Colorado Elections Clerk Charged with Identity Theft

Security

Two 66-year-old women from Colorado have been accused of interfering with election equipment and official misconduct.

On Tuesday, a Mesa County grand jury returned a 13-count indictment against clerk and recorder Tina Peters and deputy clerk Belinda Knisley. According to the indictment, the women tampered with the security of Dominion Voting Systems machines in late May 2021.

It is alleged that the duo turned off security cameras in the room where the voting machines were stored then allowed an unauthorized third party to make copies of voting machine hard drives. They are further accused of allowing the unauthorized third party to be present before and after the performance of a software update called a ‘trusted build’ systems upgrade. 

Peters and Knisley allegedly stole the identity of IT consultant Gerald “Jerry” Wood, whom they pretended to hire and used his name and Social Security number to pass a background check and acquire a security clearance and access badge. This badge was allegedly given to the unidentified third party who prosecutors say made copies of the hard drives of the voting machine. 

The indictment states: “Beginning in April 2021 and in advance of the May 25-26, 2021, trusted build, Tina Peters and Belinda Knisley, either as principal actors and/or acting as complicators, devised and executed a deceptive scheme which was designed to influence public servants, breach security protocols, exceed permissible access to voting equipment, and set in motion the eventual distribution of confidential information to unauthorized people.”

Following the alleged security breach, copies of Mesa County’s election management software and passwords were reportedly circulated online in August 2021. 

Peters is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and one count each of identity theft, official misconduct in the first degree, violation of duty and failure to comply with the secretary of state.

Knisley is charged with three counts of attempting to influence a public servant and one count each of conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, violation of duty and failure to comply with the requirements of the secretary of state.

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