Letter To Nebraska Voters Not A Scam


Is it a scam or a genuine article? A letter that went to thousands of Nebraskans left some viewers concerns and confused.

The Nebraska state seal looks official, but Sam Garrett questioned what the Secretary of State wanted from him.

"Because they ask for the last four digits of your social security number and your driver's license," Garrett said. "So immediately I thought it was a scam."

16,000 Nebraska registered voters got the same personal information request.

Even our Mike McKnight got the letter. Although it's similar to the scam mailings people ask Fact Finders to investigate, it's legit and doesn't belong with all the phonies.

Ten years ago, Nebraskans didn't have to use social security or driver's license numbers to register. That personal information will now help the Secretary of State confirm a voter's identity and catch mistakes or fraud.

But a postal inspector isn't surprise people are suspicious.

"We see so many that are fake, it's refreshing to see one that's real," said inspector Dave Margritz. "But it's good people do question. Don't just give out information but ask some hard questions first."

It's not just the personal information request, but Sam worries about mistakenly canceling out his right to vote.

"If I check 'I wish to opt out of the voter registration list,' thinking I won't receive this mail anymore, I'm out," Garrett said.

It's not a ballot, but a request form. Still, Garrett said it's casting some doubt over whether he should return it.

WOWT 6 News Fact Finders reached out to Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale. Here's a statement from his office:

"Earlier this week, we sent a letter to 16,000 Nebraskans who are registered to vote but whose registrations do not include either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security Number in our voter registration database. Many of those individuals likely registered to vote prior to 2003 when driver’s license numbers and social security numbers were first requested on Nebraska’s voter registration forms. The letter sent from the Secretary of State’s office is legitimate, but it is not mandatory. We are hoping for good cooperation, but refusal does not affect anyone’s voter registration. Because of the increasing importance of such information, the letter is simply an effort by my office to close some information gaps in our voter registration database. The reason we need the information is simple. Because our Voter Registration system is a closed web-based interactive database, we are able to cross-check our database against others including the Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security, Bureau of Vital Statistics – for death records, Crime Commission and the United States Post Office change of address database, as well as others. That allows us to find out who has died, who has moved, who might be registered twice, when two slightly different names may be the same person, and other such purposes. Having one more identifier, like a driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security Number, allows us to confirm far more accurately the identity of that person.

Because these Nebraskans are registered to vote, we honor their civic interest and hope they will help us make our system better. Anyone with questions regarding the nature of the letter or how to complete the information and send it to our office, is welcome to call the Secretary of State’s office. We want Nebraskans to know that the information they provide to our office is secure and is not shared with anyone else. It does not impact their ability to vote in anyway and their decision to comply with the form is completely voluntary. It will not impact their voter record."


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