State Disables Voter Registration Web Site

Article excerpt

A design flaw in a state voter registration Web site left vulnerable the private information of people who used the site, a Pennsylvania State Department official said Wednesday.

Workers disabled the site Tuesday night after learning of the problem, which exposed driver's license numbers or last four digits of Social Security numbers belonging to people who had filled out a voter registration form online. The problem arose just days before the March 24 deadline to register to vote in next month's primary.

"As soon as we saw there was an issue, we took the page down," said department spokeswoman Leslie Amoros.

The Web site has been available for two years, Amoros said. State workers were trying last night to determine whose private information was viewed so they could notify those voters, and were working to fix the site's problems so they could get it online again, Amoros said.

A computer programmer who discovered the problem said it could have exposed the private information of tens of thousands of voters.

Most voter registration information is public. A voter's name, birthday, residence and political party can be obtained at county bureaus of elections. A driver's license number or partial Social Security number is required to register but that information is supposed to remain secret.

"It's very thoughtless and sloppy that this situation would occur," said Kim Alexander, founder and president of the Sacramento- based California Voter Foundation, which researches voting technology and privacy issues. …