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Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia follow Alabama’s lead on leaving anti-voting fraud system

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Several GOP states are following Alabama in pulling out of effort to thwart voter fraud. Election officials in Florida, Missouri and West Virginia say they are withdrawing from a bipartisan, multistate effort aimed at ensuring the accuracy of voter rolls. The system has found itself in the crosshairs of conspiracy theories fueled by Donald Trump's false claims about the 2020 presidential election. The system to thwart voter fraud is known as the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC for short. The effort has become a target of suspicion among some Republicans after a series of online posts early last year questioning its funding and purpose. The departures have frustrated state election officials involved in the effort and have demonstrated how deeply election conspiracies have spread throughout the Republican Party.

Louisiana withdrew last year and Alabama is in the process of doing so. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said that he had been pushing the group to address concerns by him and others. West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said he did not expect the departure from the program to affect his state's ability to maintain accurate voter rolls. Florida's secretary of state, who is appointed by the governor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The program was started in 2012 by seven states and was bipartisan from the beginning, with four of the founding states led by Republicans. After the states officially depart, participation will be limited to 28 states and the District of Columbia. The departures have frustrated state election officials involved in the effort and have demonstrated how deeply election conspiracies have spread throughout the Republican Party.

Not all Republican-led states have been reevaluating their participation in the program. In a recent survey by the AP, election offices in 23 states and the District of Columbia said they had no intention of leaving, including eight led or controlled by Republicans.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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