Left-leaning media outlet Politico criticized Alabama's new Secretary of State Wes Allen for pulling out of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which it called "a genuine bipartisan success story."

ERIC is a nonprofit organization that claims to identify registered voters who are deceased or no longer live in the state. It also claims to catch duplicate voters in the registration system, thereby assisting states in managing voter roles.

Allen pulled out of ERIC as soon as he took office earlier this month, sending a letter to ERIC executive director Shane Hamlin to notify him of the withdrawal. This made him the second Secretary of State to pull his state out of ERIC, following Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who withdrew Louisiana from the program in 2022. 

During his campaign last year, Allen suggested there was a possible connection between ERIC and billionaire Democratic donor Goerge Soros, a claim former Secretary of State John Merrill disputed

"Allen's abandonment of ERIC illustrates how ideas stemming from the falsehood of a stolen presidential election remain in the bloodstream of the American democratic system, even after its most well-known proponents were shut out from winning key positions in major swing states in the midterms," the Politico article read. "It also suggests the era of bipartisan, behind-the-scenes, mundane cooperation on the mechanics of running elections is at risk."

According to the article, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, complained about Allen and Ardoin's decisions to leave ERIC, stating that he was "disappointed" because "the more members there are in ERIC, the stronger ERIC is."

Politico accused Allen of being an election denier, citing States United Action (SUA), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that claims to "protect our elections and our democracy" by listing "election deniers" in various races for state offices. 

To qualify as an "election denier" under the SUA, one must have claimed former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, spread lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, called for a "forensic audit" of the 2020 presidential election after the results were certified, promoted "conspiracies" about the 2020 election or took actions to "undermine the integrity" of the 2020 presidential election such as supporting litigation to overturn the results or promoting in a Stop the Steal sponsored event.

It's unclear exactly what the SUA used as evidence to label Allen an election denier. However, he voiced support for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall when he tweeted a press release in 2020 expressing support for a motion filed by the State of Texas against several states for voting irregularities.

"My reasons for withdrawing from ERIC were very clear but, conveniently, not mentioned in the Politico article," Allen told 1819 News on Monday. "My reasons include the fact that ERIC collects the private information of Alabama citizens, including their driver's license numbers, contact information and partial social security numbers is troubling. It is even more troubling that ERIC collects that information on children who are not old enough to vote, calling into question their claims that they are solely interested in clean voter rolls."

"Furthermore, the idea that this is some sort of searchable database made available to member states is not true," he continued. "We upload information but do not have access to the information of the other states. ERIC officials simply provide us with the information they want us to know. This is not what it appears to be. I campaigned on the promise of withdrawing Alabama from ERIC, and I kept that promise. That is what the people of Alabama wanted."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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