ERIC’s procedures and governing rules must be changed if the organization is to continue as a viable operation providing the one type of information that states cannot obtain on their own, the names of individuals who are registered in multiple states.
(Alexandria, VA) – April 19, 2023: Today, J. Christian Adams, the President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), and The Heritage Foundation released a report detailing the major reforms the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) must implement to provide more accurate information to member states, attract the participation of additional states, and prevent partisanship.
ERIC is currently the only program in the country where states share their statewide voter registration lists in order to find individuals who are registered and potentially voting in multiple states. The organization also provides states with reports on deceased registrants on their voter rolls.
ERIC has been in the news recently, following the withdrawal of Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, and West Virginia. To correct the problems that have led states to terminate their membership in ERIC, both ERIC’s bylaws and its membership agreement need to be changed. The following actions should be taken by ERIC’s governing board:
- Increased Transparency: The bylaws should be amended to require annual public disclosure of all individuals and organizations outside of ERIC that are provided with any of the data received from member states. Additionally, ERIC should provide a complete listing of all databases used in preparing its analysis.
- Remove Restrictions on State’s Use of ERIC Data: The membership agreement restriction on using ERIC data only for the “administration of elections” should be permanently and clearly removed. Information provided by ERIC that shows, for example, that an individual is deceased or registered to vote in a new state should be used to inform prior registrations.
- Make Voter Registration Efforts Voluntary: ERIC’s membership agreement forces states to send out notices every 425 days to at least 95 percent of the individuals in a state who are potentially eligible to vote, but who have not registered “inform[ing] them how to register to vote.”
- Increase Efforts to Expose Fraud and Unlawful Voting: Under the current membership agreement, ERIC will only provide states “with data identifying voters who appear to have cast improper votes in a preceding election” only upon written request. This data should automatically be included with the other data ERIC provides to member states.
- Ensuring Nonpartisanship in ERIC’s Operations: The bylaws should be amended to require that all ERIC’s Executive Committee and other standing committees be bipartisan, with an equal number of members of the two major political parties, to ensure that the interests of both parties are represented in the conduct of ERIC’s operations.
- Obtain Missing Voter Registration and Voter History Information: ERIC currently does not receive information on registered voters who may have moved to non-member states. Therefore, ERIC is unable to provide member states with all the information they need to clean up their voter rolls and prevent and detect fraud. This issue can be remedied by requiring ERIC to purchase this data from non-member states.
“ERIC should reform to be more effective and help our elections be more secure,” said PILF President, J. Christian Adams. “ERIC is currently the only viable system that allows states to know who is registered to vote in multiple states. A replacement to ERIC doesn’t exist and will take time and money to develop. Most of all, it needs to be trusted by both blue and red state officials.”
The Public Interest Legal Foundation has four active lawsuits in Louisiana, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Alaska to obtain ERIC voter list maintenance reports. These states are adhering to the ERIC agreement that prohibits the disclosure of public information.
Read the full report here.
Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections. PILF has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.
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