Election officials worried about fraud as Florida pulls from voter database
Florida leaving ERIC June 5
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - It will now be harder to catch Florida voters who illegally vote in more than one state. Next week, Florida will no longer be part of a national database that shares voter registration information.
“We can’t track their records across state lines unless they notify us specifically,” said Mark Earley, Leon County Elections Supervisor.
The Electronic Registration Information Center, also known as ERIC, helps track that. It’s a coalition of 32 states sharing voter registration data. It notifies member states when someone’s status changes, like if they move to another state.
But as of June 5, Florida will no longer be a member. Secretary of State Cord Byrd said in a news release he decided to pull out of ERIC to protect the data privacy of Florida voters.
Voter registration information is already a public record.
“We worked hard to get into ERIC and it was showing good results,” Earley said.
Earley is the past president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections. He said supervisors across the state were surprised Florida was leaving ERIC, especially since it helped catch people illegally voting.
“That’s one of the downfalls of not being a member anymore. We won’t be able to catch that cross-state voting. Really that was our only good mechanism to do that,” Earley said.
Earley said two people were charged in Leon County after ERIC flagged them for voting in more than one state in the last election.
Voters were also prosecuted for casting ballots in both Florida and Ingham County, Michigan, according to clerk Barb Byrum.
She said she is worried this will open the door for more fraud.
“The ERIC system is only as good as the members who belong. So the less states that participate, the less cross-checking that can occur,” Byrum said.
Missouri, West Virginia and Iowa are also leaving the database next week.
Secretary of State Cord Byrd did not respond to questions from the Gray Florida Capital Bureau on if anything will replace ERIC at the time of publication.
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