Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Republican States Are Leaving ERIC

Get this. Republican states that constantly whine about (virtually nonexistent) voter fraud are leaving the main organization that combats voter fraud. This is ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center. ERIC is responsible for interstate coordination to prevent people from voting in more than one state. When someone moves from one state to another, they typically register to vote in the new state but usually forget to deregister in the old one. This leaves open the possibility of voting twice. ERIC helps the states cross check to make sure people are registered in only one state. It also helps purge dead people from the voter rolls since many people forget to deregister just before dying.

Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia have announced that they are pulling out of the group. Alabama and Louisiana pulled out last year. Still, over two dozen states, both red ones and blue ones, are still in it. Given how much Republicans claim that voter fraud is rampant, dropping out of the primary organization actively trying to prevent it seems a bit hypocritical.

Much of the problem is centered around one of ERIC's other tasks: encouraging EBUs to vote. What are EBUs, you might ask? These are Eligible But Unregistered voters. ERIC's bylaws state that members are expected to contact all the EBUs in their state every 2 years to ask them if they would like to register. To some extent, this activity could increase voter turnout and that is anathema to Republican politicians, even though studies have shown that the EBUs tend to break the same way as the registered voters. They are not all lazy Democrats, but the Republican secretaries of state in the above five states aren't taking any chances, so they want out.

Another issue is ERIC's board. It is made up of one senior official from each member state as well as a few ex officio members. Republicans want to eliminate the ex officio members because one of them, David Becker, has been a vocal defender of election security in 2020 and 2022 and has loudly said that there was virtually no election fraud either year. Since some of the secretaries of state are election deniers themselves, they don't want to hear this and want to get rid of Becker.

Interestingly enough, in 2019, Ron DeSantis pushed for Florida to join ERIC after former governor Rick Scott had opposed it. As late as last summer, DeSantis praised ERIC for helping to catch voter fraud. But now working with Democrats on anything, even catching voter fraud, is unacceptable to the base, so out goes Florida. All of the other secretaries of state were caught off guard by Florida's announcement that it is leaving.

It is possible that some of the Republican-controlled states may set up their own organization. This one might not only pursue illegal voting, but maybe legal voting as well. Who knows? (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates