Report: D.C. Voter Records Show Social Security Numbers

Social Security numbers of city voters — including the mayor — were visible on copies of voter history records obtained from the elections board, a report said Wednesday.

WTOP Radio said it asked the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics for several voter histories over two months. The station reported that in many cases, the voter's Social Security number was included. In some cases, DCBOEE workers tried to cover the numbers with a black marker, but they remained readable when held to a light. Other times, the numbers were rendered impossible to read. In one case there was no attempt to hide them.

Records with visible Social Security numbers include those of Mayor Anthony A. Williams and some members of the D.C. Council.

"It has never been the policy of the board to give out Social Security numbers," DCBOEE spokesman Bill O'Field told the station. He said the board was working to make sure the numbers would no longer be accessible.

Under a 1974 federal rule, government agencies are prohibited from publicly disclosing information like Social Security numbers. The 2002 Help America Vote Act advised states not to use such numbers to identify voters, but the district still does.

"I don't believe that the Social Security number should be provided at all," said Councilman Vincent Orange, D-Ward 5, who has oversight of DCBOEE. "It's an issue of privacy."