The 2018 Legislature will decide whether Florida joins partnership
Tampa Bay Times by Steve Bousquet
December 11, 2017
Voting experts from Alabama to West Virginia urged Florida Monday to join 20 other states in a partnership to scrub its voter rolls before the next statewide election in 2018.
At a conference in Tallahassee, experts emphasized the benefits of data-sharing at a time when a presidential commission is looking at possible voter fraud in U.S. elections.
The event was sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank that urges more states to swap voting information to make rolls cleaner and to reduce chances of voter fraud.
In the next three months, Florida’s Legislature will decide whether the state will join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a non-partisan, non-profit consortium among 20 states and the District of Columbia, to exchange voter registration information as a way of scrubbing the voter rolls to eliminate duplicate registrations.
“It’s a good step forward,” said Secretary of State John Merrill in ERIC-member Alabama, who cited the frequent movement of voters between his state and Florida. “We still believe that the northern part of Florida is part of Alabama.”
Merrill, who was headed back to Montgomery to count the votes in Tuesday’s closely-watched U.S. Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones, said: “Today I’m happy to be anywhere.”
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Don Palmer, a former Florida elections chief, said that when voter rolls are clogged by duplicate registrations, it requires more time to verify voters’ IDs and can mean longer lines at the polls and more provisional ballots. “These problems flow downstream,” Palmer said.
ERIC also creates lists of voters who are eligible but not registered, by cross-matching the list of driver’s licenses with the voter rolls. Those lists could result in more people being actual voters by making it easier for third-party groups to contact specific people. [READ MORE]