The Mesa County Clerk's Office allowed an unauthorized person into sensitive areas where its election equipment is located, had turned off surveillance cameras that were supposed to be monitoring those machines and failed to show proper chain of custody after new software was installed, The Daily Sentinel has learned.
Those are the conclusions that the Secretary of State's office just announced today, prompting Secretary of State Jena Griswold to officially decertify all of the county's election equipment.
All of this is a result of Griswold's order Monday calling for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters who prove the county's election equipment hadn't been compromised.
"While department staff is continuing to conduct analysis and awaits additional documents required in the 2021-01 Order, it is clear at this time that the security of Mesa County's voting systems components cannot be verified," Griswold's new order reads.
"Because of this, the department finds that it cannot establish a verifiable chain of custody for any of the voting systems components in Mesa County, and cannot establish confidence in the integrity or security of those components."
That means that 41 individual scanners, servers, tablets and other election equipment that the clerk's office owns cannot be used. How much it would cost the county to either replace them or find a way to get them re-certified is unknown. Altogether, they are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to the new order, video surveillance cameras that were supposed to be on during a May 25 "trust build" installation with Secretary of State officials were not.
The order says that Peters or someone else in her office order that those cameras be turned off before that installation occurred. They were not reactivated until sometime in August, "which is inconsistent with the department's understanding of the normal course of business practice in Mesa County."
The order also says that Peters' office falsely told Secretary of State personnel that one of the people who attended that May 25 installation was an employee of the clerk's office when there is no evidence to show that he was.
Allowing an unauthorized person such access could lead to a felony criminal charge.
Peters was not available to comment because she is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, attending an event sponsored by My Pillow guy Mike Lindell, which is attempting to show proof that the 2020 general election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
To date, that event, which is in its third and final day, has revealed no such proof, despite claims made there that some Mesa County election logs and other information was deleted or altered.