LaRose says Ohio may drop out of ERIC, the voter registration program he praised last month
Republican secretary of state Frank LaRose has informed the head and board of a national bipartisan voter registration program that the state may leave it, as three Republican-run states announced Monday. LaRose, who’s considering a run for U.S. Senate, expressed confidence in the program just a few weeks ago.
Florida, Missouri and West Virginia announced that they would be leaving the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which was designed to help states share voter registration information.
Last month in a press conference announcing his support of a Republican Senate bill he said would improve transparency and reporting of election data, LaRose said some states have reported concerns about ERIC. But he said it's been a good program for Ohio.
"There have been some conversations just recently about the future of that organization. My team has been actively involved in that. I know that there are concerns that some secretaries have and like any human endeavor, there are imperfections to that organization. And some of the people involved, I think, have caused concern for others," LaRose said when asked about ERIC.
He continued: "But I can tell you that it is one of the best fraud-fighting tools that we have when it comes to actually catching people that try to vote in multiple states, when it comes to maintaining the accuracy of our voter rolls by removing those that move out of state. That's a thing that ERIC helps provide. And so to me, it's a tool that has provided great benefit for us and we're going to continue to use it."
But in a letter dated Monday to the ERIC executive director and board, LaRose specified some changes that he said must be approved at the board’s March 17 meeting:
- "Amending the 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. For example, members should not be forced to meet specific requirements, such as Eligible but Unregistered voter mailings or cross-state fraud analysis, if they do not deem those actions necessary or relevant to the needs of their respective states."
LaRose didn't identify the members of the ERIC board that should be removed. But Republicans have singled out ERIC’s founder David Becker, who worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts, and billionaire George Soros, the businessman at the center of some far-right conspiracy theories.