An Open Letter from ERIC's Executive Director
With recent misinformation spreading about ERIC, I want to set the record straight on a few important points.
Ensuring the Efficiency and Integrity of America's Voter Rolls
Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC)
The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is a non-profit organization with the sole mission of assisting states to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens. ERIC is governed and managed by states who choose to join, and was formed in 2012 with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
View the ERIC Bylaws and Membership Agreement
The seven states that pioneered the formation of ERIC in 2012 are: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
The states were inspired to create ERIC due to the challenges in maintaining the accuracy of voter registration records. While most private industry, and many government agencies, have updated their systems to take advantage of modern technology, voter registration systems remain largely based on 19th century tools, such as handwriting on paper forms and postal mail. The inherent inefficiencies in the system result in unnecessarily high costs, and make it difficult to keep voter rolls clean throughout the country. For example, 1 in 8 voter registration records in America contain a serious error. In addition, more than 51 million citizens, or 25 percent, remain unregistered to vote.
As of November 2022 Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia is also a member. (32 states plus D.C.)
The states. The chief elections official from each member state designates a Member Representative to the ERIC Board of Directors. Each state's Member Representative serves as a voting member of the board.
Each member submits its voter registration and motor vehicle licensee data. The data includes names, addresses, date-of-birth, last four digits of the social security number. Private data such as date of birth and the last four digits of the Social Security number are protected using a cryptographic one-way hash and then transmitted to ERIC. An explanation of how the hashing process works, how it is used in the ERIC data matching process, and how privacy is protected is in the Technology and Security Overview.
Each member state receives reports that show voters who have moved within their state, voters who have moved out of state, voters who have died, duplicate registrations in the same state, and individuals who are potentially eligible to vote but are not yet registered. States may request a report identifying voters who appear to have voted twice within the state in the prior federal election, voted in more than one state in the prior federal election, or who voted on behalf of a deceased voter in the prior federal election.
The member states. New members pay a one-time joining fee of $25,000. These fees are generally held in reserve for large periodic expenses, for example IT upgrades. Each member state also pays annual dues, which are determined by a formula approved by the ERIC membership. The formula includes citizen voting age population as a factor. States with large populations pay more than states with smaller populations. Annual member dues for 2022-23 range from about $26,000 to about $116,000. ERIC’s annual budget for FY 2022-23 is approximately $1,538,000.
Yes. Efficient and effective data matching and cleaner voter rolls will result in such efficiencies as less returned mail, fewer provisional ballots on election day, shorter lines at polling places, etc. In addition, ERIC uses resources such as the Social Security death index and data from the US Post Office that states now buy on their own. ERIC states share these purchases when they pay their annual dues.