Republican election deniers are undermining already successful efforts to secure future elections.
Alabama's newly elected secretary of state, Wes Allen, fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw from an interstate agreement, known as the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), to help remove duplicate voter registrations and catch possible double voting, based on conspiracies promoted by right-wing websites, reported Politico.
“It’s not the start, nor the end,” said David Becker, a former Department of Justice attorney who helped set up ERIC. “If you’ve been to any meetings of election officials over the last few years — if you’ve been to anything where consensus is attempted — it seems that fewer and fewer want to engage in that.”
ERIC collects regularly updated data from states to identify voters who may have moved or died, and the system also tracks voters who may have illegally voted in multiple states in the same election, but Allen's statement announcing his withdrawal suggested sinister motivations behind the bipartisan project.
“Providing the private information of Alabama citizens, including underage minors, to an out of state organization is troubling to me and to people that I heard from as I traveled the state for the last 20 months,” Allen said in the statement.
Louisiana secretary of state Kyle Ardoin, also a Republican, withdrew from the program in July, citing “concerns raised by citizens, government watchdog organizations and media reports about potentially questionable funding sources and that possibly partisan actors may have access to ERIC network data.”
Allen's campaign attacks on ERIC frequently mirrored baseless claims promoted by The Gateway Pundit website, such as the false claim that it was funded by liberal billionaire George Soros, and his predecessor defended the project, as has Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“ERIC does something that no other entity is capable of doing,” said former Alabama secretary of state John Merrill. “The people who have complaints about ERIC and who have concerns about ERIC, don’t understand ERIC.”