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February 22, 2022 12:07 PM UTC

Once Again: Stealing Is Never The County Clerk's Job

  • by: Colorado Pols
Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder (R).

Keeping up to date with the latest in the ongoing battle between Secretary of State Jena Griswold and a handful of Colorado county clerks–now down to two that we know of–who are suspected of tampering with election computer systems as part of a half-baked and failed attempt to uncover evidence to support Donald Trump’s ongoing delusion that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. After determining that Douglas County Clerk Merlin Klotz either fibbed or didn’t know what he was talking about regarding the copying of election system hard drives, Griswold filed suit last week against Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder for doing the same thing.

Colorado Public Radio’s Megan Verlee reports on the case being pressed in Elbert County, and why it’s different (at least for now) from the criminal investigations underway against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters:

The situation with Clerk Schroeder began with a lawsuit against Griswold. Among many things, the suit, which Schroeder is party to, argues that post-election software updates to the state’s voting equipment destroy ‘election records’ that clerks are required to maintain.

The updates, referred to as a ‘trusted build’ process, have become a target of conspiracy theorists pushing false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. They claim Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems used the updates to hide evidence of wrongdoing. Election software experts say data from Mesa County’s hard drive shows no evidence of that.

An affidavit in the lawsuit against Griswold revealed that the clerk made a full image backup of his county’s hard drives the day before the trusted build. In response to questions from the Secretary of State, Schroeder elaborated that he made the copy with only authorized employees of his office present, but had subsequently given it, and a second copy, to two outside attorneys — only one of whom he has identified — for safekeeping.

Since that point, the state and Schroeder have been in a standoff…

So, the first and most important thing to keep in mind is that this data has been released to a multitude of election conspiracy theorists who have found absolutely no evidence to support the conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems. The so-called “analysis” released by supporters of Clerk Peters revealed only that the people doing the analyzing had no idea what they were looking at. In fact, the act of tampering with these computer systems to access their data and make copies is the biggest actual security problem to have been uncovered by any of these half-baked efforts–that, and the public release of proprietary code creating risks of hacking that didn’t exist before it was released.

The difference in the case of Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder, while he was a big enough idiot to tamper with equipment he was sworn to protect, is that he does not appear to have given the data he stole to outside conspiracy theorists like the reputed progenitor of the “QAnon” conspiracy theory Ron Watkins. Problematically, however, we don’t know exactly where the data Schroeder took resides currently, because Clerk Schroeder is hiding the copies he made from Secretary of State Griswold:

[Schroeder] has also said that he’s keeping the drives exact locations secret because he fears the Secretary of State intends to seize them, [Pols emphasis] claiming that her office took control of Mesa County’s election equipment during the investigation into that office’s security breach. The Secretary of State decertified Mesa’s equipment after determining that leaked information from the hard drives had compromised their security.

All of which Secretary Griswold is legally authorized to do, unlike Schroeder’s theft of the data in question! This isn’t “whistleblowing,” it’s just misconduct. You would think that after the “analysis” of Mesa County’s stolen election systems data revealed nothing, just like every investigation into voting irregularities in the 2020 presidential election revealed nothing that could change any outcome, that Schroeder would return the stolen data–and count himself lucky to have escaped his own criminal investigation.

But like we said, Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder appears to be an idiot.


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