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In a letter on Friday signed by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose informed Shane Hamlin, the Executive Director of Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) that Ohio was resigning from ERIC effective 91 days later.
Ohio is the latest state to leave the multi-state consortium that aimed to provide accurate voter rolls.
“The action Ohio is taking today follows nearly a year of good faith, bipartisan efforts to reform ERIC’s oversight and services,” wrote LaRose.
“ERIC has chosen repeatedly to ignore demands to embrace reforms that would bolster confidence in its performance, encourage growth in its membership, and ensure not only its present stability but also its durability. Rather, you have chosen to double-down on poor strategic decisions, which have only resulted in the transformation of a previously bipartisan organization to one that appears to favor only the interests of one political party,” added LaRose.
LaRose even predicted that ERIC’s “actions and inactions” would result in “its demise.”
LaRose reiterated ERIC’s need to amend their 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.”
“I fundamentally believe that every dues-paying ERIC member should have the right to use these services in the best interest of their own state and its taxpayers. This should be a non-controversial policy, yet you have chosen to make it a hyperbolic, partisan fight that has fractured an organization that had so much potential for good.” LaRose closed.
Ohio is the fourth state to resign from the organization this month. In all, six states run by Republicans have withdrawn from the organization in the last year.
Florida, Missouri and West Virginia left ERIC en masse on a single day earlier in March.
Other Republican states may follow. Bills pending in Texas would remove the state from ERIC. Texas election officials have begun developing their own system.
The accusations of partisanship swirling ERIC also prompted David Becker – a founder of ERIC – to announce this week that he was resigning his non-voting position on the group’s board after conservatives claimed his presence had injected partisanship in the group.
Controversial Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – signed a public letter defending Becker.
On March 6, the same day that Florida, Missouri and West Virginia left ERIC, former President Donald Trump urged all Republicans governors to end their participation with ERIC, saying it “pumps the rolls” for Democrats.
In an interview Friday with CNN, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) said ERIC bears the blame for the spate of departures.
“They were saying it was more important to add people to the voters rolls … than it was to go after people we knew were cheating,” Ashcroft said.
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