The class action lawsuit filed against the Secretary of State’s office has been dismissed because the plaintiffs in the case say their goal of having the office disclose the distribution of personal information on Georgia’s over six million registered voters. Kristina Torres of the AJC quotes the plaintiff’s attorney as saying,
From our perspective, the lawsuit has done exactly what we wanted it to do,” said attorney Jennifer Jordan, who represented Elise Piper and Yvette Sanders in the suit which they filed in November in Fulton County Superior Court. “We just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
The Secretary of State’s office issued the following statement:
We were pleased to learn of the dismissal. Enrollment for credit monitoring will continue to be open until February 14, and all affected voters are covered by identity theft restoration services. Georgians with questions regarding the data incident can visit the Secretary of State’s dedicated webpage or call the office’s hotline, 404-654-6045.
The voter information was released to 12 news agencies and political parties in October, however the Secretary of State’s office didn’t realize the error until they were notified by one of the recipients that unlike the normal monthly release of the data, the October release contained additional personal information.
According to a report on the incident released by the Secretary of State’s office in December, the office was in the process of retrieving the disks the information was distributed when the lawsuit was filed, and the data distribution was reported by the AJC. That report, however, did not contain any information about what happened to the dozen disks that had been distributed and how the Secretary of State’s office knew the data wasn’t released to the general public.
A spokesman for the Secretary of State said that information on the disposition of the data wasn’t part of the report because it was bound up in the now-settled lawsuit. At a joint hearing of the House and Senate appropriation committees, Secretary of State Kemp told lawmakers that he was sure the information hadn’t been released.
The dismissal of the lawsuit is certain to be good news for Brian Kemp and the Secretary of State’s office. It (and the governor’s office) will save money not having to defend a lawsuit that could have stretched on into the 2018 election season, where Kemp was rumored to be a possible candidate for Governor.
The big question now is whether the personally identifiable data has gotten out to the public. With the threat of the lawsuit gone, one hopes the Secretary of State’s office will be able to reassure the public by providing more details on the disposition of the disks.