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How America’s electoral backbone is being turned upside down

Last year, all five states with Republican chief election officials (Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Missouri, and Florida) left the ERIC.Some states use outward conspiratorial reasons for leaving — cite a covert conspiracy by liberals to control the voter rolls. Other complaints concern the organization’s structure being brought to the surface, which advocates say is being used as a false pretense to leave the organization.

At its core, the ERIC, once widely hailed by conservatives as an important “election integrity tool,” has suddenly been attacked by a segment of Republican supporters still energized by Trump’s 2020 defeat. is receiving

Election commissions in Ohio, Texas and Alaska, all of which have Republican electoral commission chairs, have also publicly indicated that they are considering leaving the organization.

But not all Republicans are gaining momentum. In particular, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Ravensperger pledged his support for the organization after his recent departure.

“States claim to fight illegal voting and clean voter rolls, but we’re left with the best and only group that can detect double voting across state lines,” he tweeted, followed by a GIF. attached spongebob punching himself in the face“By reacting to misinformation, they have harmed their own country and others while undermining voter confidence.”

In an interview on the day the three states seceded, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he was “surprised” by the sudden secession of the three states earlier this month, adding that a bipartisan group had attempted to secede. rice field. Find common ground for maintaining membership.

A problem for many states currently considering leaving is the structure of the ERIC. ERIC was founded more than a decade ago by a handful of states split almost evenly between Democratic and Republican-led states. ERIC generally assists election officials in maintaining state voter rolls by helping them identify those who may have been displaced or deceased, removing ineligible voters and maintaining lists. to the state.

Broadly speaking, complaints have landed in two buckets: In addition to removing registered voters, ERIC is contacting potentially eligible but unregistered voters in member states who wish to register. It also asks to see if Some Republicans say it’s unnecessary and a waste of resources.

The composition of the organization’s board of directors is also a major point of contention. The Board is primarily made up of voters from each member state, usually senior election officials.

However, the Board also has two non-voting offices. One is currently vacant and another is a former Department of Justice attorney who played a key role in the founding of ERIC, where he is currently the founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation. & Research.

Since the 2020 election, Becker has become a prominent commentator on American election law and systems more broadly, vocally criticizing former President Donald Trump’s outright lies about the security of the 2020 election. rice field.

On their way out the door, several starting states publicly complained that Becker was a “partisan” without naming him directly. That’s an accusation that Becker has vociferously opposed.

“There is truth and there is lie. I will continue to stand by the truth, stand by the election, and stand by the public servants across the country who have run the safest, most transparent and verified elections in American history.” ‘, he told a small group of reporters last week.

his organization sent a letter Prominent current and former Republican election officials and lawyers (including Raffensperger) defended him earlier this week, saying, “Extremists are targeting Becker and the CEIR and will work to ensure a safe election.” They are trying to undermine their work in supporting professional civil servants.”

Nevertheless, Becker announced earlier this week: he will not accept re-nomination As a non-voting board member on Friday, he condemned what he called a “disinformation-fueled attack” that had led some states to leave the organization.

One of the senior Republican election officials who continues to broadly support ERIC, who was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal dynamics, said on Friday that Becker is not serving on the board. predicted that temperatures could drop. .

Friday’s meeting will address some controversial questions, including a proposal to allow member states to choose what to do with their ERIC data. Another idea to get members to stay is his two reports for ERIC – the report on eligible but unregistered voters and the one that member states use to catch potential double voters. “Voter Participation Report”- effectively tying it together. Choose to participate in both or neither. Not sure if any have the support to pass.

It is also unclear what the exiting states will do to close the gaps in their list maintenance mechanics without using ERIC. The state has indicated its intention to move some operations domestically. Crosscheck is an interstate program led by the State of Kansas in 2005 and eventually Collapsed due to security vulnerabilities — But there are early discussions about ERIC’s new competitor.

In an interview with POLITICO the day Missouri announced its withdrawal, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said, “either we will create a new system, [finding] It is a method that the state can only do in-house. (He downplayed the possibility that ERIC’s larger rival could be established later. Kansas City Star interview.)

Texas has a bill, but is a member of ERIC. drop out of the program —Secretary of State Jane Nelson recently changed election administrator to “a newly created position to develop and administer an interstate voter registration cross-check program.”

Jason Snead, executive director of the Conservative Honest Elections Project, told reporters on Thursday, “I think there’s a market for such a system.” I haven’t,” he added.

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