A week after being elected as Alabama’s next Secretary of State, Wes Allen sent a certified letter to the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) stating that Alabama would cease participation with the non-profit upon his inauguration on January 16, 2023.
ERIC is a nationwide program that contracts with states 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.
The program has come into question after reports it is a George Soros-funded organization. Other concerns about ERIC include its collection of personal data from voter lists and driver’s license data, which includes minors who are not old enough to vote.
“I have heard repeatedly as I travelled through the state for the last year and a half that people want us out of ERIC,” Allen stated in a press release. “They don’t want their personal information or the personal information of their children to be sent to this out-of-state group. I promised I would end our participation and that is what I am taking these steps to do.”
The letter from Allen was sent to several executives within ERIC.
It reads in part as follows:
Please consider this notice that Alabama will not continue to participate and is officially withdrawing from the Electronic Registration Information Center, Inc. (ERIC) and all of its programs. Upon my inauguration on January 16, 2023, I will issue another letter on official government letterhead again notifying you of Alabama’s withdrawal from ERIC. Upon my swearing in, we will immediately and permanently cease to transmit any information regarding any citizen in the State of Alabama to your organization and will no longer participate in any aspect of the ERIC program.
Current Secretary of State John Merrill said there would not be any action taken to separate from ERIC as long as he is in office. He said in the 2020 election cycle, ERIC identified 12 people that committed voter fraud by voting in two states at the same time. He advised that information was turned over to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation and potential prosecution. Merrill said that information was given to his office directly from ERIC, and without the center, those duplicate voters would not have been identified.
The 12 voters identified were from Florida, another ERIC member state.
“I agree with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who indicated at a press conference in August that ERIC is one of the most outstanding and significant tools to investigate voter fraud and to ensure election integrity, transparency and accountability,” Merrill added.
While speaking about duplicate voting, DeSantis said earlier this year, “We have the ability to match those records through the ERIC system from most states now.”
“Secretary-elect Allen has to take actions that he feels are in the best interest of the people of the state of Alabama,” Merrill said. “My question remains about the potential disassociation with ERIC is, ‘why would we disassociate ourselves from an organization or an entity that has never had any negative incidences of occurrence, any irregularities, any inconsistencies, any improprieties and no vulnerabilities exposed?”
Once in office, the plan is for Allen to set up a cooperative system within the state of Alabama. He intends to use the USPS Change of Address program to identify potential out-of-state voters. He also plans to work with other agencies, such as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s driver’s license offices and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Office of Vital Statistics, to maintain voter rolls. Those meetings with state government agencies cannot occur until he is in office.
Alabama pays a fee of around $28,000 a year to be a member of ERIC. That fee goes towards the organization’s annual budget of $1,037,000. Allen said that payment would end with the state’s withdrawal from the system.
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