By Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub
With all due respect to Jud Fry, the villain in the musical Oklahoma, for whom “Poor Jud
is Daid,” was sung, we note that another equally pernicious villain is on its deathbed: ERIC.
ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center) was created in 2012 to “help states improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls” and to “increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens.”
States pay (with taxpayer dollars) to become a member of ERIC.
States agree to indemnify ERIC so that a state can be sued, not ERIC. Taxpayer dollars
would have to defend the lawsuit.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a member of ERIC since 2019, in response to
communication by Judicial Watch, removed 178,258 ineligible voters from its rolls and paid $15,000 (with taxpayer dollars) toward legal fees. Judicial Watch Cleans Up PA Voter Rolls
Colorado removed 306,000 ineligible voters from its rolls and will report annually to Judicial Watch in response to a lawsuit instituted by Judicial Watch and settled. Judicial Watch Cleans Up Colorado Voting
The state of Colorado shared its Department of Motor Vehicle information to ERIC and, as a result, had mailed voter-registration postcards (with taxpayer dollars) to about 30,000 non-citizens.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation sued Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State, to remove 26,000 dead voters from Michigan’s voter rolls. Benson filed a motion to dismiss (with taxpayer dollars) and the case is still pending. All 26,663 on the voter rolls have been dead for at least five years; 17,479 of them have been dead at least 10 years, yet Benson continues to fight the lawsuit (with taxpayer dollars). Initial victory in lawsuit to remove nearly 26,000 deceased registrants from Michigan’s voter rolls.
“I’m committed to ERIC, I believe in it,” Benson said. “There have been a lot of attempts in the past to create what ERIC created effectively, and those attempts failed. Texas leaves
Electronic Registration Information Center, aka ERIC (nbcnews.com)”. Perhaps at her next press conference voters may ask Benson about the effectiveness of ERIC since its creation, which occurred two years before it signed its first member state.
To reiterate, ERIC was created to “help states improve the accuracy of the voter rolls.”
What happened to ERIC’s records of those 178,000 ineligible voters on Penn’s rolls, the 306,000 ineligible voters on Colorado’s rolls, and the 26,000 dead voters on Michigan’s rolls?
ERIC helped Michigan to bloat its voter rolls. New evidence: Politically compromised
ERIC bloats Michigan's voter rolls to crisis levels (mifairelections.org) As of Aug. 11, 2022, Michigan’s 8,149,948 registered voters topped 104% of its voting-age population (VAP) of 7,839,742. (2020 Federal Register). Michigan’s registered voters first exceeded its VAP in 2020, a year after Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joined Michigan in ERIC. Voter accuracy?
The data that ERIC receives from Michigan and other states is private data, which the
federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act prohibits from being revealed. ERIC Sacrifices Teens’
Privacy on the Altar of ‘Election Reform’ (mifairelections.org) Michael Morse from the
University of Penn Law School states that the use of the confidential data has left states in a bind because of this violation. More Withdrawals From Voter Data Group ERIC Likely - National Conference of State Legislatures (ncsl.org)
But many member states have awakened to the deleterious effects of ERIC on voter rolls and on privacy. Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, West Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia and
Texas (9) have withdrawn their membership. At its height, 33 states were members of ERIC. To date less than half the nation’s states (24) remain.
Louisiana had concerns about “questionable funding sources and that possibly partisan actors may have access to the ERIC network data for political purposes.” New evidence:
Missouri’s Sec. of State Jay Ashcroft told Government Technology that he and like-
minded states left after unsuccessfully seeking certain changes to the organization’s membership agreement and bylaws. “For over a year now, I’ve been working to try to move through the process of having changes made in the governing documents,” Ashcroft said. Breaking Up With ERIC: Why Are These 3 States Leaving? (govtech.com)
Alabama and Louisiana were the first to leave ERIC. Florida, West Virginia and Missouri
exited around the same time, sharing similar concerns. Breaking Up With ERIC: Why Are These 3 States Leaving? (govtech.com)
When Florida withdrew, Cord Byrd, Sec. of State said, “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.” West Virginia, Florida and Missouri announce WITHDRAWAL FROM ERIC (mifairelections.org)
LaRose, Sec. of State of Ohio, was concerned that claims about delivering election integrity have fallen short. As a public official he was concerned about partisanship as well as
the use of taxpayer dollars funding this partisanship. ERIC Flails. Ohio bails.
(mifairelections.org) He also was concerned about privacy and data-sharing services.
Four months ago, Texas joined other states and withdrew from ERIC. Texas leaves
In early 2023 Alabama withdrew from ERIC. “I have heard repeatedly as I travelled through the state for the last year and a half that people want us out of ERIC,” Wes Allen stated in a press release. “They don’t want their personal information or the personal information of their children to be sent to this out-of-state group. I promised I would end our participation and that is what I am taking these steps to do.” Alabama withdraws from ERIC (mifairelections.org)
Secretaries of State of each of these states have withdrawn because of ERIC’s poor performance in ensuring election integrity, because of the personal information of their citizens being sent to ERIC and other third parties, and because of purported partisanship and opaqueness.
With only 24 states participating in ERIC, how accurate can voter rolls across state lines be? Citizens, voters, and secretaries of state have awakened to ERIC’s evils and withdrawn. Yet, even as other states gather around ERIC’s deathbed and watch it gasp its last breath, Benson continues to expend taxpayer dollars on the failed ERIC system, and she continues to expend taxpayer dollars to fund her salary and her defense of lawsuits (which she has lost 6 times). One has to wonder, why is she still holding ERIC’s hand?
Awakened Michigan citizens have joined forces with MFE to help restore election integrity. Volunteers participate in many ways, each volunteer using his or her particular talents. Won’t you join us and participate in hammering the last nail in ERIC’s coffin and in singing, “Poor ERIC is Daid”?
Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub serves as MFE’s director of communications. She started her career working for an international company, transitioned into teaching French and Latin while her children were young, and then became a Michigan attorney.