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Intersection: Electronic Registration Information Center Tries To Make Its Way To Florida


President Trump’s Election Commission is under way holding its first meeting last week. Even before the commission met, it ruffled the feathers of state elections officials by asking for data on the nation’s 200 million registered voters. Information such as partial Social Security numbers, political party affiliations, and criminal records.

Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner told the commission that he’ll only release what’s in the public record.

The president's commission said its job is to find out where voter fraud is happening. The president formed the commission after making several claims that are unproven of widespread voter fraud.

This idea of collecting voter rolls across state lines isn’t new. A non-profit organization called ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center is a network of 20 states that compares voter rolls in order to help clean them up. It’s trying to pull Florida into the fold since so many Floridians are from somewhere else.

To find out more about ERIC and the health of Florida’s voter rolls, we’re joined by Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel and ERIC executive director Shane Hamlin who tells us how ERIC works.

Hamlin said states choose to join ERIC to help make their voter rolls more accurate and up-to-date.

"They [States joined with ERIC] agree to send us certain data sets and we use that data from all of the states, we compare it, and then from those data comparisons we generate a series of reports that we provide back to member states that they use to do routine list maintenance," Hamlin said.

The reports identify individuals who move to the state, voters who moved to another state, voters that have past away, and in-state duplicates.

Ertel said when it comes to cross checking voter information, more information is better, and more data is better, which is what organizations like ERIC does.

"I think there is a big appetite for [Florida] supervisors of elections to be part of some sort of data base reciprocity program," Ertel said.

When it comes to voter fraud, Ertel said that it happens but it is very rare.

"What I think will be interesting with this commission is that its going to discover that while some people think its set out to confirm a bias it's going to discover that there is no bias," Ertel said.

"There are these beliefs that there are millions and millions of people voting illegally and voting twice it just doesn't happen but it doesn't mean that it doesn't happen," he said.