FOIL AO 19677

Via Email


RE: FOIL and County supplied Voter file

Hi ‐ ‐

            I believe that the provisions upon which the County relied are inapplicable. Section 3‐103(3) of the Election Law makes reference to the “statewide voter registration list” and specifies that the list “shall not be used for non‐election purposes.” Similarly, §5‐614 of the Election Law is entitled “Statewide voter registration list”. If I understand your request correctly, you are not seeking the statewide voter registration list, but rather the list maintained by a county board of elections.

            If my understanding is accurate, the provisions of the Election Law cited in the preceding paragraph do not apply. Rather, I believe that other statutes within the Election Law direct that a county voter registration list be made public. Section 3‐212, which refers to local boards of election, states in subdivision (3) that “The records of the board, and all papers and books filed in its office are public records.” Section 5‐602 entitled “Lists of registered voters; publication of” states in subdivision (3) that a local board of elections “shall keep at least five copies for public inspection at each main office or branch of the board” and that “Other copies shall be sold at a charge not exceeding the cost of publication.”

            In consideration of §§3‐212 and 5‐602 of the Election Law, I believe that a county voter registration list must be disclosed pursuant to those statutes, and that the Freedom of Information Law is not the governing statute. Moreover, §89(6) of the Freedom of Information Law states that nothing in that law “shall be construed to limit or abridge any otherwise available right of access in law or in equity to any party to records.”

            In consideration of the foregoing, I do not believe that a person can be required to sign an affidavit to obtain a county’s voter registration list, irrespective of the purpose for which a request is made.

            Please feel free to share this response as you see fit.  I hope that I have been of assistance.

Bob Freeman