Secretary of State Advises against Sharing Personal Information with Untrusted Inquiries
|(ATLANTA) – Georgians should be wary when outside parties ask them for personal information, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger advised Thursday, noting his office had received multiple reports of voters being contacted by people they do not know.
“Do not share information with anyone you do not know,” Brad Raffensperger said. “If you have questions about your voter registration status, it is easy to check without sharing your personal information with any outside parties.”
The Secretary of State’s Office has heard from people who are active voters saying they received messages trying to convince them their voter registration is about to be cancelled. They are asked for personal information as a way to prevent cancellation. Here is an example of a message sent by text to one Georgian:
Raffensperger set up a Voter Protection Hotline that voters can call to check the status of their registration, 470-312-2635 if voters do not have access to the internet. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Or they can use existing means, such as the Secretary of State’s website, mvp.sos.ga.gov. All they need is their first initial, last name, date of birth, and county.
Once you logged in to the MyVoterPage.sos.ga.gov, they can verify their voter status, check their polling place, change or update their voter information, or print an absentee ballot application.
“You do not need to provide any of Personally Identifiable Information to any outside groups to check your voter registration status,” said France Watson, chief investigator with the Secretary of State’s Office. “It is your private information and should not be shared with anyone you do not know and trust.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines Personally Identifiable Information as any information that, “if lost, compromised or disclosed without authorization could result in substantial harm, embarrassment, inconvenience or unfairness to an individual.”
As is done in many states, Georgia is in the midst of periodic, federally required list maintenance that will be completed next month. Raffensperger posted online the names of 313,000 people on a list of Inactive Voters whose registration will be cancelled if they do not contact the election system within 30 days of a notice being mailed to them.
The list of Inactive Voters is composed of people who did not respond to notices sent to them because they had either filed a change of address form with the U.S. Postal Service, had official election mail returned undeliverable or who have not had contact with the election system for three years. Although these people failed to respond to that initial notice, they still remained able to vote normally for two additional election cycles equal to four years, but their registration will be cancelled if they fail to respond to the notice mailed to them this month or had other contact, such as voting, signing a petition or changing the address on their driver’s license.
The list was posted on the Secretary of State website so that anyone interested can see if their name or those of anyone they know may be on the list.
“We released the voter registration list for the purpose of crowdsourcing the information,” said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. “We caution groups from using poor data management techniques that lead to confusion and potential release of personal and private information.”
One of the messages sent to the Secretary of State’s Office expressed appreciation for the list maintenance. A woman, who lived in Georgia while her husband was in the Army and moved out of state in 2011, said she was glad to have her name removed from the list.
“Thank you for protecting our election process by cleaning up the voter registration of names that should not be there,” she wrote. “No fraudulent vote can be cast in my name if my name doesn’t appear on the registration list.”