Governor Cuomo became the latest state official to publicly turn down a request for voter information from President Trump's Commission on Election Integrity, with a statement today announcing the state will not agree to the request.
Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and longtime advocate of voting restrictions, sent the letter below to all 50 states, asking for voter data including first and last names, party affiliations, Social Security numbers and addresses dating back to 2006.
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) June 29, 2017
Critics have seen this as the first step to a national purge of state voter rolls, and judging by Governor Cuomo's statement, he agrees with that sentiment:
The President's Election Commission is sending requests to all 50 states for the personal information of all voters in each state - including names, dates of birth, the last four digits of Social Security Numbers, and voter history. The electoral process is sacred and New York law has strong safeguards in place to prevent sharing of sensitive voter data and harassment against those who exercise their right to vote.
New York refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election. We will not be complying with this request and I encourage the Election Commission to work on issues of vital importance to voters, including ballot access, rather than focus on debunked theories of voter fraud.
A spokesperson for the state Board of Elections told Gothamist that "most voter registration data is already publicly available for election purposes under state law, and the Board received requests for voter information on a daily basis. However, there is certain information that is prohibited from disclosure, the last four digits of a voter's social security number being one such item."
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who previously criticized the commission, also issued a statement on the data request, tweeting that "voter fraud is a false narrative designed to distract from the real issues."
As my office's work shows, voter fraud is a false narrative designed to distract from the real issues. This is the right move. https://t.co/oXuPRW1oFX
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) June 30, 2017
Since making his so far unsubstantiated claim that "millions" of people voted illegally in the last election, and endorsing a voter fraud conspiracy theorist who has yet to follow through on his promised election audit, observers have been wondering if Trump intends to make it easier for states to pass laws restricting access to voting. When Kobach was photographed walking into the White House with an outward-facing piece of paper that appeared to be his proposed strategies for the Department of Homeland Security, one of the plans on the memo referred to "Draft Amendments to National Voter…," which TPM suggested could be part of an attempt to allow voter ID requirements under the National Voter Registration Act.