Elections Supervisors Get New Tool to Clean Up Voter Records
Last updated 9/5/2019 at 7:25am
Polk Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards is thrilled that Florida has joined a consortium of states to clean up voter lists to reduce the potential for fraud.
"This is something I have been advocating for about five years," said Edwards.
By joining the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), Edwards said Florida supervisors now will be able to cross-check their voter rolls against those of other states. The issue is especially important to Florida because of the transient population with people splitting their time between Florida and another state, she said, and sometimes being registered to vote in both.
"It can artificially inflate voter rolls and voter rolls are less accurate," Edwards said.
According to its website, ERIC is a non-profit organization with the sole mission of assisting states to improve the accuracy of America's voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens. Each member state receives reports that show voters who have moved within their state, voters who have moved out of state, voters who have died, duplicate registrations in the same state and individuals who are potentially eligible to vote but are not yet registered.
The participating states submit at a minimum its voter registration and motor vehicle licensee data. The data includes names, addresses, date-of-birth, last four digits of the social security number. Private data such as date of birth and the last four digits of the Social Security number are protected using a cryptographic one-way hash and then transmitted to ERIC.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Aug. 21 that the state would be joining the ERIC coalition.
"One of my administration's top priorities is protecting the integrity of Florida's elections, which is why joining ERIC is the right thing to do for our state as it will ensure our voter rolls are up-to-date and it will increase voter participation in our elections," said DeSantis. "Since taking office, we have been reviewing this issue with Supervisors of Elections. We are confident that by improving the accuracy of our voter rolls, we will reduce the potential for voter fraud."
In addition to enhancing the accuracy of voter rolls, ERIC also improves voter registration by providing information for member states to contact potentially eligible but unregistered voters with instructions on how to register to vote. The outreach to potentially eligible voters is conducted every two years ahead of each federal general election. Edwards said she looks forward to having another tool to increase registration.
Edwards said once a report comes back of a possible duplicate or deceased voter, her office will mail a notice and seek to verify the information before removing someone from the voter rolls. Voters will have 30 days to respond before receiving a final notice and being removed. The issue of fraud arises if someone actually votes in both states, she said.