The Office of the Secretary of State and Washington’s 39 County Auditors are breaking new ground in the coming days as they begin updating over 53,000 voter registration records and mail voter registration information to more than 140,000 potentially eligible, but unregistered residents. Updating such a large number of records and conducting focused registration education recently has become possible, thanks to the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). ERIC is a non-profit organization that assists states with improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increasing access to voter registration for all eligible citizens. It is governed and managed by states that choose to join, and was formed by seven states in 2012 with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The seven participating states include Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia and Washington. More states are expected to join. “ERIC provides states with a powerful new set of tools that improve the accuracy of voter rolls and expand access to voter registration, achieving both goals more efficiently,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman said.
Using reports from ERIC, elections officials will remove duplicate registrations, cancel registrations of deceased voters, better process address updates and more efficiently manage records of voters who have moved and registered in another state. The program follows strict state and federal guidelines to protect voter rights and maintain clean voter rolls.
“We need to continue modernizing our voter registration system to be more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient,” Wyman said.
The process of collecting hand-written paper forms, entering the data into computers, and maintaining up-to-date information is too slow and expensive to keep pace with our highly mobile society, Wyman said.
“Research confirms there is more we can do to improve the current system,” said state Elections Director Lori Augino. “By joining with other pioneering states, ERIC members are leading the way in upgrading voter registration.”