Is ERIC Helping States Maintain Voter Registrations Or Making Them Harder To Maintain?
1/17/2023 Repost from The Georgia Record
GA Record Staff January 6, 2023
ERIC States 2020
Image by Bartonlynch
In May 2019, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced an agreement between Georgia and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) to manage and maintain Georgia’s voter registration rolls.
ERIC is a 501 (c)(3) originally formed by seven States which now has gained authority over the voter registrations in 31 States and Washington DC.
The ERIC website states “ERIC is a public charity non-profit membership organization comprised of 31 states and the District of Columbia. ERIC’s mission is to assist states in improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increasing access to voter registration for all eligible citizens.”
In other words, ERIC’s aim is to 1) Register all qualified voters. 2) “Clean” the voter rolls for accuracy (Including removing voters who no longer qualify or who have moved out of the area in which they registered.) States are quick to claim that they engage with ERIC in order to avoid violations of Federal voting laws, but are they in-fact being complaint with the law?
Just today, Epoch Times released a story disclosing that 150,000 Wisconsin voters cannot be tied to a valid address. Notably Wisconsin uses ERIC to maintain its voter registration database. The article goes on to explain that a large number of registrations have been shown to have moved out of State, with the remainder having moved from an address in one jurisdiction to another address outside the jurisdiction. Isn’t this exactly what ERIC is supposed to spot and fix?
Voters in Georgia have expressed concern over voter registration counts since well before the 2020 elections.
Georgia has more Counties than any other State with the exception of Texas. Between 2016 and 2020 many of our 159 Counties saw increased voter registrations which vastly outpaced population growth. In some cases, Counties whose population DECREASED have still shown increases in registered voters. Examples are shown in Figure 1.
If these voter registration numbers were in some way erroneous, then one would expect to see them come down in the period since May 2019, when Georgia signed its contract with ERIC. Instead, voter registrations have continued to rise. Why? Is Georgia seeing a dynamic emerge like Wisconsin?
Even those who are in the Election process are concerned about these dynamics. Recently a County election official was heard to say they thought their County had excess registrations numbering well over 10,000.
Another concern is the type and amount of information ERIC is given as a result of their contract requirements with each State. Information typically includes data from not just the existing voter rolls but also from the Department of Motor Vehicles, Health and Human Services, Social Services data and more. Many express concern over the potential for private health data, social security information and more to be exposed due to these connections.
The Thomas Moore Society has challenged State Contracts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, in part because “TMS’s research has revealed that the contracts between ERIC and state agencies may violate federal law, including provisions of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), and the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). DPPA, as an example, does not allow private information in motor vehicle records to be shared with non-governmental entities, yet the ERIC contract requires it to be shared.
As America grapples with Election Integrity concerns, the priorities seem to be clear: Clean and maintain accurate and timely voter rolls; ensure that those who are legally qualified to vote are able to do so; ensure that the person voting is the person who is legally qualified and registered; and enable timely accurate, valid reporting of results.
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