Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold is launching an investigation into a chain-of-custody and security protocol breach stemming from Mesa County voting equipment.
An order issued by Griswold on Monday morning calls for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters to turn over election equipment and relevant documents and information for inspection after images of the passwords to some of Mesa County’s voting system hardware surfaced online.
Griswold’s office indicated in a release that public disclosure of basic input/output system, or BIOS, passwords represents a “serious breach of voting system security protocols” as well as a violation of agency rules on access to voting systems.
A release from the Secretary of State’s office speculated the breach likely occurred in May during a limited-access trusted build installation. According to the release, the breach “has not created an imminent direct security risk to Colorado’s elections, and did not occur during an election.”
The results of the investigation could lead to the decertification of Mesa County’s voting systems, rendering the voting equipment unusable in its current form.
Officials with the Mesa County Clerk's office did not respond to a request for comment.
Matt Crane, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, issued a statement Monday afternoon regarding Griswold's order.
“We take any credible information that questions the integrity of the conduct of our elections seriously,” Crane said. “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.”