Local

Pierce County mistakenly shares hundreds of thousands of registered voters’ sensitive information

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Letters are going out to nearly a half-million registered voters in Pierce County after some of their private data was mistakenly shared last month.

Officials say an employee in the county Auditor’s Office accidentally sent out a spreadsheet with a public records request that included the last four digits of voters’ social security numbers.

The county contacted the person who received the information upon learning of the error. The recipient immediately cooperated, deleting all the sensitive data.

In the letter sent to those affected, the county said the issue was resolved within two hours.

“We have confirmed that there was no widespread dissemination of information and no retention or copying of the information by the requester,” the letter reads in part. “This kind of mistake has never happened before, and we have enhanced our protocols to prevent this kind of mistake from occurring again.”

The Pierce County Auditor’s Office says it receives hundreds of data requests from the public each year.

Voters’ names, addresses and birthdates are considered public information.

The county must also request a person’s social security number or state-issued driver’s license number when they register to vote. This information is retained but not authorized for public release.