• Griswold

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday it has completed its investigation into Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz and found there is no threat to the local election system.

“After receiving responses from Douglas County, my office is satisfied that there is no current threat to the county’s election system,” according to a statement from Secretary of State Jena Griswold. 

The investigation began when the Secretary of State’s office was alerted to a social media post including comments attributed to Klotz in which he said his office “took a full image backup” of its voting system server.

The social media post, which came from the site Telegram, was a screenshot of an email sent by Klotz to someone he later called a “concerned voter.”

The office notified Klotz of the investigation Jan. 28, asking him to provide more information with an end-of-month deadline. When Klotz didn’t respond to the request, the office issued an order Feb. 3 requiring him to provide more information.

Klotz and the county responded to the order Feb. 8 with a letter stating no illegal backup of voter information had occurred and Klotz had used the “wrong terminology” in the email with a voter.

“This post was taken out of context, cut and pasted from an informal private email that was never intended to be an exacting recitation of events,” according to the response letter. “There was no ‘full image backup,’ and the posting to social media is incorrect.”

A separate statement from the county, signed by both Klotz and Deputy Clerk for Elections Jacke Twite, states Klotz didn’t have access to the voting equipment.

“All individuals with authorized access have been contacted, and we have confirmed that no images of the hard drives were created by them and that no one is aware of any unauthorized person having physical or system access of any kind at any time,” according to the statement.

Klotz, Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder and State Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Fremont County, sued Griswold, a Democrat, in November claiming the election system software used in Colorado in 2020 was improperly certified and the Secretary of State’s office illegally destroyed election records.

Griswold has strongly denied the claims, saying they are based on debunked conspiracy theories.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Schroeder are being investigated by the Secretary of State’s office for allegedly making unauthorized copies of election system servers.