KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.


Texas' withdraws from multi-state voter database over transparency concern

It seems like every other week, there is a new voter integrity story in the news. In Harris County, right here at home, there has been plenty of ballyhoo over last year's election. Plenty of questions have been raised in recent years about the transparency of the voting system in these United States.

After much frustration across all fronts, the Lone Star State is taking somewhat of a stand. The State of Texas has decided it will no longer be part of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a multi-state non-profit which focuses on sharing voter data for security, and registration efforts.

For instance, they would gather data on finding ineligible voters on the voter rolls and remove them. They also would find eligible voters not registered and encourage them to register to vote.

There were plenty of red flags already in place about the transparency of the non-profit, though. Matt Stringer from the Texans says that led to the state just creating their own pact with other states.

"Instead of doing it through this non-profit, they can set more guidelines regarding the data," he says.

Texas joins eight other states who have also left ERIC: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. Among the issues these states all saw with ERIC was the leadership.

"First, member states have to sign a contract in which they share is not releasable to the public...which often runs contrary to transparency laws," he says. "They do not cross check people off voter rolls based on citizenship. The leadership of ERIC can share data...and they believed they were sharing data with groups that have left-leaning affiliation."

But, beyond there being various problems with how ERIC was being run, there were new transparency laws recently put in place for Texas.

"It essentially forces Texas' withdrawal and forces us to work with other states to set up this new compact, rather than the multi-state non-profit," he says.

In the resolution to leave ERIC, submitted by the Republican Party of Texas, they alleged the agreement with ERIC prohibits states from transmitting data concerning noncitizens, but that without that data, ERIC would not be able to achieve its stated mission of election integrity.

So, does leaving the non-profit really matter? Not particularly.

"Leaving ERIC will allow Texas to set up a better, more comprehensive system, at a lower cost, without worry of any partisanship influencing anything," Stringer says.

The withdrawal from ERIC will be effective on October 19th.

Photo: cmannphoto / iStock / Getty Images

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