On Thursday, the Texas Secretary of State’s office announced Texas’ early resignation from ERIC, the interstate voter registration crosscheck compact. Senate Bill 1070 — passed in the final days of Texas’ 88th legislative session — allows Texas to leave ERIC and change the requirements for what type of private or public system is used, but today’s announcement moves up the state’s exit more than a month before the law goes into effect on September 1.
No verified or tested alternative currently exists for Texas to use if ERIC is no longer available. A copy of the letter announcing the resignation is here.
Late amendments added to SB1070 requires that the system:
- Comply with the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act, and all state and federal laws relating to the protection of personal.
- Private vendors must require a background check for each employee of a potential vendor for the system.
Statement from Katya Ehresman, voting rights program manager at Common Cause Texas:
“Withdrawing Texas from ERIC early and without a tested alternative is a dangerous and unnecessary distraction from what our state’s chief elections officer should be doing: making it easier to exercise our right to vote. Deploying partisan tactics like this only stands to scare people away from the ballot box and doesn’t do anything to strengthen the security of our state’s elections.
Today’s action is exacerbated by the fact that Texas remains one of just seven states living behind the times without electronic voter registration options.
Manually entering handwritten forms across 254 counties to update voter rolls isn’t a flawless process, and ERIC has been instrumental in addressing involuntary errors. Without it, we are missing out on a necessary and useful check to ensure our voter rolls remain accurate. With a major mayoral election slated for November in Houston, we are sounding the alarm on how this will affect our voters, our poll workers, and our election writ large.”