AZ online voter registration system down, computer compromised

Published: Jul. 5, 2016 at 2:19 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 5:16 PM MST
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PIMA COUNTY, AZ ( Tucson News Now) - A cyber-security issue affecting the state's voter registration system has not been resolved, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's blog page. The July 5 post is an update to a June 30 post saying the FBI alerted that "a credential related to the Voter Registration System had been compromised."

Further investigation revealed a county computer had been compromised by malicious software, according to the blog.

Pima County Recorder, F. Ann Rodriguez confirmed that the county computer that was compromised is not a Pima County computer. Rodriguez said in two conference calls with county recorders across the state, the Secretary of State's office explained security experts were working with the system vendor to make sure voter information was not accessed or otherwise tampered with.

As a result, the Secretary of State, Michele Reagan, decided to take the voter registration site offline. This now affects two important processes.

First, anyone who registers to vote or makes a change to their registration on the Service Arizona website, according to Rodriguez, will not have their data transferred to the Secretary of State's records. That data transfer will not happen until the voter registration system is back online.

The second process affected is how Clean Elections candidates can receive their $5 dollar contributions to qualify for public funding. The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act applies to candidates running for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, corporation commissioner, mine inspector, state Senate and the House of Representatives.

Rodriguez questions whether security teams were working to resolve the issue over the holiday weekend.

Eduardo Sainz with Mi Familia Vota, a nonprofit that has worked aggressively to encourage Latinos to register to vote, said he learned of the voter registration issue through social media. Sainz said he has asked Reagan's office to provide details but has not received answers.

"This is something that is unacceptable, that we cannot tolerate," Sainz said. "New voters need to have the answer. Everyone who wants to participate should know what's happening with this matter."

Sainz is advising potential voters to fill out the paper registration form and keep the bottom copy as a receipt after turning the form over to the county recorder. Rodriguez said paper forms handed in to her office will be properly entered into their voter registration system which is not tied to the Service Arizona website.

Tucson News Now reached out to the Secretary of State's communications department multiple times and made multiple requests through Reagan's social media accounts in an attempt to get answers. Phone calls, emails, and social media messages have not been returned.

According to the Secretary of State blog, the projected date to have the voter registration system back online is now July 8. The deadline to register to vote in the primary election is Aug. 1, and the early ballots are to be mailed out Aug. 3.

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