Pierce County accidentally shares sensitive voter information for hundreds of thousands

A mistake at the Pierce County Auditor's Office last December led to the accidental release of thousands of voters' personal information.

According to the auditor's office, they received a request for public voter registration data from a "local person"—items like voter names, addresses and birthdays—which the office notes is public information safe to release. A staff member with the auditor's office mistakenly released the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers.

Voter registration data is protected, but state and federal law requires portions of it to be released when public records requests are filed.

When someone registers to vote, they must provide either the last four digits of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or their drivers' license number, as proof of residence. That information is retained, but the auditor's office says it is not authorized for public release. 

Officials claim the person who requested the information deleted the records from their inbox and trash folders in their email.

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It is not know exactly how many people had their SSNs leaked, but the auditor's office sent emails to everyone affected. Anyone who might have been affected is urged to monitor account statements, insurance transactions and apply for free credit reports. You can also visit the Federal Trade Commission website on identity theft for more information.