IT staffer fired in data breach affecting 6 million Georgia voters

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will issue an alert this afternoon formally notifying more than 6 million Georgia voters that their personal information, including Social Security numbers and birth dates, were illegally released last month by his office.

The decision to send the notification comes two days after his office was alerted to the problem by two voters who filed a class action lawsuit alleging a massive data breach. The notification is also required by state law.

Kemp said he has fired a technology staffer who he held responsible for the illegal disclosure.

In a formal letter posted on the Secretary of State Office’s website, Kemp said the employee “broke internal rules.”

“I want to assure Georgia’s citizens that it is my top priority to protect their personal information,” Kemp said. “I have put in place additional safeguards to ensure this situation does not happen again.”

In a statement issued later Thursday, Kemp also said, “I take full responsibility for this mistake.”

Kemp did not identify the staffer who was fired.

The office released the private data Oct. 13 to 12 organizations who regularly subscribe to "voter lists" maintained by the state, including state political parties, news media organizations and Georgia GunOwner Magazine. Officials, however, appear not to have realized they goofed until 35 days later when they were served with a class-action lawsuit Tuesday afternoon alleging a massive data breach.

Kemp said Thursday that all 12 discs sent to the organizations “have been accounted for. Each recipient, including the Georgia Republican Party and the Georgia Democratic Party, has confirmed that the data was not retained or disseminated to any outside parties.”