ALBANY – Despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s declaration that New York would not share its voter data with a presidential commission tasked with investigating voter fraud, the state will indeed share a database containing almost all of the requested records.
At a Wednesday meeting of the state Board of Elections, Republican co-chair Peter Kosinski said that the Board had received a Freedom of Information Law request for the state’s voter records. The two Democratic and two Republican commissioners had agreed to share the database with the commission, Kosinksi said.
Cuomo said definitively in late June that New York’s secretary of state, Rossana Rosado, would not fulfill the commission’s request for the names, party affiliation, partial Social Security Numbers, addresses and participation history of Empire State voters "if publicly available," according to a form letter made public by officials in Connecticut. Cuomo stated that New York "refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election."
But the decision was never his to make: the database is maintained by the Board of Elections, which is not directly under the governor’s purview.
And the provisions of a 2005 law that created the database, partially with the intent of making it easier to investigate voter fraud, make it available to the general public as long as a recipient isn’t using it for “non-election purposes.” Either full or partial versions of the database have been sent to members of the general public 1,379 times since the beginning of 2015.
The version of the database that the Board will send to the presidential commission will be the same as those that have been sent to members of the public in the past. It will contain information such as voters’ dates of birth, addresses, and voting history, but will exclude identifying information such as Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers.