Voter registration rolls are the official record of all eligible voters in a state and are the foundation of free, fair and accurate elections. However, maintaining and updating voter rolls can be costly and inefficient.

The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is a non-profit, member-led organization established in 2012 to assist states in ensuring voter rolls are accurate and voting processes are accessible. Seven states—Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia and Washington—started the center with the help of The Pew Charitable Trusts. ERIC allows states to use state-of-the-art data matching technology with robust, widely accepted information security standards to identify inaccurate and outdated voter registration information.

Which states are part of ERIC, and why?

Since 2012, 25 states and Washington, D.C. have joined the seven founding states, bringing the total number of participants to 33.

The current members: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin.

As part of their membership, participants agree to share voter registration and motor vehicle licensee data with one another. By sharing this data, states are able to determine if voters have moved out of state, have duplicate registrations in the state or have died. States can then update their voter rolls accordingly. In the case of a voter moving out of state, the pre-existing system requires that a voter notify the state that they have moved, or alternatively requires the state to follow the process outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Husted v. A Philip Randolph Institute (138 S.Ct. 1833, 2018). In this case, the court confirmed Ohio’s procedure of removing a voter from its rolls after (1) a failure to vote for two years, (2) a failure to return a notice card, and (3) a failure to vote for four additional years was sufficiently rigorous under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and its amended versions The goal is to collaboratively develop more efficient and effective mechanisms for collection and recording voter data.

What are the benefits of ERIC?

ERIC provides reports that can help states identify unregistered voters, save money and help detect and respond to voter fraud. Between 2012-2017, ERIC used the data collected and shared to identify 26 million eligible voters who had not yet registered. Member states were required to mail election information to these potential voters. The response rate was estimated to be 10-20%, according to The New York Times. In that same timeframe, ERIC identified more than 8.4 million inaccurate individual voter registrations.  

As a part of membership in ERIC, states are required to act on all reports in accordance with federal law. ERIC utilizes resources such as the Social Security Death Index and data from the United States Postal Service that non-member states must buy on their own. Moreover, ERIC membership results in less returned mail and a reduction in the number of provisional ballots on election day, which means shorter waits at polling places. Provisional ballots are often issued as a failsafe when a voter arrives at a polling location and is not on the precinct’s voter rolls. After the location closes, the polling location will work to establish the voter’s eligibility to vote at that location. States who are members of ERIC are able to more readily identify instances in which a voter has moved and thus has multiple voter registration records. This also allows states to easily notify voters that their voting precinct has changed, ensuring they are showing up to vote at the correct location.

Finally, member states may request a report identifying voters who appear to have voted twice within the state in the prior federal election, voted in more than one state in the prior federal election or who voted on behalf of a deceased voter in the prior federal election.

ERIC is a state member-led organization that is focused on improving voter list maintenance and helping states conduct free, fair and accurate elections. Their work helps ensure elections are conducted efficiently while also identifying voter fraud.

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