Watch CBS News

Mesa County District Attorney Conducts Criminal Investigation After Posting Of Election System Passwords

DENVER (AP/CBS4) — Colorado state officials are investigating a county election office after passwords for its voting systems were posted online, the Secretary of State announced Monday. The breach included specific passwords from Mesa County's voting equipment, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement.

The passwords were posted on a far-right blog, according to a spokesperson from Griswold's office.

CDOS Griswold Election_frame_16479
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (credit: CBS)

Griswold called it a "serious breach" in a statement, but said it did not happen during the past election or create any risk to state elections.

It is likely that the passwords were collected during software updates to voting equipment in Mesa County on May 25, 2021, Griswold said.

"Yesterday I ordered the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder to comply with inspection of election equipment, video footage, and other documents in the county. The Clerk's Office must prove that chain of custody remains intact and that there has been no unauthorized access to voting equipment in the county. Failure to do so will result in decertification of the specific voting equipment in Mesa. Colorado has the best election system in the nation, with built in security redundancies. As Secretary of State, my number one priority is to ensure all election security protocols are followed and to safeguard Coloradans' right to vote," said Griswold in a statement.

Officials have asked to inspect the county's election equipment and other relevant materials from the county clerk and recorder, including surveillance recordings and documents. If violations are found, it could lead to decertification of the county's voting machines.

Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein has launched a criminal investigation. He said he hasn't spoken to Tina Peters, the Clerk and Recorder for Mesa County, in quite some time.

Mesa County is a mostly rural county in western Colorado that includes the city of Grand Junction.

State Republicans called for an audit into Dominion Voting Systems after the 2020 election but elections officials have repeatedly denounced statements questioning Colorado's election integrity and Dominion has refuted claims about any deleted or changed votes.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.