Secretary of State LaRose Says Ohio May Drop Out of Voter Registration Initiative

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose alerted the chairman and board of a national bipartisan voter registration initiative that the state may withdraw, as three Republican-led states announced Monday.

Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia announced on Monday that they will no longer participate in the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which election officials created to enable states to share voter registration information.

LaRose said several states had voiced concerns about ERIC during a press conference he held last month to announce his support for a Republican Senate bill he claimed would increase transparency and reporting of election data. But he also said that Ohio has benefited from the program.

“There have been some conversations just recently about the future of that organization. My team has been actively involved in that. I know that there are concerns that some secretaries have and like any human endeavor, there are imperfections to that organization.” LaRose said.

“And some of the people involved, I think, have caused concern for others,” he added. “But I can tell you that it is one of the best fraud-fighting tools that we have when it comes to actually catching people that try to vote in multiple states, when it comes to maintaining the accuracy of our voter rolls by removing those that move out of state. That’s a thing that ERIC helps provide. And so to me, it’s a tool that has provided great benefit for us and we’re going to continue to use it.”

But in a letter sent on Monday to the board and executive director of ERIC, LaRose listed a few modifications that he insisted would need to be accepted at the board’s meeting on March 17th:

  • “Amending the bylaws to explicitly state that ERIC’s membership should only consist of member states, who answer to the voters and taxpayers they represent,
  • Removing ex-officio membership positions from ERIC’s bylaws, and
  • Permitting member states to utilize ERIC’s data-sharing services “a la carte,” in the manner which they believe best serves their local interests. For example, members should not be forced to meet specific requirements, such as Eligible but Unregistered voter mailings or cross-state fraud analysis, if they do not deem those actions necessary or relevant to the needs of their respective states.”

LaRose didn’t specify which ERIC board members ought to be dismissed.

Former President Donald Trump also weighed in Monday on his social media platform, calling on all Republican-led states to “immediately pull out of ERIC, the terrible Voter Registration System that ‘pumps the rolls’ for Democrats and does nothing to clean them up.”

Spokesman for LaRose Rob Nichols told The Ohio Star that LaRose sent the letter to the ERIC board and executive director before the other three states said they were pulling out of the initiative.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Frank LaRose” by Frank LaRose. Background Photo “Election Day” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.


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