Concerns about voting surface as election nears

Photo of the Supervisor Elections Office. Photo by Dynasty Williams

As Florida joins the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center, also known as ERIC, any registered voter who requested a public record exemption in Leon County, has been sent an invitation to register to vote.

ERIC is intended to decrease the occurrence of voter fraud and increase security for voter protection by cross-referencing multi-state data. However, this helpful tool has caused issues and worry among voters, due to the unexplained reason of why previously registered voters may no longer be listed as registered.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that more than 20,000 registration postcards were recently sent out to Leon County residents.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Early told the Democrat, “Some 22,000 registration postcards were sent to Leon County, where many of those exempt judicial and government personnel reside.”

According to the Democrat, the “high-risk professional class” is characterized by ERIC as being a police officer, civilian law enforcement personnel, federal/state/county judges, administrative hearing officers, magistrates, other quasi-judicial officers, juvenile probation officers, guardians ad litem, child support enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, paramedics, and members of the U.S. military.

The issue is not that exempted Leon County residents will have the addresses associated with their voters registration information shielded from public records, it’s whether or not those voters are clearly notified whether or not they are still registered in the state of Florida.

“The department doesn’t keep track of the number of exemptions,” Early said, referring to Mark Ard, a Department of State employee.

Earley even voiced possible issues with the filtration system of ERIC.

“‘It may be difficult to put out a filter on exempted people,’ he added. ‘I think they probably should have filtered that better.”

However, besides the aforementioned issues with ERIC, it’s primary intention is to keep voters protected from tampering and fraud.

According to the Democrat, ERIC has been a positive direction for many states, regardless of political affiliation.

President of the League of Women Voters of Florida, Patricia Brigham told the Democrat, “We have a lot of people move into the state and this will help keep voter rolls accurate.”

Although Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been known to be a close associate of  President Donald Trump, who has been said repeatedly he doesn’t trust poll results, DeSantis promised to protect his voters.

DeSantis said, “My administration is committed to protecting the integrity of Florida’s voter rolls and preventing election fraud.”

DeSantis also said, “As a member of ERIC, Florida is now equipped with more tools to further ensure accurate voter rolls, make voting easier and reduce costs to taxpayers.”