Top 1 Magazine

Top One Magazine

GOP states quit the program that fights voter fraud. Now they’re scrambling.

In a text message, a spokesperson for Raffensperger confirmed that his office is “trying to work out agreements with several non-ERIC states,” but said they had no further details to share. A spokesperson for the Virginia elections department told Virginia Public Media in May — shortly after the state announced its intention to pull out of ERIC — that it had “been participating in talks with other states for several months” on a potential double-voter program, but declined to answer further questions about the effort.

Interstate double voting — someone successfully or trying to cast a ballot in the same election in two different states — is widely believed by election officials to be rare. But it does happen. Election officials, and Republican politicians, have praised ERIC in the past as a key tool that has helped them catch cases.

In the interview, Grandjean stressed that the new effort she is trying to rally support for is “not meant to be something that’s comparative” to ERIC. It would be structured entirely differently, based on individual states signing data sharing agreements with one another, and not a more centralized database structure.

“There’s no bylaws, there’s no membership agreement,” she said. “It’s just sharing information with each other.”

But that also means that any arrangement will be much more limited in practice than ERIC. One of ERIC’s biggest values was serving as a central clearinghouse for states’ data that they used to update voter rolls, either by scrubbing out-of-date registrations or finding potentially eligible but unregistered voters. Those two things are much harder, if not impossible, to replicate with one-on-one agreements between states.

The future of ERIC also remains uncertain.

The states that left have denied that the attacks from conspiracy theorists had anything to do with the rush for the exits. Grandjean, who at one point chaired ERIC’s board, said she did not want to “relitigate” the fight but that it was “unfairly” portrayed in the media. Instead, most of the states that left said it was due to a fight over efforts to change the composition of ERIC’s board to remove a non-voting member and disagreements over what member states had to do with the data collected and distributed by the organization — something that many of the remaining states dismissed as a false pretense put forward to justify an exodus and score political points.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia are currently members of the organization — a number that includes Virginia, whose resignation is set to take effect next month. Efforts are underway in New York and California to potentially join the organization, but that number could further dwindle in the future as well.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed a law late last month that would allow the state to leave the program.

And Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams — a Republican who has also vocally defended ERIC — recently acknowledged his state is also looking at alternatives.

In a statement late last month, Adams said ERIC has been weakened because there are less participating states contributing data, increasing costs and decreasing utility to remaining states.

“While my administration will never cave to conspiracy theorists, it nevertheless is true that the value of ERIC to us going forward is a debatable question,” he said. “Kentucky is about to pay a lot more money to get a lot less information.”

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