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Update: Ohio resigns from ERIC – a partisan voter information database

As anticipated, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose gave notice of Ohio’s resignation from Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) in a letter dated March 17, 2023 to Shane Hamlin, Executive Director of ERIC after a three hour zoom meeting on March 15, 2023 failed to satisfy LaRose’s demands for reform.

The letter states in part: …”The action Ohio is taking today follows nearly a year of good faith, bipartisan efforts to reform ERIC’s oversight and services. Unfortunately, these attempts to save what could be an unparalleled election integrity service have fallen short. ERIC has chosen repeatedly to ignore demands to embrace reforms that would bolster confidence in its performance, encourage growth in its membership, and ensure not only its present stability but also its durability. Rather, you have chosen to double-down on poor strategic decisions, which have only resulted in the transformation of a previously bipartisan organization to one that appears to favor only the interests of one political party. I believe the current actions and inactions of ERIC will effectively set in motion its demise…

“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…”

Members of the coalition are required to submit voter registration rolls every 60 days. The withdrawal will take effect 91 days after the notice according to the organizations bylaws.

Iowa also resigns and others may follow

Iowa recently announced its resignation from the coalition, Alaska is evaluating its membership and Texas lawmakers have introduced legislation that would end Texas’s participation.

Critics call LaRose’s move a political one

Critics have called Ohio’s resignation from ERIC a political move on LaRose’s part to gain favor with Ohio’s Trump voter base.  LaRose is considering a run for the U.S Senate in 2024. Former President Donald Trump urged all Republican governors to withdraw from ERIC writing on Truth Social: “All Republican Governors should immediately pull out of ERIC, the terrible Voter Registration System that ‘pumps the rolls’ for Democrats and does nothing to clean them up. It is a fools game for Republicans….”

Trump’s statement came on the heels of an investigation into the ERIC system by Jim Hoft of the Gatway Pundit that began in January of 2022. Hoft often cites Wisconsin as an example of the flaws in the system:  The ERIC system records over 7 million registered voters in the state which in reality has less than 4 million eligible voters. Wisconsin state election leader Sarah Whitt had even been hired by ERIC “after performing such exemplary work in Wisconsin.”

Original article below

Will Ohio Join Several Red States in Withdrawing from ERIC – a Partisan Voter Information Database?

Secretary of State Frank LaRose has threatened to withdraw Ohio from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multi-state voter information database, unless needed reforms are agreed to at the March 17th board meeting. If not, Ohio would join Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Florida and West Virginia who have recently withdrawn or suspended their memberships. LaRose expects six additional states to exit the group if reforms are not made.

What is ERIC?

According to The Federalist, ERIC is a voter roll management organization used by nearly 30 states and the District of Columbia to ostensibly “clean” state voter rolls by removing dead or duplicate registrants. But as noted by government watchdog VerityVote, ERIC doesn’t help states clean their rolls. Rather, it helps inflate them by requiring states to send get-out-the-vote (GOTV) mailers to unregistered (and likely Democrat-leaning) residents.

Additionally, ERIC has politically compromised ties. Far-left political activist David Becker started the organization, and still maintains control as a “nonvoting” member of its board. Becker is also the founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, one of two groups that funneled $419 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to fund Democrat get-out-the-vote efforts in mostly blue counties of swing states during the 2020 election.

Concerns expressed by withdrawing states

Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Florida and West Virginia have already withdrawn or suspended their memberships in the group that was founded in 2012 citing one or more of the following reasons:

  • Required sharing of confidential voter data that is stored on unknown servers with unknown security in unknown locations,
  • Inclusion of a hyper-partisan individual as an ex-officio non-voting member on its governance board,
  • Refusal to require member states to address multi-state voter fraud,
  • Focus on adding names to voter rolls by requiring a solicitation to individuals who already had an opportunity to register to vote and made the conscious decision to not be registered,
  • Restrictions on how states may utilize data reports.

