Florida will join a key multi-state voter registration integrity coalition that will allow officials to spot duplicate registrations and identify registered voters who have died, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.
The Legislature authorized the move in 2018, and DeSantis said it makes sense, given that close to 1 million new residents arrive in Florida every year.
“Obviously, when people pass away, we wish them all the best in the world that lies ahead, but we don’t want them still involved with politics,” DeSantis said during a news conference in Orlando. “There’s other parts in the country where they do that. We don’t want that here.”
The Electronic Registration Information Center – or ERIC – was developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts. It allows officials to draw upon voter registration data in member states, plus Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security Administration, and Postal Service records, to compare voter lists.
Florida will join 28 states plus the District of Columbia in the project. Participation will cost the state $1.3 million, the governor said – the expense of sending notices to eligible but unregistered voters encouraging them to sign up. ERIC requires such notices during every two-year federal election cycle. DeSantis said he would ask the Legislature for the money during the regular session that opens in January.
Most dual registrations happen when people move and don’t cancel registrations in their old states, DeSantis said. People in that situation shouldn’t worry, he added. “Even if they get dinged as registered in two places, if they just vote here and they don’t vote in the other place, then it all ends up taking care of itself and they stay on the [Florida] rolls and all is good.”
Joining ERIC has been a top priority of Florida’s county elections chiefs, said Tammy Jones, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. She was among a number of supervisors attending the news conference.
“The information that we will receive as members of ERIC will help supervisors maintain more accurate voter registration rolls, which is a critical component to running an election and ensuring the security and integrity of our elections,” Jones said.
County Elections Supervisors will notify people with dual registrations and give them a chance to clarify their status, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said.
People will drop from a state registry if they don’t vote within two federal election cycles, DeSantis noted. “If you are registered in Florida, and you’re still registered somewhere else but you’re only voting in Florida, that’s a legitimate registration,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lee has completed election security reviews in 65 of the state’s 67 counties, DeSantis said. Additionally, the state has given county Supervisors of Elections some $5 million to improve security.
The League of Women Voters of Florida issued a letter the organization sent DeSantis praising the move.