Lawerence Denney

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney

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It wasn’t just the Idaho Freedom Foundation that improperly received protected voter information from the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, Rep. Greg Chaney said in a letter to Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney today. “The true addresses of protected crime victims, law enforcement officers, and judges were revealed not only to the group that posted (them) online (IFF), but also to candidates in contested primary election races well before the violation was discovered,” Chaney wrote.

Denney's office confirmed that nine requesters received the unredacted list between March 24 and May 13. Chaney, R-Caldwell, chairs the House Judiciary Committee and noted that the matter “falls squarely in the purview” of his committee.

“I feel a certain responsibility to demand answers on behalf of the committee and to begin seeking out solutions for those whose trust has been violated,” Chaney wrote. “The administration of the Address Confidentiality Program is the only responsibility entrusted to the Secretary of State with direct life-and-death implications. It is therefore all the more troubling to think that responsibility was anything less than fully met. This serious issue warrants investigation into the source and cause of the underlying dereliction.”

Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck said Denney plans to respond in writing to Chaney’s letter on Tuesday. Already, on Monday, Denney sent personal letters to each of the 55 individuals whose legally guaranteed privacy protection was violated, Houck said. The Secretary of State’s office attributed the release of the protected information to a software glitch.

Houck confirmed on Monday that nine individuals or organizations, including the Idaho Freedom Foundation, were improperly given the unredacted list between March 24 and May 13. IFF posted it on the website of its political arm, Idaho Freedom Action, where it posted the entire Idaho voter registration list, including the names, home addresses and party affiliations of nearly 300,000 Idaho voters. The group removed the list after being notified by the Secretary of State’s office that it included protected information and replaced it with a redacted version; it subsequently removed that, as well, after public outcry, saying it’d give it out when requested by email.

“I don’t think we’ve been anything other than transparent in this,” Houck said Monday. “We’ve said that we had an error, and that error was on our responsibility – a software error, but still ultimately our responsibility.” You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Tuesday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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