The goal of maintaining an accurate voter list is to prevent ineligible people from voting, prevent anyone from voting twice and, by reducing inaccuracies, speed up the voter check-in process at polling places. ncsl
To protect the integrity of our elections is making sure the voter rolls are accurate and up-to-date.
In 2005, the United States Department of Justice sued the state of Missouri, alleging nearly one-third of the state’s counties had a higher number of registered voters on their rolls than residents of voting age in the November 2004 general elections. komu
The Globe reported in 2016, “Massachusetts voter rolls list a record 4.5 million registrations, but an untold number — potentially as high as 1 million registrations — should no longer be on the books.” BostonGlobe
Eventually, out-of-date registrations are removed but there can be a lag time of several years.
A 2012 Pew report called voter registration systems in many states inefficient and said they have failed to keep pace with technological improvements, creating inaccurate lists of registered voters.
The study estimated that about 24 million, or one in every eight, voter registrations nationwide were no longer valid or “significantly inaccurate.” That included more than 1.8 million deceased individuals listed as voters and 2.75 million people with registrations in more than one state. BostonGlobe
A GAO June 2016 report stated, “The Pew report went on to state that “outdated and inaccurate voter rolls and a heavy dependence on new voter registrations submitted by unregulated third-party groups led to troubling questions about the integrity of our elections.”
The Pew report provided recommended steps that states should take toward modernizing their voter registration systems. These recommendations included offering online registration, providing improved technology at motor vehicle offices and public aid agencies to aid in registration, and exchanging data with other states to aid in removing duplicate and invalid records and removing ineligible voters.
ERIC Electronic Registration Information Center
Founded in 2012 as a project between the states and The Pew Charitable Trusts, was organized to address the challenge of incomplete and inaccurate voter registration lists. Since shortly after ERIC’s founding, state election officials have overseen and managed the program to organize the collection, analysis, and distribution of data among member states. The organization uses automated data-matching software to produce reports for member states, with the goal of helping state and local officials maintain accurate registration lists. GAO
20 states plus Washington D.C use ERIC to keep their voter rolls accurate.
The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is partnering up with states to help them communicate about voter registration. The idea for ERIC was born out of the Pew Research Center’s conference called “Voting in America”:
“The overall consensus was that voter registration was out of date,” ERIC’s executive director John Lindback told Business Insider. “It’s the biggest problem with elections in the United States.”
ERIC was officially formed in 2012 with seven states: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia and Washington. ERIC collects data from the states’ voter registration databases, DMV records, the Social Security Death Index, and changes in addresses from the U.S. Postal Service. They crosscheck names with the data collected from other states, and if they find potential duplicates, ERIC notifies the states, which can then contact the person directly and ask them to update their voter registration information.
Today, ERIC’s membership has grown to 20 states, as well as Washington D.C. BusinessInsider
Video: ERIC Introduction