Multiple states have now pulled out of the Electronic Registration and Information Center (ERIC) after over a year of concerns from state leaders across the nation.
On Monday, Florida, Missouri and West Virginia joined Alabama and Louisiana in taking the steps necessary to get out of the voter rolls maintenance program.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft led the effort to leave the program.
"We have worked hard over the last several years to implement procedures that will make Missouri elections better, voter rolls more accurate, and bring greater trust to the election process," Ashcroft said. "Voter confidence is compromised when individuals vote in more than one state and nothing is done. It appears that ERIC will not make the necessary changes to address these concerns, therefore, it is time to move on."
ERIC is a nationwide, voluntary program that states can pay to contract with to maintain voter rolls and registrations. It claims to help states maintain voter rolls by identifying potential registered voters who have passed away, moved out of state or have duplicate registrations.
West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said, "There is no defensible justification to allow any opportunity for partisanship in voter registration and list maintenance, much less in the administration of our nation's elections."
Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd said withdrawing from ERIC will protect the data privacy of Florida voters.
"As Secretary of State, I have an obligation to protect the personal information of Florida's citizens, which the ERIC agreement requires us to share," said Byrd. "Florida has tried to back reforms to increase protections, but these protections were refused. Therefore, we have lost confidence in ERIC."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously voiced support for the system, saying, "We have the ability to match those records through the ERIC system from most states now."
Concerns from those questioning ERIC include the confidentiality of resident information, the funding source of ERIC, the fact that ERIC does not have a brick-and-mortar location and the influence some partisan ERIC board members may have on the integrity of the program.
Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen took action immediately after being elected by sending a certified letter to ERIC stating that Alabama would cease participation upon his inauguration. However, that certified letter was returned because the address provided on ERIC's website is not the actual office of the non-profit. Allen was able to send the letter to executives with the company.
ERIC's executive director Shane Hamlin responded to a media inquiry with the following statement:
"ERIC will follow our Bylaws and Membership Agreement regarding any member's request to resign membership. We will continue our work on behalf of our remaining member states in improving the accuracy of America's voter rolls and increasing access to voter registration for all eligible citizens."
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