Florida just took a major step toward modernizing their voter registration system. On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law a bipartisan bill to join the Electronic Voter Registration Information Center (ERIC), a consortium of states that share voter registration information to improve the accuracy and integrity of voter lists. Interstate data sharing is a key recommendation of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration and is supported by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Florida and nationwide.
ERIC was designed to improve the integrity of voter rolls by matching millions of voter records from one state with those of other participating states. The data matches can identify voters that have registered in two states, voters that have moved between states, and those that have died. States can then take appropriate actions to responsibly remove identified voters from rolls who are no longer eligible to vote in the state. ERIC also enables states to proactively engage eligible but unregistered voters by identifying voting age citizens that have not registered or have not changed their registration after moving and sends them information on how to register in their state.
Florida is the 24th—and by far largest—member state to join ERIC. Florida’s voting-eligible population of more than 14 million expands the total voting eligible population in states sharing registration data as members of ERIC to more than 100 million. Moreover, with its large population of seasonal residents with more than one residence, Florida adds significantly to neighboring states efforts to maintain accurate voting rolls.
Cross-state data sharing initiatives were recommended by the PCEA due to their proven ability to improve the accuracy and integrity of voter rolls and to engage with eligible but unregistered voters. According to the PCEA, “ERIC provides information to participating states as to which voters may have moved (either between states or within them), which voters may have died, which may have changed their names, and which eligible voters might not be registered. It protects the privacy of voter data by anonymizing each voter’s data before that data leaves a state’s control, so that no birthdates or like information gets revealed in the process.”
BPC has played a supportive role in promoting interstate data sharing in Florida and across the country. In Florida specifically, BPC convened state legislators, executive branch staff, and supervisors of elections in December 2017 to discuss benefits of registration data sharing programs. BPC Democracy Project Fellow Don Palmer works on the ground extensively with local Florida election officials to keep voter registration modernization a priority. We are proud of the steps the state has taken to improve the voting experience.
This is the second major step Florida has taken to modernize its voter registration system in the last three years. In 2015, the state enacted a law to implement online voter registration, another recommendation of the PCEA. Florida voters will benefit from these commonsense election reform, and all other voters living in ERIC states will experience cleaner voter rolls as well.