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NY board releases public voter data to Trump voter panel

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 25, 2017.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 25, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

ALBANY — The state Board of Elections will provide public information on New York voters under a scaled-back request from the Trump administration.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had said in June that the state wouldn’t comply with the initial request from Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity for data that included sensitive information such as Social Security numbers. The data was to be used to investigate the Trump administration’s claim of fraud in the November presidential election.

Governors from many other states also refused the Trump administration’s initial request.

Now, however, only New York voters’ names, addresses, dates of birth, election districts, voting history and current voter status will be part of the data that was sent to the vote commission Wednesday afternoon, state Board of Elections spokesman Thomas Connolly said Wednesday.

A computer disk with more than 12 million records was sent to the commission under a state Freedom of Information request filed by the Trump administration and received Friday, he said.

“There is no sensitive information,” Connolly said. No Social Security or driver’s license numbers will be released and no signatures will be released, he said.

Cuomo supported the decision by the bipartisan state Board of Elections.

“Our position remains unchanged and we will continue to deny requests for sensitive personal data about New York residents, which is protected under the law,” Cuomo said. “We will never provide private voter information to anyone, especially a politically-motivated organization seeking to perpetuate the myth of voter fraud.”

The data is publicly available under the state Freedom of Information Law and is on file at county boards of election.

The League of Women Voters said it was distressed that the state provided the public information because of how the Trump commission will use it.

“This particular request is a veiled threat to our state’s voters,” said Jennifer Wilson, program and policy director of the state League of Women Voters. “It is our fear that the collection of this data will ultimately lead to an increase in voter suppression.”

This is a more limited amount of data than the Trump administration sought under two previous written requests, each of which was rejected by the state board.

President Trump in June sought voter information from states after he claimed that voter fraud cost him the popular vote in November to Democrat Hillary Clinton, although there is no evidence to support that. Trump won the presidency in the Electoral College.

With Joan Gralla

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