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After ERIC withdrawal, Virginia strikes deals with 6 states to share voter data


After ERIC withdrawal, Virginia strikes deals with 6 states to share voter data

Sep 20, 2023 | 4:29 pm ET
By Graham Moomaw
After ERIC withdrawal, Virginia strikes deals with 6 states to share voter data
"I Voted" stickers are displayed at a Richmond polling place during the 2022 midterm elections. (Graham Moomaw/Virginia Mercury)

The Virginia Department of Elections recently signed agreements to exchange voter registration data with six other states, a move meant to rebuild some of the capacity lost due to Virginia’s withdrawal from a longstanding data-sharing program targeted by conservative activists.

On Wednesday, Virginia election officials announced they had struck deals with counterparts in the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina to help the states “identify duplicate registrations and potential double voters.”

Virginia joins Republican states pulling out of multi-state voter list program

“Secure elections start with accurate voter lists,” Virginia Elections Commissioner Susan Beals said in a news release. “Virginia now updates our voter list using data coming directly from one-to-one data sharing agreements with neighboring states and partnerships with state and federal agencies.”

Beals and Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who appointed her as the state’s top election administrator, drew criticism this spring after Virginia announced it would withdraw from the Washington-based Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC. Virginia was one of the founding members of the once-uncontroversial program meant to help states compare voter rolls and identify when voters have moved from one state to another.

Several Republican-led states have pulled out of ERIC after it came under fire from right-wing “election integrity” activists who have portrayed the program as a secretive operation to help Democrats win elections. ERIC’s defenders have called those accusations unfounded, portraying them as conspiracy theories that threaten a formerly bipartisan initiative designed to keep voter rolls as accurate as possible.

The announcement of the new voter-sharing agreements with six states were included in a recent report on Virginia’s efforts to maintain its voter rolls in 2023.

Virginia officials are continuing to work with other states on more data-sharing agreements. 

The report also touted a streamlined process for removing deceased voters from the rolls, emphasizing that the 77,346 registrations removed in roughly the past year is “the highest number of deceased voters removed in decades.”