Pennsylvania State Senators Consider Leaving ERIC

Other states have left the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) voter roll service, and now some Pennsylvania senators are thinking about leaving too. ERIC is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 that helps states clean up voter rolls. It bills itself as nonpartisan but is connected to the left-leaning Center for Election Innovation and Research, and when controversy bubbles up around ERIC, Democrats tend to support its use while Republicans tend to oppose it.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove ineligible people from voter rolls. When someone moves or dies, their name should be removed from the registered voters’ roll, so it can’t be used by someone else to vote fraudulently.

For years this task has been handled by county or state election officials, but now some states, including Pennsylvania, outsource much of the work of clearing voter rolls to ERIC.

To do its work, ERIC requires states to provide voter registration records. States must hand over all records of individuals who went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and other places where people can register to vote.

For example, in Pennsylvania, state offices that provide public assistance or services to people with disabilities, armed forces recruitment centers, area agencies on aging, county mental health/mental retardation offices, centers for independent living, and the county clerk of court.

People seeking these state services do not suspect that a third party will be given their private information, which could be used by political parties to build a targeted list of voters. One might guess that someone connected to the military would typically lean Republican etc. This can be valuable data for election strategists.

Voter Registration Requirement

ERIC and CEIR are closely connected, and “CEIR is creating lists of voters who should be targeted for voter registration efforts and laundering the lists back through ERIC for distribution to the states,” a report last year by Verity Vote noted.

ERIC recognizes voters who moved to another member state but didn’t change addresses in their former state. They are put on a list to be removed from the former state’s voter rolls.

In addition to this list, ERIC sends member states lists of eligible but unregistered (EBU) residents. States are contractually obligated to attempt to register EBUs to vote at least every 425 days. The ERIC agreement requires states to contact every person on the list and inform them how to register to vote.

ERIC is set up as a membership organization managed by state election officials from around the United States. Members include Washington, D.C. and the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

And these states were members of ERIC but have exited: Ohio, Iowa, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri, Louisiana, and Alabama. And Texas voted Tuesday to leave.

Membership in ERIC has not resulted in clean voter rolls in Pennsylvania, where a Judicial Watch lawsuit was settled this week. In it, Pennsylvania admitted in court filings that it removed 178,258 ineligible registrations in response to communications from Judicial Watch.

Presidential Citizens Medal

Accurate voter rolls and election integrity monopolized much of the conversation Wednesday during the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee hearing where Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt was questioned. Described as an opportunity for senators to get to know Schmidt before his confirmation hearing, senators spent much time asking him about ERIC.

Schmidt is a Republican, nominated, for the position that oversees elections, by Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Schmidt helped administer elections in Philadelphia for 10 years where, as a commissioner, he was vice chairman of the board of elections, including during the controversial 2020 presidential election.

In January, he received a Presidential Citizens Medal from President Joe Biden for refusing to be swayed by pressure from then-President Donald Trump regarding the election results.
On November 11, 2020, Trump posted on Twitter: “A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia Commissioner and so-called Republican (RINO), is being used big time by the Fake News Media to explain how honest things were with respect to the Election in Philadelphia. He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty. We win!”

Schmidt testified to the House January 6 Committee that the public threatened him because of that tweet.

In Wednesday’s hearing, Schmidt told state senators that Pennsylvania should use the data from ERIC if the state decides to remain a member.

“I would like to see the Department of State take a more active role in monitoring the activity of voter registration rolls to ensure that counties are doing with they are required by law to do, and I would welcome the ability to have a date-certain by which they have to fulfill their responsibilities,” Schmidt said in the hearing. There is no deadline for when counties must cull the list, so the task is often put on the back burner, he said.

Without ERIC, he said, states have no way of knowing when someone moves out of state and does not change their address. ERIC makes a comparison of names between member states.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Health sends a record to election officials whenever someone dies. Officials investigate to ensure the deceased is the same person as listed in their voter rolls. Counties make a note of it, but by law, they cannot remove that person for two presidential election cycles—that is, seven years. Changing this rule would improve voter roll accuracy, Schmidt said.

Divided Support for ERIC

Support for ERIC fell along party lines during the hearing.

“I think it is important for public awareness if they’re unable to follow some of these things or never heard of ERIC or don’t understand why states are leaving it, there is a large effort, a momentous effort, with some states leaving ERIC. Because of that, there are concerns that there’s a trend happening nationally, by election integrity experts, of moving away from a nonpartisan election administration.” Democratic Sen. Katie Muth said in the hearing. “I’m reading about the states leaving ERIC, or proposing to. They are all states who currently have a Republican governor. So I just wanted to state that for the record, in terms of the trends we’re seeing, as well as two Republican-controlled states that have proposed legislation that would prevent their states from becoming a member of ERIC, which is both North Carolina and Oklahoma. So as we head into the November election and the 2024 election, I think it’s just important for anyone who ever watches this year that they understand some of the dynamics behind what we’re discussing right now.”

Government Committee Chairman Sen. Cris Dush, a Republican, said he had serious questions he would like to have addressed by ERIC, then he turned to Schmidt.

“What assurances can you give the voters, and what commitments can you make to this committee, that either the problems with ERIC will be fixed or that the state will reassume its obligations to maintain voter rolls as it had done in the past and do so without sharing data with third parties while hiding these problems from the voters?”

Schmidt offered his support for ERIC.

“I am deeply committed to election integrity and see ERIC as a tool to improve election integrity,” Schmidt said. “Voter rolls in Pennsylvania are not as accurate as they could be because we do use all the information that we do receive from ERIC. Since 2020, over 130,000 records have been canceled, of voters, as a result of information we only receive from the Eric system. There is no other alternative, certainly at this time, to the ERIC system. Nor is there an ability for each individual state to recreate this system independently of every other.”

Original News Source Link

Running For Office? Conservative Campaign Consulting – Monthly Rates!