Voter Information Accessible Because Of State Election's Error

Sep 9, 2016

Washington's elections office has revealed a technical error made voters' personal info open to the public. The error made it possible for political campaigns and commercial businesses to look up voter's phone numbers and email addresses. The Secretary of State's office says it fixed the problem on Thursday.

The Secretary of State's Office runs a website called MyVote, where people can register and look at the voter's guide. Voter info is also stored there, for the election's office to use.

People's name, address and voting record are considered public record under state law. But phone and email information is not. A design flaw made those available on MyVote over the past four months, according to Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Ammons.

"There were three companies that did log in, there were two Internet provider companies and there was a collection agency firm. And so they used it," Ammons said. 

Ammons says even though the public had access to the information, there are no indications that anyone accessed the entire database.

More sensitive information like social security numbers was still protected.

The error was pointed out by Tina Podlodowsky, a Democrat who is running for Secretary of State against Republican incumbent Kim Wyman.

Copyright 2016 KUOW