RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia’s registered voter list was shared with someone in early March, a disclosure of people’s personal information the state said was “not the work of a malicious actor or a system failure” but “human error.”
The Department of Elections (ELECT) said on March 6 an employee accidentally sent Virginia’s list of registered voters, including people’s personal information, to someone who had requested a district’s voting history.
“The incident was caused by human error and there is no reason to believe that the disclosed data will be used for fraudulent purposes,” the state agency said in a statement on April 14, more than a month after the data was shared. “The department has determined that the incident is not the work of a malicious actor or a system failure.”
The unidentified recipient contacted the department immediately, the data was destroyed and the inspector general’s office investigated, the state agency said in its statement. The department added that there is no indication the data was further shared or downloaded.
“ELECT followed proper procedures for evaluation and disclosure of the incident to law enforcement,” the department said in a statement.
The disclosure has led to immediate changes within the department “to strengthen its security processes for fulfilling data requests of this type,” according to the state.
The state elections department said it has re-trained employees, reassigned its data-sharing-related tasks, tightened its data-sharing rules and access has been moved from the department that made the error.