Chicago election site exposed personal information

John Byrne and Hal Dardick report:

Chicago election board officials confirmed Tuesday that sensitive personal information for about 1,200 people was exposed online but denied allegations by a computer security firm that the breach was much broader.

The firm, Forensicon, announced it uncovered the problem while researching voting patterns. It alleged that personal information of up to 1.7 million registered Chicago voters was exposed on the website of the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners.

An election board spokesman accused the firm of overplaying the problem. James Allen said the database of 1.7 million registered voters included no personal information beyond what is already public record—name, address and voter registration number. “Anyone can request that information from us, and we have to produce it,” Allen said. “There’s absolutely no sensitive information there.”

However, Allen said due to a mistake by the election authority, another database was inadvertently exposed online with names, addresses, drivers license numbers and the last four digits of social security numbers for around 1,200 people who had applied to work for the board in Chicago polling places on Election Day.

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