Voters’ personal data at risk in Cobb theft

David Tulis / AJC Special

David Tulis / AJC Special

State officials are investigating the theft last week of equipment from a Cobb County precinct manager’s car that could make every Georgia voters’ personal information vulnerable to theft.

The equipment, used to check-in voters at the polls, was stolen Saturday evening, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Monday.

Cobb County elections director Janine Eveler said the stolen machine, known as an ExpressPoll unit, cannot be used to fraudulently vote in Tuesday's election but that it does contain a copy of Georgia's statewide voter file.

“We have managed that so that what’s stolen could not impact the election,” Eveler said.

While the file includes drivers’ license numbers, addresses and other data, it does not include Social Security numbers, Eveler said.

But, she said, “the poll book that was stolen did have a flash card with a voter list on it. But, it does require some knowledge or expertise to use machine to retrieve the information.”

Cobb County Police and the State Election Board are investigating.

Kemp said it was “unacceptable” that Cobb officials waited two days to notify him of the theft.

“We have opened an investigation, and we are taking steps to ensure that it has no effect on the election tomorrow,” Kemp said in a statement. “I am confident that the results will not be compromised.”

Nearly 55,000 votes were cast in early voting ahead of Tuesday's election, the culmination of a campaign that brought national attention to the state.

Tom Price’s congressional seat is vacant since he accepted a position in the Trump administration.