TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Monday, Secretary of State Cord Byrd said that Florida would withdraw from involvement in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) – a multistate effort that began in Washington, D.C., in 2012. The organization exchanged voter registration data to flag those ineligible to vote.
Byrd said in a statement that the decision was made because ERIC rejected proposals by a working group to eliminate “potential partisan leanings.” According to Byrd, the working group sought to increase protections of confidential voter information while limiting the power of non-official members of the ERIC board who “are not representatives of specific states and have undue influence over the organization and its decisions.”
Florida “tried to back reforms to increase protections, but these protections were refused. Therefore, we have lost confidence in ERIC,” Byrd said.
Florida is not the only state leaving the nonprofit. Missouri and West Virginia also recently announced they would leave the group, which receives funding through dues paid by member states’ election officials.
Governor DeSantis announced in April 2019 that Florida would join the initiative, a move many county supervisors of elections requested to help them ensure voter integrity. Data from ERIC was intended to help elections officials by matching identified voters registered to vote in more than one state, those who moved from one state to another, and those who’ve died.
Last Thursday, ERIC’s Executive Director Shane Hamlin posted an open letter responding to “misinformation spreading” about the organization.
“ERIC is never connected to any state’s voter registration system,” Hamlin wrote. “Members retain complete control over their voter rolls, and they use the reports we provide in ways that comply with federal and state laws.”