- Colorado’s secretary of state said that a county clerk is accused of “assisting” in a security breach.
- Sensitive election data collected during the breach was leaked to Ron Watkins, Vice reported.
- Watkins, who is believed by some to be ‘Q,’ shared information from the leak on his Telegram channel.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A pro-Trump election official in Colorado is accused of assisting in the compromising of voting machines and allowing someone to leak sensitive data to a prominent QAnon influencer, according to Vice.
Tina Peters, a county clerk in Mesa, Colorado, and so-called “Trump Truther,” permitted surveillance cameras to be turned off for up to two months, it is alleged. During that time, she has allowed someone to steal information that was then leaked to QAnon figurehead Ron Watkins, the media outlet reported.
At some point in May, Peters’s office reportedly ordered officials to turn off the surveillance cameras monitoring Mesa County’s voting equipment, according to evidence from Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State Jenna Griswold.
The cameras were not turned on again until this month, Vice reported, which broke the equipment’s “chain of custody” and means that the machines cannot be used in November’s city, town, and school district elections.
“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 during a Thursday press conference. “To be very clear, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder allowed a security breach and by all evidence at this point assisted it.”
On May 23, an unknown person gained access to one of the Election Management Systems machines from Dominion Voting Systems used by Mesa County, Vice reported. That person was then able to download an image of the machine’s hard drive, a process repeated on May 26, a cybersecurity expert told Vice.
On May 25, Dominion employees visited the country to conduct a highly-regulated “trusted build” upgrade to the voting machines’ software, the media outlet said.
According to state law, only staff from Griswold’s office, Mesa County, and Dominion are permitted to be in the room during a “trusted build.”
While the unauthorized man was there, he allegedly illegally captured footage of the machines being updated.
On August 2, this footage was posted to Watkin’s Telegram channel. The former 8chan owner and administrator has fervently promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, and some people believe that him and his father could be the infamous ‘Q.’
According to Griswold’s team, the footage included an image that accidentally linked the leak to Mesa County.
Griswold issued an order last week authorizing her staff to travel to Mesa County to inspect the election system, but when they arrived, Peters was nowhere to be seen.
While speaking at the event, the Colorado Newsline reported that Peters accused Griswold’s office of “raiding” her county’s office.
At the South Dakota symposium, Vice said that Watkins showed the audience images that appear to have been taken from the Mesa County machines on May 23 and May 26.
Griswold’s office is investigating the security breach, Colorado Newsline reported. An investigator with 21st Judicial District Attorney Dan Rubinstein’s office is also looking into related potential criminal conduct, according to the local paper.