Update #6: Linn County voter data

Unfortunately, I have very little to update you on today other than the legal wheels are in motion and I/we are awaiting updates. I stand by my belief that we have minimized the risk of the accidently released voter data being used for unlawful purposes.

I believe the local news media has been doing a fine job of keeping you informed on this incident, i.e., if you utilize any of the media outlets on a daily basis. My latest interview (8/10/2017) was part of a story carried by CBS2/FOX28 and you can see it here. Tomorrow (8/11/2017), KCRG’s I-9 reporter Josh Scheinblum is scheduled to do a follow-up report on this incident.

While the legal wheels are in motion, I will be working to eliminate the possibility of anyone in my office from ever fulfilling a request for voter data that includes confidential data, e.g., the last four of your SSN. Thus far, the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office has not been receptive to removing the options to include confidential data in the voter data requests. In fact, the SoS would like me to rescind my letter to them requesting they modify I-Voters.

The SoS is in a pickle. Secretary Paul Pate issued an Open letter to Iowa Voters on August 1st and then my office accidently releases confidential voter data on August 4th. Talk about bad timing. But the ability of my employees and Auditors’ employees across the State of Iowa to commit this error has been around for years and the opportunity to commit the error today still exists.

I believe if a statistician was asked about whether or not an accidental data release occurred in the past, he/she would indicate it’s very likely confidential data has been released in the past. Think about it. Every one of Iowa’s 99 counties has access to I-Voters and the ability to export a list to fulfill a voter data request. “To my knowledge” – which I have been known to say – just means that I do not know about it. It does not mean it has never occurred. Let’s ensure it never occurs again.

Mr. Secretary: This is my open letter to you. Please fix I-Voters so no employee of yours or mine ever again has the opportunity to accidently include confidential voter data in a report that is issued to a member of the public. Regards, Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

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