UPDATE: On June 18, Gov. Abbott signed S.B. 1070 into law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Saturday, May 27, the Texas Legislature gave final approval to Senate Bill 1070, a bill that would allow the state to discontinue participation in 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. Now that the bill has passed both chambers, it goes to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk for his signature.
Starting in early 2022 right-wing conspiracy theories have targeted the organization, with Louisiana leaving ERIC in January of last year. Since then, 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.
S.B. 1070 was written with the help of activists to ease Texas’ departure. If Abbott signs the bill into law, Texas could be the next red state heading for the exit.