National database would give states ability to check voter rolls

David Becker is the director of elections at the Pew Center for the States. Photo by Lizzie Chen/News21.

“One in four voters assume their registration is updated automatically when moving,” said David Becker, executive director of election initiatives at the Pew Center on the States.

Becker addressed the issue Sunday with several chief election officials from around the U.S. at the National Secretaries of State Association summer conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

A Pew report published in February highlighted serious problems with the voter registration system in the U.S.  According to that report:

-24 million voter registrations were no longer valid or were significantly inaccurate

-1.8 million deceased persons were listed as registered voters

-2.75 million people were registered in more than one state

In response, Pew, IBM, and election officials have designed the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). It allows states to cross-reference among states multiple sets of voter registration information. It’s a paperless, cost-efficient and sustainable way to have efficient voter rolls, Becker said.

States pay an initial fee of $25,000 and an annual fee of approximately $50,000 to use the system, Becker said.

Pew expects Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington, to use the technology in fall elections.

By Joe Henke, with reporting from Khara Persad, News 21