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Private Arizona Voter Information Erroneously Released To Counties, Political Parties

Information about some “protected” voters was accidentally provided to counties, and by extension, political parties, during Arizona’s early voting period.

Political parties often request early voting reports from county election officials. Those reports detail which voters have received their ballot by mail and which voters have returned their ballot.

That allows political parties to focus their outreach on early voters who haven’t yet cast their vote.

When counties requested that data from the voter registration database, those reports are supposed to strike the names and information of those protected voters. The state keeps the information of some voters private, either because of their occupation or because they’re the victims of certain crimes.

For 78 voters across multiple counties, that didn’t happen.

An official with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office said an audit is underway to determine what counties were impacted. 

“A county official informed us today that their report included protected voters,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said in a statement. “We contacted all the counties to let them know that their reports may also contain this protected information.”

Hobbs said that no voters in Maricopa or Pima counties were affected.

County election officials have been asked to notify anyone who requested those early ballot reports to destroy or return them. County officials have also been asked to contact directly the voters whose information was erroneously released.

A spokeswoman for Hobbs said a programming error in the state’s new voter registration database was to blame. A third party vendor, Team Sutherland, is responsible for the programming. 

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.