Nov 7, 2018

Brian Kemp's office posts Georgia absentee voter information online

Woman touches Georgia I voted stickers.

Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The office of Georgia Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp posted an Excel file Wednesday containing personal information about voters who mailed in absentee ballots, including addresses, names, and whether they are elderly or disabled. The file is publicly accessible for download.

Why it matters: People trust the government to restrict access to this information, but it didn't in this case. Secretaries of state are not restricted from divulging this information (with the exception of giving it to commercial entities), but making it readily available online makes it much easier for anyone — not just those approved by a secretary of state's office — to access this personal, sensitive information.

To be sure: What Kemp's office did is different from a group that sold personal voter information on dark web channels last month. That information was, for the most part, publicly available beforehand, but the nefarious outcome in that case was that the group was seeking to sell the data.

Go deeper