AP

Allen: Alabama to leave voter registration partnership

Nov 16, 2022, 4:20 AM | Updated: 6:23 pm

FILE - Rep. Wes Allen speaks during debate on transgender bills during the legislative session in the house chamber at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala., on April 7, 2022. Allen, who will be sworn in as secretary of state in January, said Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, that he sent a letter announcing the state will end its participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center, a non-profit organization comprised of 32 states and the District of Columbia that allows states to share voter registration data. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

(Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama will withdraw from a 32-state voter registration partnership, the incoming secretary of state announced on Wednesday, a decision that drew sharp criticism from his outgoing counterpart.

Republican Wes Allen, who will be sworn in as secretary of state in January, said he sent a letter announcing the state will end its participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center, a non-profit organization comprised of 32 states and the District of Columbia, that allows states to share voter registration data. The database was created as a tool to maintain accurate voter rolls and combat fraud by allowing states to know when someone moves, dies or registers elsewhere, but has sometimes become the target of conservative ire and conspiracy theories.

Allen cited privacy concerns as the reason to withdraw. The Republican made a promise during his campaign to withdraw from ERIC.

“I have heard repeatedly as I travelled through the state for the last year and a half that people want us out of ERIC. They don’t want their personal information or the personal information of their children to be sent to this out-of-state group,” Allen said in a statement issued by his campaign. “I promised I would end our participation and that is what I am taking these steps to do.”

Secretary of State John Merrill, also a Republican, issued a statement from his office saying ERIC provides needed information to maintain voter rolls and has identified suspected incidents of voter fraud. He said he is questioning the decision to withdraw.

“Alabama uses ERIC to preserve a clean and accurate voter list. We have not experienced one negative issue because of our relationship with ERIC,” the statement read.

Merrill’s office said there has been “dishonest or misinformed” stories spread about the system, including that it is funded by liberal billionaire George Soros. He said states don’t have access to other states’ voter registration and motorist driver’s license records — or access to the Social Security Administration Death Master Index — but ERIC does, and that it is a crucial tool for maintaining voting rolls.

“So, if Wes Allen plans to remove Alabama from its relationship with ERIC, how does he intend to maintain election security without access to the necessary data, legal authority, or capability to conduct proper voter list maintenance?” Merrill’s office said.

The issue of participation in ERIC was raised in at least one other state. The Republican candidate for Arizona secretary of state said during the campaign that he would withdraw from ERIC if elected, but he lost. Louisiana withdrew earlier this year.

Another Republican campaigned on joining the partnership.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, proudly noted in stump speeches that the state had joined ERIC. Raffensperger in 2019 said it would be a tremendous step forward for the integrity of Georgia’s voter rolls.

Allen said he will send a formal withdrawal letter after he is sworn in on Jan. 16.

According to the organization, the states that currently participate in ERIC are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia is also a member.

___

Associated Press reporters Jonathan Cooper and Jeff Amy contributed to this report. Cooper reported Phoenix and Amy reported from Atlanta.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

idaho gender-affirming care...

Associated Press

Supreme Court allows Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

The Supreme Court is allowing Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth while lawsuits over the law proceed.

12 hours ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Manhattan state court in New York City ...

Associated Press

Trump’s hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors selected

The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case.

1 day ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

2 days ago

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

The Latest | Iran launches its first direct military attack against Israel

Iran launched its first full-scale military attack against Israel on Saturday, sending drones toward Israel.

3 days ago

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

BREAKING: White House confirms Iran drone attacks towards Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — The White House says it will provide unspecified support for Israel’s defense against an ongoing airborne attack from Iran. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a Saturday statement that “Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel.” She added: “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and […]

3 days ago

Image: O.J. Simpson attends his parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center July 20, 2017 in Lov...

Associated Press

O.J. Simpson, fallen football hero acquitted of murder in ‘trial of the century,’ dies at 76

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL star and Hollywood actor who was acquitted of charges he killed his ex-wife and her friend has died at 76.

5 days ago

Allen: Alabama to leave voter registration partnership