July 23, 2001
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The
ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.
I have received your letter in which you asked several questions pertaining to voter
In this regard, I offer the following comments.
First, I believe that the records sought are available pursuant to §3-220 of the Election Law,
which pertains to records maintained by county boards of elections. Subdivision (1) of that statute
states in part that : "All registration records, certificates, lists and inventories referred to in, or
required by, this chapter [the Election Law] shall be public records..." As such, registration records
maintained by a county board of elections are clearly accessible to the public.
Second, I do not believe that registrants' occupations are indicated on voter registration
cards. Section §5-210 of the Election Law, entitled "Registration and enrollment and change of
enrollment upon application", includes reference to voter application forms and provides in
paragraph (k) of subdivision (5) that the form must include:
"(i) A space for the applicant to indicate whether or not he has ever
voted or registered to vote before and, if so, the approximate year in
which he last voted or registered and his name and address at the
(ii) The name and residence address of the applicant including the zip
code and apartment number, if any.
(iii) The date of birth of the applicant."
(iv) A space for the applicant to indicate whether or not he is a citizen
of the United States.
(v) The gender of the applicant (optional).
(vi) A space for the applicant to indicate his choice of party
enrollment, with a clear alternative provided for the applicant to
decline to affiliate with a party.
(vii) The telephone number of the applicant (optional).
(viii) A place for the applicant to execute the form on a line which is
clearly labeled ‘signature of applicant'..."
Since the Election Law requires the disclosure of registration records, which include the
items referenced above, nothing in the Freedom of Information Law may be asserted to withhold
those records. Therefore, although certain of those items might justifiably be denied as an
unwarranted invasion of personal privacy if contained in other kinds of records,[see Freedom of
Information Law, §87(2)(b)], the specific direction provided in the Election Law in my opinion
requires disclosure of registration records, including those items.
Lastly, a request for a copy of a named individual's voter registration card under the Election
Law should be directed to the county board of elections where the individual resides.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
David M. Treacy