An Election Commission Official said today that protocol for storing laptops containing voter information was not followed prior to a break-in around Christmas that resulted in the laptops containing the Social Security numbers of more than 300,000 Davidson County voters being stolen.
Election Administrator Ray Barrett said the laptops were supposed to be under lock and key in a cabinet, but were left out after undergoing some maintenance and testing by the Metro IT department.
Barrett said they were trying to get one laptop ready for early voting that begins Jan. 16 and testing out a program that would file the last four digits of a citizens Social Security number as opposed to the entire number.
“This computer had been pulled out of the lock room and set out on the desk to run this test,” Barrett said. “What happened, they didn’t put it back up. So yes, they’re locked up.”
State Election Coordinator Brook Thompson said his office will be talking with county election commissions across the state to remind them to take extra precautions to protect voters’ identifications.
Thompson said the theft raises the issue of security at election commissions statewide.
“The county election commissions obviously need to be aware of where they have the data stored and how it’s being secured and take necessary precautions to protect that,” Thompson said.
Metro Police said the act was a simple break-in and they have no evidence to prove the thief or thieves were after the information located on the laptops — complete Social Security numbers and addresses for more than 300,000 voters.