On Tuesday, the Texas House of Representatives voted to withdraw the state from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a nonprofit organization aimed at identifying duplicate voter registrations and facilitating the cleansing of voter rolls.
The decision comes amid growing concerns among conservatives about ERIC’s perceived liberal ties and the lack of transparency surrounding its operations.
Senate Bill 1070, which proposed Texas’ withdrawal from ERIC, passed the House with a vote of 85-61. However, before becoming law, the bill must return to the Texas Senate for concurrence on an amendment that adds requirements to adhere to federal and state privacy guidelines in case an alternative system is contracted by the state. It must also be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Texas joins eight other states that have already withdrawn from ERIC: Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri, Louisiana, and Alabama. The withdrawals highlight a growing trend of conservative-leaning states expressing skepticism and distrust toward the organization.
One concern voiced by conservatives is ERIC’s perceived liberal roots and alleged lack of neutrality. The organization’s initial funding was provided by the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts, which receives funding from philanthropist George Soros. Although ERIC asserts that the funds from Soros were separate from its financing and were not directed toward the organization, conservatives remain skeptical, because funding is fungible — funds for one project allow other funds to be used for another project. The fact that ERIC allows non-voting board members, who appear to be affiliated with left-leaning entities, has raised concerns about potential partisanship within the organization.
ERIC has also faced criticism over its handling of sensitive voter information. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, during the process of withdrawing his state from ERIC, expressed concerns about the organization’s lack of accountability and misinformation campaigns.
“I cannot justify the use of Ohio’s tax dollars for an organization that seems intent on rejecting meaningful accountability, publicly maligning my motives, and waging a relentless campaign of misinformation about this effort,” LaRose wrote in March.
Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd cited the need to protect citizens’ personal information as the reason behind Florida’s loss of confidence in ERIC.
“As Secretary of State, I have an obligation to protect the personal information of Florida’s citizens, which the ERIC agreement requires us to share,” Byrd said in March. “Florida has tried to back reforms to increase protections, but these protections were refused. Therefore, we have lost confidence in ERIC.”
Another issue that has added to ERIC’s declining membership is the lack of trust among conservatives regarding the organization’s objectives.
ERIC’s main function involves comparing voter registration data from member states and cross-referencing it with other information to identify outdated registrations due to factors such as death, relocation, or duplicate registrations.
However, the loss of 25% of its membership within a year raises questions about the future viability of ERIC, and its actual effectiveness. Losing Texas and Florida and their tens of millions of voter data, is a significant blow to the organization.
Come on Dunleavy grow a pair and get rid of this information machine selling private data.
Suzanne, thanks for covering this issue. I hope Dunleavy and Dahlstrom can take a hint.
Hey Big Mike. Step up to the plate and get the process rolling to pull Alaska out of this program! We demand personal privacy and a clean voter registration list (you know, no dead guys voting).
We need 100% conservative leadership for these kinds of entities. Allowing a single democrat into the roles of power steers us immediately into divisive partisan waters. To remain Republican is to remain neutral and sane.