NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After massive public backlash, and the possibility for legal backlash as well, the New York City Board of Elections has quickly wiped the public’s private information from the internet.
Voter rolls listing full names, home addresses that included apartment numbers, and party affiliations for all 4.6 million registered voters in New York City were dumped on the BOE’s website.
On Tuesday, the board suddenly decided to remove that information from its site after beginning the information dump in February.
Executive director Michael Ryan spoke to CBS2’s Marcia Kramer about the privacy scandal and admitted the media firestorm was responsible for the decision to end the short-sighted plan.
“Yes we heard it. Yes we took it down. Do I think if someone was really looking to find somebody they’d go to the ad list books at the Boards of Elections? No I don’t quite frankly,” Ryan said defiantly.
Good government groups had argued that posting the information violated state election law which says the information can only be used for election purposes.
By posting it publicly, it was available to anyone from mail scanners, to internet trolls, to criminals, who could access your information with just a few clicks of their mouse.
Ryan has already been under fire since the debacle surrounding the 2018 election, where New Yorkers were forced to wait for hours in the pouring rain because of rampant voting machine problems.
“It’s a violation of voter privacy and I think it doesn’t follow the requirements of New York’s election law,” Susan Lerner of Common Cause NY said.
Both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio slammed the board for posting the records.
Despite Ryan’s assurances, there is little to no way of knowing who accessed the files while they were posted on the BOE’s website.