EDITOR’S NOTE: Recently, in an effort to increase public trust in their statewide elections and to protect the privacy of its voters, many states have abandoned ERIC … but the state of Rhode Island continues to spend taxpayer dollars to subscribe to this service, which recently has been exposed for its partisanship. Why? What is ERIC?
By Sara Vieira and Angela Cooke, principles at RI Fair Elections and Education
ERIC is the Electronic Registration Center (ERIC) which is a non-profit organization with the sole mission of assisting states to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens. ERIC’s main selling point to states is voter roll maintenance, and identifying voters who move out of state or die to prevent unlawful voting. But it also requires member states to identify and register eligible-but-unregistered voters- effectively making ERIC the nation’s most influential voter registration machine. ERIC is governed and managed by states who choose to join and was formed in 2012 with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
There were 32 states and Washington, DC that were involved with the ERIC system and now that number has decreased to 27. Just this week Florida, Missouri and West Virginia pulled out of their contracts with ERIC citing “concerns with data privacy and partisanship”. The Alabama Secretary of State , Wes Allen, went to DC for a trip and decided to visit the ERIC offices. The only problem was that there was nobody inside the office. No computers. No phones. It was empty. Just a shell of an office was there. He already withdrew Alabama from participating in ERIC but he is demanding answers . Rhode Island is one of the 27 states that still uses the ERIC system to help clean up voter rolls .
Most disturbing is the practice of sharing voter registration data acquired through agreements with left leaning organizations, such as Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), infamous for distributing $70 million from Zuckerbucks in 2020 . Documents from a recent lawsuit show that states furnish ERIC with voters’ names, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, last four Social Security digits, citizenship statuses and phone numbers (credit Thomas More Society).
Groups like ERIC represent the transition from private to government funded registration campaigns. But this is only the beginning! The left is gunning for automatic (same day) voter registration which would make “citizen” mean the same as “registered voter”. Does this sound familiar with some of the legislation that the Left in Rhode Island think is a great idea for fair elections?
In order for states to sign up with ERIC, a contract fee of $25,000 is paid. The taxpayers of Rhode Island are paying for this service . Is this service working? Are Rhode Island voter rolls free and clear and maintaine d without error? Are we getting what we are paying for ? Based upon this article from Judicial Watch called “New Judicial Watch Study Finds 353 U.S. Counties in 29 States with Voter Registration Rates Exceeding 100%” from October 16,2020, Rhode Island has statewide registration rates which exceed 10 1%! According to this article using data published from Rhode Island , Bristol County was listed as 104%, Washington County was listed as 103% and Providence County was listed as 101%.
Voters need to question these practices by our Rhode Island Secretary of State. Why do the Left support ERIC when it is not working, the way it was presented? Why are the Left insistent on keeping a system that does not work?