At a Glance
Three states—Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia—pulled out of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) following Donald Trump's March 6 call to do so. But Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger defended the voting information group as “an important tool” for election integrity.
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Republican-led states keep pulling out of ERIC, a bipartisan nonprofit that helps its member states maintain accurate voter lists–but Georgia is not among them.
Quite the opposite, in fact. In a statement issued last week, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger defended the Electronic Registration Information Center as “an important tool” for election integrity.
“Maintaining accurate voter rolls protects the integrity of our elections. Systems like ERIC … help prevent people from being registered in and trying to vote in multiple states,” he said of the formerly obscure multi-state partnership that’s been politicized by right-wing media.
ERIC is made up of 29 member states and the District of Columbia, which fund it through annual dues. The nonprofit analyzes voter registration and driver’s license records provided by the states, along with federal death data and change-of-address data, to generate reports that states can use to keep their voter rolls up to date. They can also use the reports to provide voter registration information to individuals who may be eligible to vote.
“States that prioritize best practices and actual election integrity over politics are going to stay in ERIC and have clearer and more accurate voter rolls than those that choose to leave,” Raffensperger said in the statement.
Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia simultaneously announced their withdrawal on March 6 from ERIC, claiming it’s partisan and doesn’t properly secure voter data. “Florida has tried to back reforms to increase protections, but these protections were refused. Therefore, we have lost confidence in ERIC,” said Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd.
Perhaps not coincidentally, March 6 is the same day that former President Donald Trump took to his social media site Truth Social to call on all GOP-controlled states to “immediately pull out of ERIC, the terrible Voter Registration System that ‘pumps the rolls’ for Democrats and does nothing to clean them up.”
ERIC is not connected to any state’s voter registration system and members retain complete control over their voting records, according to an open letter that its executive director, Shane Hamlin, issued March 2 to address “recent misinformation spreading about ERIC.”
Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia join Louisiana, which left the voluntary group last July, and Alabama, which exited in January, following conspiracy theories circulated by right-wing media saying ERIC was secretly part of a George Soros-led plot to take over voter rolls.
ERIC was founded in 2012 by seven states: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. In recent years, the group’s membership quickly increased to over 30 states—including New Jersey in late 2022. Georgia was the 19th state to join on May 22, 2019. In a 2021 Election Integrity report, the Carter Center’s Democracy Program cited ERIC membership as a helpful practice for states wanting to maintain accurate voter lists.
But now five states have withdrawn, Ohio has threatened to follow suit, and there are rumblings in Texas and Wisconsin.
Raffensperger followed up last week’s statement by calling ERIC a “great organization” during a “Future of Elections” panel that he headlined at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 12 and expressed concern about the recent political attacks.
“What [Trump] is saying is that it’s a biased organization, but it’s led by the states. If anything, if you want to politicize [ERIC]—which I don’t want to do—then you could have more Republican states join it and then change the bylaws,” said Raffensperger. “We’re trying to keep it to make sure it’s good data.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed Florida to join ERIC in 2019 after former Gov. Rick Scott blocked it. Until recently, Raffensperger said, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office’s Elections Division would inform Florida if a registered voter moved between the states, but Florida’s recent decision to leave ERIC ends that communication.
“Reacting to disinformation, they’ve hurt their own state and others while undermining voter confidence,” he tweeted on March 7, the day after Florida’s exit.
- What is ERIC? A nonprofit membership organization made up of 29 states and the District of Columbia, which share data to help improve the accuracy of state voter rolls and register more eligible Americans to vote. Election officials in seven states created ERIC in 2012 with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
- Is Georgia a member? The Peach State became the 19th state to join ERIC in May 2019.
- Why has ERIC gone from obscure to controversial? Last year, a conservative website, The Gateway Pundit, began publishing stories that maligned ERIC’s funding and origins. On March 6, former President Trump urged Republican-controlled states to leave it in a Truth Social post, inaccurately calling it a voter registration system and saying it “pumps the rolls” for Democrats.
Tell Trump.666 to stay out of Georgia business….Jack Smith hurry up !
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