Pennsylvania State Senators Consider Leaving ERIC

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Other states have left the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) voter roll service, and now some Pennsylvania senators are thinking about leaving too. ERIC is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 that helps states clean up voter rolls. It bills itself as nonpartisan but is connected to the left-leaning Center for Election Innovation and Research, and when controversy bubbles up around ERIC, Democrats tend to support its use while Republicans tend to oppose it.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove ineligible people from voter rolls. When someone moves or dies, their name should be removed from the registered voters’ roll, so it can’t be used by someone else to vote fraudulently.

For years this task has been handled by county or state election officials, but now some states, including Pennsylvania, outsource much of the work of clearing voter rolls to ERIC.

To do its work, ERIC requires states to provide voter registration records. States must hand over all records of individuals who went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and other places where people can register to vote.

For example, in Pennsylvania, state offices that provide public assistance or services to people with disabilities, armed forces recruitment centers, area agencies on aging, county mental health/mental retardation offices, centers for independent living, and the county clerk of court.

People seeking these state services do not suspect that a third party will be given their private information, which could be used by political parties to build a targeted list of voters. One might guess that someone connected to the military would typically lean Republican etc. This can be valuable data for election strategists.

Voter Registration Requirement

ERIC and CEIR are closely connected, and “CEIR is creating lists of voters who should be targeted for voter registration efforts and laundering the lists back through ERIC for distribution to the states,” a report last year by Verity Vote noted.

By Beth Brelje

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