Virginia withdrawals from election fraud detectors

After using its service for years, Virginia is parting ways with a decade-old voter fraud detector.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 6:01 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - After using its service for years, Virginia is parting ways with a decade-old voter fraud detector.

The electronic registration information center, also known as “E.R.I.C.”, uses data-sharing among member states to identify voters who should be removed from the voter rolls due to a move out of state or a loss of life.

E.R.I.C. also flags if the same voter casts ballots in more than one state.

In recent years, the electronic registration information center has been caught up in conspiracy theories related to the 2020 presidential election.

State Elections Commissioner Susan Beals wrote a letter to E.R.I.C. saying the decision to part ways is based on several reasons, including increasing concerns over stewardship, maintenance, privacy, and confidentiality.

Republican State Senator Amanda Chase says dropping the service has her vote.

“From an election integrity standpoint, we need to make sure that protecting the data of voters and that it doesn’t get in the wrong hands, and that it’s not abused and used for nefarious purposes,” Chase said.

Governor Glenn Youngkin did not go on camera on Monday, but his office released a written statement to NBC12 saying quote:

“Virginia withdrew from E.R.I.C. because Virginians’ data was shared with an E.R.I.C. affiliated research organization, and despite its efforts, Virginia was unable to reform E.R.I.C. as stewards of Virginia taxpayer dollars, it was also necessary to remove the Commonwealth from E.R.I.C.’s significantly increasing costs.”

Meanwhile, State Democrats object to the move.

“Public leaders, including Glenn Youngkin, are buying into Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories and are pulling out of this inter-state agreement, weakening our election systems and democracy,” said State Senator Mamie Lock on Monday.

The Virginia NAACP says Republicans are irresponsible for not having an alternative plan to ensure voter protection and transparency.

“We are concerned and will continue to monitor this withdrawal, especially because it’s a detrimental attack on voting rights,” Virginia NAACP President Robert Barnette said.

“As the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, it’s disappointing to see Virginia stray away from a proven partnership designed to enhance data integrity in our voter registration rolls and promote inter-state communication,” Senator Mark Warner said.

Political Analyst Larry Sabato weighs in on the withdrawal. He’s calling the withdrawal absurd.

“This makes no sense at all, yet they do it in order to please, frankly, some extremists in politics that are connected to Donald Trump,” said Political Analyst Larry Sabato.

In the past, the E.R.I.C. system has been credited with finding several voting problems nationwide. For example, in Maryland, it found about 66,000 potentially deceased voters.