Georgia is staying in a multistate organization that helps keep voter registration lists accurate, even as other Republican-led states pull out amid misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reaffirmed his commitment to the Electronic Registration Information Center, a 28-state collaboration that shares information about voters after they move or die. Then their registrations can later be canceled in the state they moved from.
“Being a member of ERIC has allowed us to be recognized as having the cleanest voter rolls in the country,” Raffensperger said last week. “For example, if someone moves from here to North Carolina, they’ll let us know that they registered, and then we can begin to objectively take them off the voter rolls.”
Several states recently announced they’re quitting ERIC, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and West Virginia.
Election conspiracy theorists and Republican officials in those states have accused ERIC, a bipartisan organization overseen by its member states, of working with liberal groups and encouraging fraud, allegations that ERIC denies. ERIC has also faced criticism for mailing letters to newly eligible voters so they can register to vote.
But Raffensperger said ERIC is a valuable tool to fight fraud and cancel outdated registrations.
Georgia joined ERIC under a law passed by the General Assembly in 2019, and the state’s elections overhaul law approved two years ago required the secretary of state’s office to use information from ERIC to help maintain voter lists.
About 120,000 people have canceled their Georgia registrations after they moved and received notification letters through ERIC, according to the secretary of state’s office. Hundreds of thousands more voters who appear to have moved have been declared “inactive,” a designation that allows their registrations to be canceled after they decline to participate in the next two general elections.
State election officials have canceled 922,000 outdated voter registrations since 2017, and there are now 7.9 million registered voters in Georgia.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution