MAY 16, 2022
Clerk Dallas Schroeder is seen in surveillance footage inside his office in Elbert County. – Reuters/ELBERT COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE
A former Republican minority leader of the Colorado legislature is among the recipients of a trove of sensitive voting data leaked by a county official working with an activist seeking to prove President Donald Trump’s false stolen-election claims, the secretary of state’s office told Reuters on Monday.
The revelation indicates the breach of ballot data in Elbert County was wider than previously understood. The case, now being investigated by the Colorado secretary of state, is one of at least nine unauthorized attempts to access voting-system data around the United States, at least eight of which involved Republican officials or activists seeking evidence to delegitimize Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The clerk in Elbert County, Dallas Schroeder, previously testified that he copied voting data from the county’s election server onto two hard drives and gave the drives to two individuals, both of them lawyers. Schroeder, responding to the investigation and a related lawsuit by the secretary of state, disclosed that one of the recipients was his own attorney, John Case, and refused to name the other lawyer.
But Schroeder actually gave the data to two other lawyers, in addition to Case, according to secretary of state’s spokesperson Annie Orloff. Affidavits by the two attorneys were expected to be released on Monday.
One of the lawyers was Joseph Stengel, a former state lawmaker who served as Republican minority leader until he resigned in 2006. Stengel, based in Denver, is a former law partner of Case, who is representing clerk Schroeder in the state lawsuit.
The other was Elbert County-based attorney Ric Morgan, who is also listed as the county’s Veteran Services Officer.
Reached by Reuters, Stengel declined to answer questions about his role in the voting system breach. Morgan did not respond to multiple calls and emails.
Schroeder did not respond to requests for comment. He has stated in legal filings that he believed he had a “statutory duty” to preserve records of the 2020 election.
In a statement to Reuters last week, Schroeder’s lawyer, Case, said that the clerk had acted legally and argued that the information on the hard drives should be public record. The copied material includes ballot images, Case said, but “no voter information.” He said the information could have “immense historical value.”
“Dallas Schroeder violated no law or election rule,” he said in the statement.
Asked for a response to Case’s statement, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office told Reuters that Schroeder had violated rules prohibiting “unqualified individuals” from accessing voting systems equipment. He also violated rules prohibiting the use of certain “removable storage media,” Griswold’s office said, referring to the device Schroeder used to image the systems.
Griswold’s office said it was still examining the data contained on the hard drives.
Schroeder has testified that he was receiving instructions on how to copy the system’s data from a retired Air Force colonel and political activist, Shawn Smith, a Trump supporter bent on proving there was election fraud in 2020.
Smith’s organization, the U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP), has been pressuring local county clerks in Colorado to investigate unfounded allegations of 2020 election fraud and to give USEIP unauthorized access to voting data to perform forensic audits, according to interviews with clerks and the Colorado County Clerks Association.