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.
Griswold called it a “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.
Officials have asked to inspect the county’s election equipment and other relevant materials from the county clerk and recorder. If violations are found, it could lead to a decertification of the county’s voting machines.
Mesa County is a mostly rural county in western Colorado that includes the city of Grand Junction. It’s county clerk is Tina Peters, a Republican.
The Colorado County Clerks Association said it is aware of the inquiry by Griswold’s office “into a potential chain-of-custody and security protocol breach for Mesa County’s voting system components to be used for the upcoming 2021 Coordinated Election.”
“We take any credible information that questions the integrity of the conduct of our elections seriously,” said Matt Crane, who leads the association. “We offer our full support to this inquiry and hope that a thorough investigation will provide clear answers to the concerns raised by the Secretary of State’s Office.”
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.