for information on how the hard drive was copied, nor did he respond to the requirement video surveillance be turned on and that it not be accessed by any lone person.

Griswold’s office said since the alleged breach happened before the 2021 trusted build, it does not believe any potential image of the hard drive “created an imminent or direct security risk to Colorado’s elections.”

The orders from Griswold’s office come as Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters stands accused of helping a non-election worker copy Mesa County’s voting system hard drive as well. She currently is under investigation by a grand jury in Mesa County, was barred by Griswold from overseeing the 2021 election, and Griswold is seeking the same for the 2022 elections.

The Elbert County Clerk’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.