Dallas Schroeder

Dallas Schroeder, Elbert County Clerk and Recorder (bottom left). Courtesy Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Twitter account.

Elbert County's commissioners this week blasted Secretary of State Jena Griswold for pursuing what they described as a blatant "partisan political action" when she appointed a supervisor tasked with ensuring an accurate primary election in the county.

The commissioners said they have "full and complete confidence" in Elbert County, where Clerk Dallas Schroeder, who copied the hard drives of his county's election hardware, gave them to attorneys not authorized to possess those copies. 

Schroeder, under a court order, later turned those copies over to Griswold's office, which last week appointed Christi Coburn as the county's election supervisor. Coburn, under Griswold's order, will monitor decisions made by Schroeder and his staffers in administering the 2022 primary election.

"We are extremely disappointed that the current Secretary of State, Jenna Griswold, has chosen to depart from the long-held standards of conduct of her predecessors to blatantly pursue partisan political action," the commissioners said in a statement. "The suspicious timing of her latest election order – issued just as voters are receiving ballots – yet based on information publicly available to her for over six months seems timed more for maximum political impact than to ensure election security or voter confidence."

The commissioners added: "Though she has issued multiple election orders over the past several months, Ms. Griswold has never expressed any concern regarding the counting of Elbert County votes."

The commissioners defended Schroeder and county's elections staff, saying they "ensure that all votes properly cast in Elbert County are counted and tabulated accurately."

"This has been confirmed by bi-partisan hand counts of key races, in the last two election cycles," they said. 

In naming Coburn as election supervisor, Griswold said her appointee would "ensure a secure, accurate, and timely conduct of the upcoming election."

"Our local elections are secure," the county's commissioners insisted.

Commissioners also said they welcome observation of the county's election procedures, that voters can be confident their votes are correctly counted and can trust the results of local elections.

Schroeder, who never publicly raised any concerns about the accuracy of election results Elbert County's in either 2020 or 2021, said in a court filing that he made the copies of the county's Dominion Voting Systems hard drive with the assistance of two individuals who were not employees of the clerk's office because he believed he had a "statutory duty" to preserve election records. He also argued that by doing, so he was complying with instructions from the secretary of state to backup election data and that he feared a "trusted build" might "erase or alter electronic records of the November 2020."

Those copies were turned over to two attorneys, including former Republican state Rep. Joe Stengel of Littleton, according to 9News.

Griswold had sued to obtained those copies. It is a violation of the Secretary of State's rules for individuals not employed by the county clerk's office to have access to election materials, including hard drives. 

Schroeder said the two individuals who assisted him were Shawn Smith of Colorado Springs, who is with the U.S. Election Integrity Project, and Mark Cook, an IT security consultant who appears to be associated with another election integrity group, Great American Rebirth, and, from emails, also appears to have been involved in an attempt to do a post-2020 election third party audit in Sacramento. 

USEIP, which alleged fraud and other irregularities in the 2020 election resulted in the election being stolen from former President Donald Trump, is being sued by the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Mi Familia Vota in U.S. District Court for Colorado for voter intimidation.

Elbert County's three commissioners are all Republicans.