191 Million Registered Voters' Information Leaked Online

January 5, 2016, Written By John H. Oldshue
A United States voter registration application ready to be filled out with a silver pen.

Just before the new year, the personal information of 191 million voters was leaked on the Internet. The breach was due to a technical error, which allowed the data to be accessed by the public.

Chris Vickery, a Texas-based security researcher, alerted Databreaches.net and the blog Salted Hash of the vulnerability.

“I wouldn’t have been too surprised to see a county or so worth of data exposed. But to see every registered voter in the US all together was very surprising, I was shocked,” said Vickery.

While the exposed information does not contain social security numbers or financial information, it does include full names, home addresses, mailing addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, political affiliations, emails and an individual’s voting record since 2000. This means scammers could easily contact voters and attempt to fraud them.

While most of this information is a matter of public record, many states have restrictions on how the information is disclosed or used. As reported in The Washington Post, South Dakota makes requestors sign an agreement stating the information “may not be placed for unrestricted access on the Internet.”

Initially, NationBuilder, a digital campaigning platform, was labeled as a possible source of the information. However, in a statement from founder and CEO Jim Gilliam, he denied they ran the database.

“We strongly believe in making voter information more accessible to political campaigns and advocacy groups, so we provide cleaned versions of that publicly accessible information to them for free. We do not provide access to anyone for non-political purposes or that would violate any state’s laws,” he said.

The leaked information is no longer available online, and Vickery immediately notified the FBI and other authorities of the breach.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 5, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.