Ohio pulls out of ERIC, dealing another blow to group that helps clean up voter rolls


Ohio on Friday became the latest Republican-led state to leave a little-known data-sharing consortium that helped keep voter rolls nationwide up-to-date and safe from opportunities for fraud, but has recently been attacked by election deniers spreading false information about his role.

In a letter to the organization, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced his intention to withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), the name of the consortium. Ohio joins five other Republican-led states — Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Missouri and Florida — that have exited in the past year. Four announced their departure just this month, raising questions about the band’s future.

LaRose cited the defeat of proposed changes at a meeting of organization members on Friday that he said would have improved security protocols for sensitive data and removed perceived partisanship from the group’s governance.

“ERIC has repeatedly chosen to ignore calls to pass reforms that would build confidence in its performance, encourage the growth of its members, and ensure not only its current stability but also its sustainability,” LaRose wrote in a letter. to ERIC announcing its decision. “Instead, you have chosen to double down on bad strategic decisions, which have only resulted in the transformation of a previously bipartisan organization into one that appears to only favor the interests of one political party. “

The states’ departures come amid a steady stream of misinformation from election deniers — including former President Donald Trump — who have claimed without evidence that the group is a left-wing vehicle that shares sensitive data on the voters with liberal groups, encourages bloated and inaccurate lists, and enables the very fraud it is meant to eradicate. Some of those coming out have also criticized ERIC’s requirement that member states encourage voter registration by contacting eligible but unregistered residents.

Remaining ERIC members deny the charges, arguing that collapsing the organization would eliminate one of the most powerful tools to prevent voter fraud just as states begin preparing for the 2024 election calendar.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, one of the few Republican lawmakers to publicly defend the organization, said removing other states “almost guarantees” that their lists will become less reliable and less accurate.

“Many of these states have been fortunate enough to avoid the scrutiny of a close and contentious election in recent years, as Georgia faced,” Raffensperger said. “But if Florida faces another election like it did in 2000, it will wish it had retained all the tools available to ensure its voter rolls are reliable.”

Four of the Republicans who opted to pull their states out of the ERIC are expected to seek GOP nomination for a senior post next year — prompting some critics to accuse them of pandering to Republican voters who believe the election of 2020 was rigged, and possibly to Trump himself.

The former president became a leading peddler of unproven claims about ERIC, describing it on his social media platform, Truth Social, in early March as “the terrible voter registration system that’s pumping rolls “for Democrats and does nothing to clean them up.”

LaRose is widely expected to run for the US Senate seat held by Democrat Sherrod Brown. The secretaries of state of West Virginia and Missouri – Mac Warner and Jay Ashcroft – are expected to run for governor. And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who oversees election administration there, is expected to seek his party’s nomination for president.

“All of this controversy is fueled by easily debunked misinformation and a new desire by some member states to opt out of sending eligible citizens information on how to register to vote,” Michigan’s secretary of state said. , Jocelyn Benson (D), in a text message. “It should be noted that the states at the forefront of these attacks are led by Republican politicians who are likely seeking higher positions and actively trying to curry favor with extremists in their party and, in most case, of Trump himself.”

ERIC was created to help states build a strong voters list practices while keeping Republicans and Democrats happy in a field full of mutual suspicion.

The organization compiles expensive data on U.S. Postal Service address changes, Social Security Administration death records, and members’ motor vehicle records and voter data. The Consortium uses this information to produce reports for Member States to help them de-list people who have died or moved away. Voter turnout data can be used to identify and prosecute those who voted twice from state to state.

Members are also required to send a postcard to eligible unregistered voters in their state encouraging them to register to vote.

The purpose of both parts of ERIC’s mission was to give incentives to the two Republicans, who tend to emphasize strictness maintaining the list, and Democrats, who are focused on encouraging voter registration, to join the organization. Early 2022, 34 States, covering a wide range of political ideologies, had joined the consortium.

Last year, Louisiana was the first to withdraw from ERIC, citing unproven security concerns raised in right-wing media. Alabama followed in January.

Earlier this month, three more states — Florida, Missouri and West Virginia — opted out. Additionally, Texas is considering legislation that would force it out of ERIC, and its secretary of state has begun the process of creating its own internal roster management program.

What will happen in two other states, North Carolina and Oklahoma, which were planning to join ERIC this year, is less clear. In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation blocking such plans. And Oklahoma officials have indicated their desire to partner with Texas’ new roster update program.

Several supporters have said that ERIC is unlikely to collapse because many Democratic states and a few Republicans remain committed to it, as does the six states where Trump has contested defeat in 2020. Plus, the group could win a powerhouse this year — California — which is considering legislation requiring it to join. Its neighbors, including Arizona and Nevada, have championed the possibility because so many people cross the California border each year and the wealth of data from the country’s most populous state would give a boost to list maintenance efforts. .

“In a few years, ERIC partner states like Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where Trump is focusing much of his post-2020 frustration, will have far cleaner voter rolls than the red states that have removed from the organization,” Raffensperger said.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button