Virginia on Thursday became the eighth GOP-led state to withdraw from a non-partisan voting-integrity partnership.
In the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), member states share voter registration and identification data with the aim of preventing any people registered in multiple states from voting in more than one.
However, the partnership has been undermined by unsubstantiated claims that it favors Democrats, and in March, Florida, Missouri and West Virginia announced that they were pulling out of the program, following prior moves to withdraw by Ohio, Iowa, Louisiana and Alabama.
There are now only seven Republican-led states among the 25 remaining in the compact, though Texas is scheduled to withdraw in October.
ERIC was first formed in 2012 at the Pew Charitable Trusts. The non-profit had until recently enjoyed bipartisan support in more than 30 states and Washington DC for its efforts to help keep voter rolls updated and free from opportunities for fraud. However, the program has been straining lately under misinformation from election deniers, who falsely claim ERIC is a left-wing apparatus that shares voter data with liberal groups.
Among those spreading unsubstantiated claims about ERIC is former President Trump, who asserted without evidence after his 2020 election defeat that ERIC is a “terrible Voter Registration System that ’pumps the rolls’ for Democrats and does nothing to clean them up.”
ERIC co-founder David Becker argued in March, “Why would people who purport to want more election integrity seek to damage the best tool out there?”
Virginia’s commissioner of elections, Susan Beals, wrote in a letter back in May that “uncertain costs resulting from the exit of ~20% of ERIC members” was one reason the state was withdrawing from the program.
ERIC’s executive director, Shane Hamlin, said Virginia’s withdrawal takes effect Thursday, adding, “We will continue our work on behalf of our remaining member states in improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increasing access to voter registration for all eligible citizens.”