MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — In his first act as Alabama Secretary of State, Wes Allen cut ties between the state and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), an organization that assists with voter rolls and registration in more than 30 states.
Allen made a campaign promise to end the relationship with the nonprofit.
“I came into the office after being sworn in [Monday] and signed the letter to ERIC notifying them that Alabama is no longer a participant in any of their programs,” Allen said. “The relationship between Alabama and ERIC is officially over.”
Allen cited ERIC, an out-of-state organization, collecting private information from Alabama citizens as the reason for the change.
According to ericstates.org, the organization collects a state’s data on voter registration and driver’s licenses. It says this data is collected because voters or their families rarely think to update their voting information if they move or die, but license or identification information is almost always updated.
The organization maintains it keeps all of that data secure.
“In 2017 and 2020, ERIC successfully completed a third-party review of how it handles protected data in the Social Security Limited Access Death Master File,” the site read. “In 2020, another independent cybersecurity assessment confirmed that ERIC complies with security standards.”
For a full review of ERIC’s privacy and security policies, click here.
Allen’s decision to end Alabama’s partnership with ERIC comes after strong defense from former Secretary of State John Merrill, whom Allen replaced.
In a tweet on December 13, 2022, Merrill said he spoke with an ERIC representative, insisting the organization “helps identify citizens who vote in more than one state.”
“ERIC has helped to identify multiple individuals who have unlawfully committed these acts,” Merrill wrote. “Without ERIC, the office would not be able to identify such individuals in an efficient and timely manner.”
As of 2023, 32 states plus the District of Columbia were listed as ERIC members.