OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The debate surrounding election integrity is raging around the country and will undoubtedly play a huge role in the 2022 midterm elections.
Many are also questioning the reliability of voting machines and the officials who are running and overseeing them.
Now, the FBI is assisting one county in Colorado that is conducting a criminal investigation into a security breach.
As noted by the Washington Examiner, officials in Mesa County, Colorado, had voting machines and passwords leaked online.
The passwords appeared on Telegram and allegedly implicated County Clerk Tina Peters and two other individuals.
Republican Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubenstein and his office “obtained and executed search warrants” to process evidence as part of the investigation into how the sensitive information was accessed.
The district attorney’s office is “in the process of identifying and interviewing potential witnesses,” the spokesperson added.
The Examiner reported:
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who announced her own investigation into the security breach on Aug. 9 after the passwords appeared on the social media site Telegram, implicated County Clerk Tina Peters and two others on Monday as responsible for the security breach.
Griswold’s office said her investigators determined the online images revealing election equipment passwords were taken from a county election server on the evening of May 23 “outside of normal work hours” by Peters and an employee in her office who was initially unnamed. The secretary’s office on Tuesday identified the employee as Sandra Brown.
The report added:
Griswold said in the Aug. 12 order that investigators found video surveillance of the voting systems was turned off before May 25 and not turned back on until August, which prevented them from using the footage to confirm the equipment’s chain of custody to determine the source of the leaked passwords.
The order said the evidence suggested Peters’s office directed the surveillance cameras to be turned off.
“The people of Mesa County deserve safe and secure elections,” Griswold said in a statement Tuesday. “I am confident that with these appointments, voters in Mesa will be able to exercise their constitutional right to have their voices heard in our democracy.”
“I think this is troubling for the entire state of Colorado, to have someone in a trusted position, literally trusted to protect democracy, allow this type of situation to occur,” Griswold said. “To be very clear, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder allowed a security breach and, by all evidence at this point, assisted it.”
In a special meeting, Mesa County commissioners voted 3-0 to reject Griswold’s appointment of an elections supervisor and advisory committee and instead appointed their own elections supervisor, former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.
“Frankly, we don’t think the secretary of state has the authority to figure out to do a replacement, that designation,” Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis said.