Agreed to reforms were stiffed by ex-officio lobbying campaign in February

In a letter to Executive Director of ERIC Shan Hamlin dated March 6, 2023, LaRose details how he convened a bipartisan working group of ERIC board members 8 months ago to address legitimate concerns expressed by dues-paying members, including membership requirements, operational and financial integrity, and bipartisan oversight. The working group’s previously unanimous recommendations were stifled at the February 19, 2023 meeting by an ex-officio board member’s aggressive lobbying campaign. Board members participating in that meeting later expressed dismay that the rushed and chaotic vote taken at the conclusion of the meeting did not comply with the rules of order and questioned the legitimacy of the vote. On March 6, 2023 Missouri, Florida and West Virginia jointly announced they were withdrawing from the group.

LaRose lays out top demands for March meeting

In the same letter, LaRose lays out his concerns and demands:

“From its inception, the organization has maintained questionable ties to ex-officio board members with highly partisan reputations. While most member states tolerated this association, the ongoing presence and influence of these polarizing figures has become a distraction, if not a deterrent, to long-overdue reforms to ERIC’s governing documents. As a result, several member states have already left the organization, and others are considering that step pending the outcome of another vote on the proposed reforms at ERIC’s March 17, 2023 meeting.

“I have been a hopeful advocate for the value of ERIC and a champion for the reforms I and others believe could save it, but the organization’s obstinance may be its demise. As I write this letter, at least six of my colleagues are considering a withdrawal from ERIC. The immediate action of the ERIC board at its March 17 meeting can potentially salvage their participation and ours, but ONLY if the proposed reforms win the approval the board. These include:

  1. Amending the bylaws to explicitly state that ERIC’s membership should only consist of member states, who answer to the voters and taxpayers they represent,
  2. Removing ex-officio membership positions from ERIC’s bylaws, and
  3. Permitting member states to utilize ERIC’s data-sharing services “a la carte,” in the manner which they believe best serves their local interests. For example, members should not be forced to meet specific requirements, such as Eligible but Unregistered voter mailings or cross-state fraud analysis, if they do not deem those actions necessary or relevant to the needs of their respective states.

“Other reforms are needed to improve ERIC’s reputation and accountability, but these fundamental changes must take place at the March 17 meeting to prevent any further erosion of support…I will not accept the status quo as an outcome of the next meeting. Anything short of the reforms mentioned above will result in action up to an including our withdrawal from membership. I implore you to do the right thing.”

Parting comments by withdrawing states

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, January 27, 2022When Louisiana joined ERIC under my predecessor, we did so under the impression that it would enhance the accuracy of our voter rolls and strengthen Louisiana’s election integrity. After reading about these allegations (questionable funding sources and that possibly partisan actors may have access to ERIC network data for political purposes) and speaking with election attorneys and experts, I have determined that it may no longer be in Louisiana’s best interests to participate in this organization. It is vital that any legitimate allegation of voter fraud or possible misuse of our voters’ personal information is investigated. My job is to ensure that the data voters entrust to my office is protected. I look forward to ERIC’s swift response to these allegations.”

Alabama Secretary of State, Wes Allen, February 15, 2023Before I took office, Alabama transmitted the personal information of millions of our citizens to this private organization for the past several years. That information is stored on a server somewhere but we do not know where. There is no ERIC operation at the location they claim is their office. A lot of personal data and taxpayer money has been transferred to ERIC. Where is that data? Where are the employees? Where are the offices? Where are the computers?”

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, March 6, 2023We have worked hard over the last several years to implement procedures that will make Missouri elections better, voter rolls more accurate, and bring greater trust to the election process. Voter confidence is compromised when individuals vote in more than one state and nothing is done.  It appears that ERIC will not make the necessary changes to address these concerns, therefore, it is time to move on.”

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, March 6, 2023There is no defensible justification to allow any opportunity for partisanship in voter registration and list maintenance, much less in the administration of our nation’s elections. It truly is a shame that an organization founded on the principle of nonpartisanship would allow the opportunity for partisanship to stray the organization from the equally important principle of upholding the public’s confidence.”

Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, March 6, 2023As Secretary of State, I have an obligation to protect the personal information of Florida’s citizens, which the ERIC agreement requires us to share. Florida has tried to back reforms to increase protections, but these protections were refused. Therefore, we have lost confidence in ERIC.”

One has to wonder why LaRose hasn’t already withdrawn Ohio from ERIC. Is he not concerned with protecting the personal information of his constituents? Is he not interested in enhancing voter confidence in the election process? Does he naively believe that these reforms would be carried out in a timely manner even if agreed to at the March meeting?

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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