The release of private information of Georgia voters maintained by the Secretary of State’s office and its steps to retrieve the released information has raised serious and reasonable questions, concerns and fears. The following is the Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s statement and explanation regarding his office’s handling of the matter and how voters who have further questions may contact his office:
KEMP: ALL VOTER INFORMATION SECURED
Secretary of State Brian Kemp today announced his office has secured all 12 discs sent from his office that contained personally identifiable voter information.
“As of 11 a.m [November 19, 2015], all 12 discs containing sensitive voter information have been retrieved or destroyed,” Kemp said. “My staff has verified with the media outlets and political parties that received these discs that they have not copied or otherwise disseminated confidential voter data to outside sources. I am confident that our voters’ personal information has not been compromised.”
“I take full responsibility for this mistake and have taken immediate action to resolve it. The employee at fault has been fired, and I have put in place additional safeguards effective immediately to ensure this situation does not happen again.”
“Moving forward, the secure site for voter data downloads will be locked to prevent changes by any employee other than the Chief Information Officer acting at my direction. Further, a three-part check will be required before a disc containing the statewide voter file can be released to the public. It is my top priority to protect the personal information of all Georgians.”
For additional information or assistance, voters can contact the Secretary of State Office’s dedicated hotline for this issue: 404-654-6045.
The following statement detailing this situation was posted on Kemp’s website earlier today:
On Friday, November 13, 2015, my office learned that voters’ personal information was inadvertently included on a statewide voter file that was sent to twelve groups on October 13, 2015.
As a standard practice, these twelve groups, comprised of Georgia’s news media and political parties, receive a computer disk with an updated list of all of Georgia’s registered voters every month. This information is available to them per existing Georgia law.
However, in October, a clerical error in the IT Division led to these discs containing personal identifying information that should not have been included. Other than the employee who made the error, this error was not known until Friday, November 13, 2015 when an organization that received a disc notified the Secretary of State’s office. The IT employee responsible has been fired for breaking internal rules governing the release of this information.
Upon learning of this mistake, my office took immediate action to retrieve the discs and to confirm that the recipients had not copied or otherwise disseminated the data.
All twelve discs have been accounted for. Each recipient, including the Georgia Republican Party and the Georgia Democratic Party, has confirmed that the data was not retained or disseminated to any outside parties.
To reiterate, the Georgia Voter Registration System was not breached. The system has been and remains secure. This issue was caused by a clerical error that has been remedied. While information was included on those twelve discs that should not have been, we are confident that the information has now been secured.
I take full responsibility for this mistake and want to assure Georgia’s citizens that it is my top priority to protect their personal information. I have put in place additional safeguards to insure this situation does not happen again.