Insider Threats Lead to Elections Supervisor Being Removed

An elections supervisor in the Bay Area has become an insider threat to elections officials. San Mateo County elections chief, Deborah Seiler, is accused of becoming so wrapped up in conspiracy theories that she cannot perform her duties because she believes there are “evil” forces at work inside the elections office. Officials say this behavior has caused her to act inappropriately and could put voters’ information at risk if it’s not taken care of quickly enough.

An Elections Supervisor Embraced Conspiracy Theories

Seiler became obsessed with conspiracy theories about “evil” forces operating inside her office, according to the San Francisco Chronicle .

She started writing compulsively in journals and at one point began including threats to colleagues, calling them out by name and saying they would be fired. She was temporarily relieved of her duties as elections chief in April while an investigation was conducted. In May she was allowed to return to work, but under a demotion as assistant elections chief.

And it seems more sinister problems have been identified since the first investigation was started. Just this month, Seiler admitted that she copied voter registration data onto a personal thumb drive and downloaded information about her co-workers into her home computer without permission, according to the Chronicle .

She has not yet been fired and is still working at San Mateo County’s elections office today. She has an appeal hearing with the county scheduled for next week, where she will try and get reinstated as Elections Supervisor.

However creepy these accusations sound, they aren’t nearly as concerning as what the Bay Area News Group (BANG) found in their own investigation.

The BANG Investigation of Seiler

BANG reporters studied public records and court filings and interviewed dozens of people inside the elections office and out, according to the Bay Area News Group. They showed that Seiler:

Had a romantic relationship with a co-worker—a man who had been convicted of felony voter fraud and was on probation for car theft; Sought treatment for mental health issues on more than one occasion; Shared conspiracy theories online about “evil” forces at work in her office, saying she believed they were trying to sabotage her efforts to register new voters by sending her bad batches of data. She said these evil forces were responsible for errors on some voter registration forms. Some employees saw this as delusional behavior that could put voters’ private information at risk; and, Alleged that her email account had been hacked. However, she never reported the alleged hack to law enforcement or election officials.

An Unfit Supervisor?

As a result of her behavior, Seiler has been accused of being an “unfit supervisor” by county auditors who have tried to have her removed from office . The California Elections Code mandates that anyone convicted of a felony cannot serve as an elections chief in the state. No one disputes that this includes individuals on probation for a felony conviction.

There is no word on what additional security measures have been added since Seiler’s suspension last spring. Officials do say they have not seen any evidence of hacking into their systems as she accused them of doing.