Attorney General’s Office Wants To Know How Protected Voter Info Got Released

LETTER DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM STATE ELECTION DIRECTOR

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News about the release of confidential information for at least 78 voters has caught the attention of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which is demanding answers from the Secretary of State’s Office about how the voter data ended up in reports shared with political parties and candidates.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright has given State Election Director Sambo Dul until April 7 to provide several records related to the release of the statutorily-protected voter information for several law enforcement officials, judges, and victims of domestic violence. Dul is the top election official for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

On March 18, Hobbs announced that secured voter data had been released via routine reports generated by the Arizona Voter Information Database (AVID) maintained by her office. The reports were made available to political parties and candidates who use them to track the request and return of early ballots.

Hobbs announcement indicated she had asked all persons who received the reports to destroy the documents. She did not address how long the apparently inadvertent release had been occurring.

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But while Wright applauded the agency’s efforts to mitigate damage “caused by the dissemination of sealed records,” her March 24 letter also invoked the the Attorney General’s authority to enforce election laws in demanding detailed information on how secured voter data “ended up in the reports to political parties.”

Among the items Wright wants from Dul is information showing how and when any Secretary of State employee or official first became aware that the secured data was released, and whom that person then told. Wright also demands all design notes used to develop the reports as well as “all meeting notes, emails, reports, or materials” in which the design of reports was discussed.

Dul is also asked to turn over records of “every person or group” who may have been given unauthorized access to the protected information, and to provide a detailed explanation of any efforts undertaken by staff “to recover or destroy” the reports from anyone who received the secured data.

Wright noted the Attorney General’s Office can utilize “civil and criminal actions” to an effort to enforce election laws and asked Dul to forward the demand letter to the attorney representing the Secretary of State.

The letter does not indicate what steps Wright might undertake if Dul or Hobbs do not provide the records by April 7.