Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Civic Duty Goes Unpunished

Thanks to the Davidson County Election Commission's lack of security, I had to place a 90-day fraud alert* on my files at the credit agencies in order to protect myself from identity theft. What did I do to deserve that risk? Vote. That's it. And why? Because Metro's Election Commission left the personal information of 337,000 voters in this county in a place vulnerable enough so that thieves merely had to break a window to obtain it. And I was stupid enough to vote, rather than to join the usually apathetic and now comfortable throng who don't vote.

I thought my biggest beef with the Election Commission was the lack of hard-copy records, which makes elections prone to voter fraud. Until this week I wouldn't have imagined that Administrator Ray Barrett's office lacked security sufficient to guard against financial fraud of each of the 337,000 voters whose records were on the stolen computers. And the best they can do for those of us who exercised our civic responsibility is to send out a general warning and letters to every Davidson County voter?! I'd say that they need to be helping the 337,000 personally set up fraud alerts, and otherwise offering assistance where they can.

Asking the Metro IT staff to beef up security after the fact doesn't help us in the present. And if my personal information has been compromised, how is news that this won't be a problem for the upcoming January presidential primary supposed to be reassuring? I'm less likely to vote now knowing that anybody can have access to my records by simply breaking a window. Why did the Election Commission lack the foresight that obviously some Christmas burglars seemed to have?

*If you've ever voted in Davidson County, you should have a fraud alert put on your credit records. It keeps others from getting credit in your name without your permission. However, it has to be renewed after 90 days. Details on how to do that after the jump.

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