NJ joins. Pa, others in multi-state effort to clean up voter rolls | Tuesday Morning Coffee

The nonprofit Electronic Registration Information Center is coordinating the effort

By: - August 16, 2022 7:27 am

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Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

With Election Day just a few months away, a growing coalition of states is focusing its efforts on cleaning up their voter rolls and making sure that officials have the most accurate and up-to-date information about their respective electorates.

This week, New Jersey became the latest state to join the Electronic Registration Information Center, a nonprofit operated by representatives from member states, according to the New Jersey Monitor, a sibling site of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

The action will allow officials in the Garden State to receive the names, addresses, dates of birth, and a slew of other information about voters registered in other states. Officials then will be able to compare that data against its own voter rolls to detect registrations that are no longer accurate, the Monitor reported.

Such information-sharing allows election officials to update their rolls without hearing directly from voters, who rarely inform elections officials of a change of address or a death, Henal Patel, director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s Democracy and Justice program, told the Monitor.

“That’s something we see consistently in New Jersey. We always hear things about, ‘Hey, we got a sample ballot for my son, who moved to California five years ago’ or ‘Why is my mother who passed away still receiving election mail,’” Patel said.

With New Jersey’s entrance, all of the states that border the Keystone State, with the exception of New York, now participate in the program, according to an inventory posted to the organization’s website.

On its website, the organization said New Jersey’s entrance will bring its membership to 32 states and the District of Columbia.

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Pennsylvania joined the multi-state compact in 2016, when its membership included Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

“Improving the accuracy of Pennsylvania’s voter registration database is a priority for the Department of State. That’s why we have been actively working with stakeholders and other states to find the right tool to achieve that goal. The best option we have found is ERIC,” the Department of State, which oversees elections in the commonwealth, said in a statement at the time.

New Jersey’s entrance into the organization follows the signing of bipartisan legislation allowing for the remote training of poll workers and other reforms, the Monitor reported. The bill also requires the Garden State to join ERIC.

Last year, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also signed legislation authorizing the Garden State’s secretary of state’s office and its Motor Vehicle Commission to share voter information with ERIC. That bill was also broadly bipartisan, though it faced opposition from a handful of Republicans in the [state] Assembly, according to the Monitor.

In a Monday statement, the Pennsylvania Department of State said its membership in the collective “has been very beneficial to the department and counties” because “it helps to ensure Pennsylvania’s voter rolls are accurate and up to date, and it promotes voter registration.”

And “through our membership, we receive timely data on voter updates, including in- and out-of-state movers and potential duplicate registration records. We also receive lists of eligible but unregistered residents,” the agency told the Capital-Star.

Across the border in New Jersey, Patel told the Monitor that the state’s decision to join the compact is “a good step, an important one to make our rolls stronger, and again, because so many states are already participating in ERIC and have for a number of years, we know it works. This is not something new or radical we’re trying. This is something that’s tested and true.”

Keystone Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Armstrong County, about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

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Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks at a union rally on Oct. 16, 2020 in Pittsburgh. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

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What Goes On
10 a.m., Philadelphia: House Democratic Policy Committee
10:30 a.m., Villanova University: House State Government Committee

Gov. Tom Wolf has a pair of events on his docket today. At 11:30 a.m. in the Reception Room, he’ll ‘take action to protect LGBTQ Pennsylvanians,’ the administration said in a statement. At 1:45 p.m., he’s in Norristown to tout the increase in education funding included in this year’s state budget.

Heavy Rotation
It wouldn’t be summer without this one. Here’s ‘Summertime,’ by The Sundays. I still think the hook sounds like fireworks going off. Anyone else?

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
The Baltimore Orioles continued their post-All Star break surge, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on the road on Monday night. The Os have improved to 60-55, and are just 1.5 games behind the third place Jays in the AL East.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.