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Who the Heck is ERIC?

The question should actually be, What the heck is ERIC? ERIC stands for the Electronic Registration Information Center.

Here’s a fiction about ERIC: Election deniers and conspiracy creators claim ERIC is a partisan organization funded by wealthy donors working to change election results.

Sorry, but these people are so desperate to make you fear elections that now they are just making sh*t up.

ERIC is a member-run organization (currently 32 states, about half Democrat and half Republican) that shares public information about voters with each other to make sure people aren’t registered in more than one state, or are removed from a state’s roll when they move.

States who are members of ERIC have the most up-to-date and accurate voter registration lists. It’s the most effective way to make sure someone doesn’t vote in two states. This makes elections safer and more reliable. ERIC cannot change election results. Sheesh. These people make my head hurt.

Yet spreading doubt works. On Jan. 20, the far-right blog The Gateway Pundit published the first of a number of articles about the program, falsely implying ERIC is part of a left-wing election conspiracy.

“Seven days later, Louisiana withdrew its membership, becoming the first state since ERIC’s founding to do so. This, despite the fact that since Louisiana joined ERIC in 2014, the program has identified more than 16,000 dead people on Louisiana’s voting lists and more than 54,000 people who have moved out of the state. By choosing to leave ERIC, the state will no longer have access to that data.” (NPR)

“If a state leaves ERIC, what they’re doing is cutting their nose to spite their face,”  said a national elections expert. “They’re handcuffing their ability to keep their lists accurate.”

So by spreading lies, is the Gateway Pundit’s goal to make elections safer?

Not likely.

3 thoughts on “Who the Heck is ERIC?”

  1. Hhhmm, I’ve never heard of ERIC, but then I don’t watch far right conspiracy theorists. It sounds like a great idea and poor LA for leaving.

    Reply

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After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.