Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant announced this week that West Virginia is the 17th member of a national record-matching consortium, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
By participating in ERIC, County Clerks and the Secretary of State’s Office have a comprehensive tool to help improve voter registration and voter list maintenance across West Virginia. Through the sharing of data from participating states, the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security Administration and DMV, West Virginia will be notified of any registered voters who are deceased or who have moved, which will assist in making the voter rolls as accurate as possible.
The state will also be notified of citizens who are not registered, but may be eligible to vote. Participation in ERIC has been shown to save money by providing cleaner voter rolls, leading to less returned mail, accurate poll books and fewer provisional ballots.
“This is a perfect example of this office’s use of forward-thinking initiatives that offer ways to save money and time for election administrators and voters alike,” said Tennant. “There are many tools that we are currently using in West Virginia to both facilitate accuracy in our voter rolls and increase registration, and ERIC is yet another tool that will help in our continual efforts to ensure our elections have integrity. Now that we are officially a member, we can get started on this important data comparison as soon as possible.”
West Virginia is the 17th voting member of ERIC. Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Washington, DC are already members.
“The ERIC Board of Directors and the ERIC staff welcome West Virginia to our consortium of states. Each state that joins ERIC shares a commitment to accurate voter rolls and outreach to new voters. ERIC states are leaders in government efficiency, interstate cooperation, and protecting the individual voter’s rights to cast a ballot,” said John Lindback, ERIC executive director.
ERIC matches data from member states (border states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia included) and looks for: voters who have moved in state, voters who have moved out of state, voters who have died, duplicate registrations and individuals who are potentially eligible to vote, but are not yet registered.
Participation in ERIC does not change the process for county clerks. They are still responsible for verifying voter registration and maintaining their county’s voter rolls.
Tennant put forward legislation this year to allow for data transfers as part of ERIC to enable both voter registration and list maintenance efforts. The bill passed both Houses during the 2016 regular session with bipartisan support and was signed into law.