Copying hard drives led to concerns

Nina Joss
njoss@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/31/22

When Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced that she was appointing a supervisor in Elbert County for the November election, she pointed to a past incident in her reasoning.  Griswold, a Democrat, cited "a 2021 election security protocol breach where Republican Clerk Dallas Schroeder violated Colorado Elections Rules by giving unauthorized individuals copies of images of the county’s voting system hard drives."

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Copying hard drives led to concerns

Posted

When Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced that she was appointing a supervisor in Elbert County for the November election, she pointed to a past incident in her reasoning.  Griswold, a Democrat, cited "a 2021 election security protocol breach where Republican Clerk Dallas Schroeder violated Colorado Elections Rules by giving unauthorized individuals copies of images of the county’s voting system hard drives."

According to court records reviewed by Colorado Community Media, the copies of hard drives allegedly spent time under a bed, in a letter box and under a blanket in a locked car. 

Last year, Schroeder was concerned that an upcoming software and firmware update, referred to as a “trusted build,” might erase or alter electronic records of the November 2020 election, he said in court filings. So he copied data from election servers onto a drive on Aug. 26, 2021. A week later, he copied the information onto a second drive.

Shawn Smith and Mark Cook were on the phone with Schroeder while he copied the information, Schroeder said in court filings. 

Smith and Cook are both involved in questioning election integrity and have been tied to MyPillow CEO and President Trump ally Mike Lindell, media reports say.

Schroeder's attorneys, Ric Morgan and John Case, each had custody of a drive at some point, according to affidavits signed by the lawyers.

Schroeder placed one hard drive in a sealed pouch in the letter box outside of Morgan’s office. Morgan stated under oath that he “immediately retrieved the pouch from the letter box” upon its delivery.

Case took possession of a red metal box containing a drive and placed it under his bed, according to his affidavit. Three days later, Case hired his own attorney, Joseph Stengel, and brought the drive to Stengel's home. In his affidavit, Case did not provide a reason for this transfer.

“I placed the red metal box on the floor behind the driver’s seat in my vehicle,” he wrote in a court document. “I tried to force the box under the driver’s seat, and it would not fit.”

Stengel, a former Republican state House minority leader, resigned from his role in 2006 amid allegations that he billed excessive work hours when legislature was not in session.

Case stated that “a yellow plastic seal attached to the latch was intact” when he first received the box from Schroeder. Partway through Stengel’s custody, however, photographs of the box show the yellow seal broken.

Both Case and Stengel claim they never opened the box and have no personal knowledge of its contents.

“I assume that I must have broken the yellow plastic latch on January 25, 2022, when I tried to force the Red Metal Box under the driver seat,” Case wrote.

On May 4, 2022, after receiving the box back from Stengel, Case left the box concealed under a blanket in his locked car while he attended a funeral. Then he returned the box to Schroeder.

Griswold appointed an election supervisor for the fall balloting on Oct. 19. 

"The supervisor is authorized to monitor the activities of the elections staff of Clerk and Recorder’s Office and is there to help the county meet its duties and obligations under state and federal law," Griswold said in a statement. "The County Clerk and staff will take any and all lawful direction from the Election Supervisor and any other Secretary of State designee on any and all election matters."

election security, dallas schroeder, secretary of state, jena griswold, trusted build, hard drives

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