Ohio May Join Other States in Pulling Out of ERIC

Mar 6, 2023 | ERIC, Ohio | 0 comments

Monday– Secretary LaRose sent a letter to Shane Hamlin, the Executive Director at ERIC (Election Registration Information Center) threatening to pull out of Ohio’s membership.

Earlier today, three states pulled out. It started with West Virginia’s Secretary Mack Warner’s announcement and was followed by Missouri and Florida

In his letter, Secretary LaRose mentions that at least “at least six of my colleagues are considering a withdrawal from ERIC.”

LaRose’s letter addresses concerns of ERIC’s ties to “ex-officio board members with highly partisan reputations.” He also states that eight months ago, Ohio convened a bi-partisan working group of ERIC members to “address legitimate concerns… including membership requirements, operational and financial integrity, and bipartisan oversight.” He goes on to address the fact that the working groups recommendations were “stifled at the February 19, 2023 meeting.” You can read the letter below.

Ohio Precinct Strategy has always had serious concerns about ERIC. We are happy to see Secretary LaRose addressing some of our concerns, but there are more things to consider.

First of all, ERIC seems to function in obscurity. As American citizens, we have a right to know what is going on with every aspect of our voting process and to be able to trust our voting system. The best way to earn trust is by conducting the process in a fully transparent way. This can be done while protecting personal information. ERIC takes us away from transparency and into obscurity. Legal election expert Christian Adams takes it a step further and asserts that ERIC violates federal law. In Care About Election Integrity? Let Me Introduce You to ERIC, Adams says,

ERIC’s secrecy violates federal law. Under the National Voter Registration Act, anyone has a right to publicly inspect records related to voter roll maintenance. Courts have uniformly upheld these public inspection rights in case after case, most of which I have been involved in as an attorney.

Adams goes on to describe something even worse with the secrecy,

One former state election official from an ERIC state told me he was “always concerned something shady was going on at ERIC,” but even ERIC members can’t see behind the curtains. Another statewide election official who served on ERIC’s board has been trying to get answers for years about ERIC’s internals without success.

This type of resistance to transparency has no place in a Country that’s very Republic depends on free and fair elections. If elected officials–who are members of ERIC–can’t even get honest answers, why should any of us trust them with such an integral part of our Republic as our vote? This alone should disqualify ERIC, and anyone involved with condoning or ignoring this obscurity from functioning in any capacity related to our election system again.

But transparency is not the only concern–effectiveness is also an issue. Michigan, a member of ERIC, has a court case pending over 25,000 deceased people voting. In Pennsylvania, also a member of ERIC, a man was charged with voting as his dead mother. The Public Interest Legal Foundation had to sue Pennsylvania in order to get them to remove 20,000 deceased voters (they won). While identifying voters that should be removed from the roles is a function of ERIC, they do not insist that their members actually clean them up. Due to the vast obscurity in voter roles, we have no idea how common this is.

ERIC is a broad subject. Between the concerns outlined by Secretary LaRose and the issues we raise, we believe ERIC should not be used to maintain Ohio voter roles. Additional concerns include the partisan way in which it was founded, the possibility that voter roles are being used as a partisan targeting tool, the millions of tax-payer dollars being given to ERIC, and the lack of privacy of a third-party being in possession of citizen’s private information.