States abandon access to shared voter registration data
Since 2012, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) has helped participating states maintain accurate voter rolls by comparing their voter registration and motor vehicle department data for irregularities.
ERIC’s data matching software can identify data that impacts election offices, including when a resident has moved, died or even committed voter fraud such as intentionally casting a ballot in more than one state, according to the organization’s website.
“Maintaining voter rolls is a labor intensive and costly process,” Matt Germer, a resident elections fellow for the Governance Program at think tank R Street Institute, said in an email. “ERIC helps to flag potential out-of-date voter registrations, allowing election administrators to use their funding more efficiently.”
But some states have recently announced their departure from ERIC, citing partisan efforts to control election outcomes and threats to election integrity…
However, it remains unclear how those states will maintain accurate voter rolls on their own.
“The problem for the states leaving ERIC [comes] from a lack of data. As Florida leaves ERIC, for example, it will no longer have access to the voter registration data from neighboring states, such as Georgia, nor from states that are experiencing migration from Florida,” Germer said. “Without ERIC, Florida will continue to keep these voters on the voter rolls until they eventually become inactive and fall off, which may take years.”
Leaving ERIC doesn’t just hurt the exiting state, Germer said. “The remaining members of ERIC will no longer have access to Florida’s voter registration data, impacting the accuracy of the voter rolls of dozens of other states,” he added…
Even if the few departing states created an alternate organization to ERIC, “the value of a shared database comes with wide participation,” Germer said. “Individual states can and should maintain their voter rolls using internal information—such as cross-referencing with death records or checking with agencies like the DMV—but by themselves they may struggle to know when residents move to another state.”
“There may be tech solutions available, but the tech is useless without data, including interstate data that can only be obtained through an organization like ERIC,” he said.