UPDATE: On Monday, May 22, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed House Bill 2052 into law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, May 16, the Oklahoma Legislature sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) House Bill 2052, a bill that would make it significantly harder for Oklahoma to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Founded in 2012 as an opt-in coalition of seven red and blue states, ERIC is a nonprofit organization that allows states to share information to help maintain accurate voter rolls.
Currently, Oklahoma law authorizes the state election board to join “multistate voter list maintenance organizations including, but not limited to, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) or its successor.” H.B. 2052 would strike the explicit reference to ERIC and require any multistate organization that Oklahoma joins to meet certain requirements.
Under H.B. 2052, Oklahoma would be prohibited from joining multistate organizations that:
- Require outreach to eligible but unregistered voters;
- Maintain people who are not elected officials on the governing board or
- Releases voter registration data to any third-party not a member of the organization.
H.B. 2052 also gives the Oklahoma attorney general the “authority to bring a civil action against the multistate voter list maintenance organization in a district court of this state for damages caused by the sharing of the data of this state.”
Since the beginning of 2023, Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia all announced their exits from ERIC. The basis for the withdrawals vary, but they all rely on a combination of right-wing election conspiracies, vague concerns about privacy, dislike of the required outreach to eligible but unregistered voters, the presence of a “hyper-partisan” non-voting board member and assertions that ERIC does not do enough to identify voter fraud. A press release from the Republican controlled-Oklahoma House about H.B. 2052 cites the handful of states that have “discontinued membership in ERIC.”