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2003 Theft of Election Equipment Software and Personal Information From ES&S Disclosed PDF  | Print |  Email
By Mark Ritchie, candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State   
September 15, 2006
Details were released today of a break-in and burglary of Election Systems and Software's (ES&S) Waite Park, Minnesota office that occurred on August 19, 2003. ES&S is the world's largest producer of ballot counting machines. Their vote-counting machines are used in all but four counties in Minnesota. Along with these details, Ritchie released the following statement:

To my knowledge ES&S has not notified any election officials about this crime which was a serious incident of personal information theft and may be a significant breach in the security of elections conducted on ES&S machines.

I have sent a letter to ES&S asking for more information on this burglary and for their ideas on how to prevent this from happening again. I have many questions, including what the stolen items are used for, what data was included, and why no one appears to have been informed. I'll be asking these and other questions and searching for answers over the next few days.

We are fortunate to have the new system of post-election audits in place to help ensure that thefts like this cannot compromise our elections here in Minnesota. Other states are not as fortunate. While the audits are an important way to protect our vote we need to do more to make sure these kinds of incidents do not occur in the first place.

If a situation like this break-in does occur while I am Secretary of State, I promise this to the citizens of Minnesota: As soon as I find out about any incident everyone potentially affected will be informed and immediate action will be taken to address all potential consequences.
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