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Controversy Over FL and Some Other States Dropping ERIC Voter Information System

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By George Miller, 3-7-23

Florida, Missouri and West Virginia have withdrawn from The Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, with more states possibly following. ERIC proponents describe it as “a multi-state partnership that experts across the political spectrum say is the only reliable, secure way for states to share voter registration data with each other.” They claim that opposition arguments against it are “far right-wing conspiracy theories.”

But proponents of withdrawal from ERIC say it is fatally flawed, citing “partisan tendencies, lack of voter privacy, security, transparency and governance.” Some states seem to agree, withdrawing from ERIC or planning to do so. Florida only signed up in 2019, but just threw in the towel after learning what it is and how it works. The state says that this was only done after determining that ERIC wouldn’t adequately respond to their complaints about its weaknesses.

Florida Withdraws from ERIC:

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 6, 2023

MyFlorida.com

PRESS RELEASE: Florida Withdraws From Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) Amid Concerns About Data Privacy and Blatant Partisanship

TALLAHASSEE, FLA –

Today, Secretary of State Cord Byrd notified the Electronic Registration Information Center, Inc. (ERIC), that Florida is terminating its ERIC Membership. Today’s announcement follows efforts led by Florida over the past year to reform ERIC through attempts to secure data and eliminate ERIC’s partisan tendencies, all of which were rejected. Withdrawing from ERIC will ensure the data privacy of Florida voters is protected. Florida is joined in withdrawing from ERIC Membership today by the states of Missouri and West Virginia.

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

In 2022, a working group of ERIC member states was formed and proposed necessary changes to the ERIC Membership agreement. These reforms would have eliminated concerns about ERIC’s potential partisan leanings, and made the information shared with ERIC more secure. 

Specifically, Florida backed the working group’s proposals including increased protections for confidential voter information and limiting the power of ex-officio partisan members of the ERIC board. These ex-officio partisan members are not representatives of specific states and have undue influence over the organization and its decisions.

However, given the unwillingness of ERIC to address these significant issues of electoral  integrity, it is in the best interest of Florida, its citizens, and its voters to withdraw its membership from ERIC.


Nassau County Elections Div. Weighs In

We requested and received a statement on this from Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Janet Adkins: “At all times, voter data and privacy must remain a top priority. It is unfortunate that ERIC was unwilling to address Florida’s concerns with the membership agreement.” She hadn’t responded to our inquiry for more specificity by publication time.

During an excellent, comprehensive walkthrough of the County Election system conducted by the department in 2021, the author of this article and a half dozen other interested attendees brought up concerns about ERIC. At that time, the County did not express an awareness of these problems, but seemed to agree with the state’s action when contacted this week.

More Details

The vast majority of searchable MSM establishment and left wing fringe news and commentary outlets immediately criticized the move, attributing it to a “far right misinformation campaign,” most using remarkably similar phraseology.

Some articles with different conclusions are also available, such as :

** ERIC Part 1: Who’s “Cleaning” Our Voter Rolls? ERIC Now in 31 States
** ERIC Part 2: Largest U.S. Counties Removed ZERO to TWO Ineligible Voters
** ERIC Part 3: The Founding of the Nation’s Largest Voter Roll Clean-up Operation
** ERIC Part 4: A Response to the Panicked Media Attacks

There has been much ado about a mostly nationwide failure to purge voter rolls of invalid registrations, due to voters moving, duplicates, dead voters not purged from rolls and ineligible voters. Outfits like True the Vote and Election Integrity Project (CA, AZ, NV) have made some significant progress, but have a long way to go. NGO’s with broader agendas such as County Citizens Defending Freedom (CCDF-USA) are also involved in election integrity issues. CCDF was one of the loudest voices advocating Florida’s withdrawal.

ERIC was formed and supported by left-wing allied organizations, ostensibly to provide states with the ability to identify duplicate registrations across state lines and other registration anomalies and opportunities.

——

Local Citizen and civic group CCDF (County Citizens Defending Freedom) managing Director Jack Knocke was ecstatic about the state withdrawing, saying it was one of CCDF’s top priorities in the elections area, citing ERICs lack of transparency and “partisan tendencies.”

One of its local election team members, Roy Postel, responded to our query about it. He felt that FL Secretary of State Cord Byrd, who hails from our NE FL region, performed us a great service by dropping ERIC, which he says is tilted toward the Democrat Party in the way that it operates. Postel is happy that not only will Florida not fill ERIC’s coffers with cash anymore, but it will also cut off the data feed to them on Florida residents/voters.

Postel provided Citizens Journal Florida (CJF) the following links to support his points:

First, is the story with the Cord Byrd statement. It’s an affiliate in Miami of NPR.

3 more Republican states announce they’re leaving a key voting data partnership | WLRN

Second, the story on the empty office was in Gateway Pundit. And as you can see the Alabama SOS posted the findings on the State’s website: Yikes ….

ERIC Empty: Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen Visits ERIC Headquarters in Washington DC – But Nobody was There, There Were No Servers, There Were No Computers, There Were No Employees | The Gateway Pundit

Third, this ET story is from January and provides framing of larger issues in Alabama

Alabama Withdraws From Voter Registration Data-Sharing Group (theepochtimes.com)

——

To help illustrate how hard it is to get election organizations to act….

Election Integrity Project California teamed up with Judicial Watch in 2017 to help put pressure on cleaning up voter rolls. The author of this article was involved in helping to set up the arrangement. They obtained voter rolls and other info enabling them to identify a large number of potentially invalid voter records. They secured an agreement with Los Angles County to delete 1.25 million records, but the county managed to delay deletion for two more critical elections. As far as we know, ERIC wasn’t a factor in identifying these records. There are many more deletions needed all over California and still in LA County.

——–

MORE

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-florida-withdraws-from-eric-20230306-foml2ybpbzf7bawe2itzx3khva-story.html

https://www.citizensjournal.net/%e2%98%95%ef%b8%8f-four-dying-narratives-%e2%98%99-tuesday-march-7-2023-%e2%98%99-cc-news-%f0%9f%a6%a0/ (see “Collapsing Narratives” section)


George Miller is Publisher and Co-Founder of Citizens Journal Florida, based in Fernandina Beach. He is a “retired” operations management consultant, software and publishing executive and manufacturing management professional.

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