Auditor calls out Maryland Board of Elections on data security - Technical.ly Baltimore

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May 1, 2017 10:19 am

Auditor calls out Maryland Board of Elections on data security

The mishandling could leave the data vulnerable to theft, or voter fraud.
Go vote.

Go vote.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Tom Arthur)

Maryland election officials aren’t properly securing voter data. That’s according to a new review of the state’s Board of Elections from the legislative auditor that covered 2012 to 2015.

There were no issues reported with any elections, but the auditor said practices by the Board of Elections could leave the data exposed. When it comes how the state handles data, the auditor cites two main risks.

One is identity theft, as the Baltimore Sun notes. The state retained full Social Security Numbers for nearly 15 percent of the state’s registered voters, which is more than 590,000 people. Additionally, personal information like driver’s license numbers and the last four of Social Security numbers was not properly safeguarded when sent to a third party, the audit states.

Several findings also point to concerns that could be raised about the result of elections. Auditors say officials did not authenticate voters who requested absentee ballots, and did not have best practices for verifying registration info. Additionally, too many people had access to the voter database, the auditor said.

Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said in the report that the board is addressing the findings — and started doing so before the audit was released.

But experts say there is work to be done. Michael Greenberger of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland School of Law told the Sun the state should appoint an independent bipartisan commission to look more closely at the IT issues.

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