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Media Slander GOP States As ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ For Rejecting Voter Database That Compels Pro-Democrat Outreach

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After Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia announced last week that they would be withdrawing from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a leftist-controlled group that fuels partisan voter outreach under the guise of simple voter roll maintenance, Democrats and their allies in the corporate media have been quick to label such states’ concerns as conspiracy theories.

As previously reported by The Federalist, ERIC markets itself as a voter roll maintenance organization made up of over 30 states and the District of Columbia. It was started by partisan, left-wing activists under the guise of helping states clean their voter rolls, i.e., remove dead and duplicate registrants by comparing DMV and social security data across states. But according to good government group VerityVote, ERIC does more to inflate state voter rolls than clean them. Under the ERIC membership agreement, states are required to send voter registration mailers to unregistered but likely — and usually Democratic-leaning — voters.

Louisiana and Alabama were the first two states to suspend their participation in the program last year. Now, Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia have followed after ERIC failed to address their concerns and make proposed changes during a February board meeting.

Yet corporate media such as The New York Times and the Associated Press simply gloss over the concerns of the aforementioned states and castigate them as conspiracy theorists, with headlines such as “G.O.P. States Abandon Bipartisan Voting Integrity Group, Yielding to Conspiracy Theories” and “Election conspiracies fuel dispute over voter fraud system.” If the Republican secretaries of state involved — Cord Byrd, Jay Ashcroft, and Mac Warner — actually care about election integrity, both outlets rhetorically ask, why are they turning their noses up at THE system that ensures it?

“Their leaving directly harms the security and integrity of their own state voter rolls and their ability to keep them up to date and accurate,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told the AP. She’s currently being sued for refusing to remove nearly 26,000 dead people from her state’s voter rolls. Plus, a 2022 auditor general report found that Benson’s state failed to adequately clean its voter rolls. Michigan has been an ERIC member since 2019.

The AP story also quotes Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, who called member state criticism of ERIC “a tempest in a teacup.” Sterling, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, characterized documented instances of illegal voting as “everyday Georgians who are just trying to exercise their right to vote in a very weird year.”

But not every self-avowed ERIC fan is staying on message. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose — who described ERIC a month ago as “one of the best fraud-fighting tools that we have” — is now changing his tune. After news broke that Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia are cutting ties, LaRose sent a letter to ERIC’s board demanding it comply with his proposed reforms in its next meeting on March 17.

“I will not accept the status quo as an outcome of the next meeting,” LaRose wrote. “Anything short of the reforms mentioned above will result in action up to an[d] including our withdrawal from membership.”

LaRose’s proposed reforms include removing “ex-officio membership positions” from ERIC’s bylaws so as to cut left-wing activist David Becker from its board, as well as no longer requiring states to send out voter registration mailers to unregistered residents. Instead, LaRose wrote, states should be able to use ERIC’s data-sharing services “in the manner which they believe best serves their local interests.”

Alaska and Texas are two more member states considering withdrawing from ERIC. Alaska Division of Elections Director Carol Beecher told the Anchorage Daily News she’s considering withdrawing her state over the expensive membership fee.

“It’s expensive and we are a small state, so to the degree that it has a value monetarily based on our smaller population in the cleaning it does — are there ways that we could do it better ourselves?” Beecher asked.


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