Virginia Exits ERIC and the Left Loses Again

by | May 12, 2023 | Election Integrity

It’s the end of days for the nonpartisan, totally neutral, no-axe-to-grind activists at the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

On March 11, Virginia Election Commissioner Susan Beals announced she was withdrawing the commonwealth from the ERIC data compact, the eighth state to do so since 2022. It’s part of a red state exodus that to date includes Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, and Iowa. Each cited the same concerns with safeguarding residents’ private information and judged it necessary to end involvement in the compact.

In her letter to ERIC director Shane Hamlin (archived here), Beals wrote that “ERIC’s mandate has expanded beyond its initial intent—to improve the accuracy of voter rolls.” She cited her reasons for withdrawing:

  • Increasing and uncertain costs resulting from the exit of ~20% of ERIC members;
  • Incomplete participation of Virginia’s bordering states and jurisdictions that compel independent data sharing relationships with non-ERIC members;
  • Increasing concerns regarding stewardship, maintenance, privacy, and confidentiality of voter information;
  • Controversy surrounding the historical sharing of data with outside organizations leveraged for political purposes;
  • Inability to implement meaningful reform to the onerous and inconsistent enforcement of membership requirements in light of recent exits;
  • Momentum around the creation of viable alternatives to inter-state data sharing compacts; and
  • Virginia’s ability to replicate favorable ERIC functionality internally and develop true autonomy for all list maintenance and data sharing practices.

Virginia’s departure is a major blow to ERIC’s allies on the Left because it helped establish the compact in 2012 and is the most “purple” state to leave. With the Old Dominion gone, Democrats will find it harder to identify and register new left-wing voters in this swing state—the very reason ERIC was created in the first place.

As Breitbart News reported, ERIC forced Virginia to send taxpayer-funded voter registration applications “to about a million people in 2020 to try to really bump up the number of people who are registered to vote.” At least one ended up going to a dead individual.

State Sen. Amanda Chase (R), an ERIC opponent who’s sponsored multiple election integrity bills, told Restoration News:

Virginia leaving the Soros-funded ERIC is a huge win and victory for Virginia.  ERIC is a national system that Deep State officials say is an important tool to keep voting rolls clean. Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, it would be used for insidious and nefarious purposes, an abuse of power in controlling our elections. 

She added that the General Assembly must also “pass my Voter Confidence Restoration Act which returns elections to paper ballots, hand counts, no voting computers, no tabulators, photo identification to vote, and an Election Day and notary signature requirement for any mail in ballots.”

It’s worth pointing out ERIC supporters’ claim that exiting the compact will make it harder for states to share voter data when people move across state lines. In fact, each of the 8 states to leave are setting up their own state-run programs to share this data with one another—no need for a (partisan) middleman.

That won’t stop leftists from blasting “fringe conservative media reports and conspiracy theories” and lying that “ERIC is the only way states currently have to share election data.”

As our report (The Best Data Money Can’t Buy) reveals, states already have the tools needed to determine how and when to remove ineligible individuals from their voter rolls, and to set up interstate agreements when necessary.

What they don’t need is ERIC’s mandate to expand the rolls by registering new voters—or the involvement of the biased Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), which has unprecedented access to data on tens of millions of eligible-but-unregistered individuals (EBUs).

So who’s next to leave ERIC? Texas and Alaska are considering legislation to terminate their membership. Grassroots groups are putting pressure on Georgia’s incorrigible secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, ERIC’s favorite pal on the Right. That leaves South Carolina, Kentucky, and Utah.

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