AP

Allen: Alabama to leave voter registration partnership

Nov 16, 2022, 7:20 PM | Updated: 7:39 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama will withdraw from a 32-state voter registration partnership, the incoming secretary of state announced on Wednesday, a decision that drew sharp criticism from his outgoing counterpart.

Republican Wes Allen, who will be sworn in as secretary of state in January, said he sent a letter announcing the state will end its participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center, a non-profit organization comprised of 32 states and the District of Columbia, that allows states to share voter registration data. The database was created as a tool to maintain accurate voter rolls and combat fraud by allowing states to know when someone moves, dies or registers elsewhere, but has sometimes become the target of conservative ire and conspiracy theories.

Allen cited privacy concerns as the reason to withdraw. The Republican made a promise during his campaign to withdraw from ERIC.

“I have heard repeatedly as I travelled through the state for the last year and a half that people want us out of ERIC. They don’t want their personal information or the personal information of their children to be sent to this out-of-state group,” Allen said in a statement issued by his campaign. “I promised I would end our participation and that is what I am taking these steps to do.”

Secretary of State John Merrill, also a Republican, issued a statement from his office saying ERIC provides needed information to maintain voter rolls and has identified suspected incidents of voter fraud. He said he is questioning the decision to withdraw.

“Alabama uses ERIC to preserve a clean and accurate voter list. We have not experienced one negative issue because of our relationship with ERIC,” the statement read.

Merrill’s office said there has been “dishonest or misinformed” stories spread about the system, including that it is funded by liberal billionaire George Soros. He said states don’t have access to other states’ voter registration and motorist driver’s license records — or access to the Social Security Administration Death Master Index — but ERIC does, and that it is a crucial tool for maintaining voting rolls.

“So, if Wes Allen plans to remove Alabama from its relationship with ERIC, how does he intend to maintain election security without access to the necessary data, legal authority, or capability to conduct proper voter list maintenance?” Merrill’s office said.

The issue of participation in ERIC was raised in at least one other state. The Republican candidate for Arizona secretary of state said during the campaign that he would withdraw from ERIC if elected, but he lost. Louisiana withdrew earlier this year.

Another Republican campaigned on joining the partnership.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, proudly noted in stump speeches that the state had joined ERIC. Raffensperger in 2019 said it would be a tremendous step forward for the integrity of Georgia’s voter rolls.

Allen said he will send a formal withdrawal letter after he is sworn in on Jan. 16.

According to the organization, the states that currently participate in ERIC are: 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.

___

Associated Press reporters Jonathan Cooper and Jeff Amy contributed to this report. Cooper reported Phoenix and Amy reported from Atlanta.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

1 hour ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

7 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

8 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

10 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

10 days ago

(Pexels photo)...

Associated Press

Baby in Kansas City, Missouri, dies after her mother mistakenly put her in an oven

An infant in Missouri died when her mother mistakenly put her down for a nap in an oven, a prosecutor said Saturday.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Allen: Alabama to leave voter registration partnership