How to safeguard elections in Florida

(Letter to the Editor of the Tampa Bay Times, published August 2, 2019)

When it comes to critical steps leading to advanced election and voter efficiency, Florida gets a C minus. Florida falls behind progress made in 27 other states. How can this be? We have enough history and incentives to forge to the head of the line.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, and Rick Scott’s administration before it, have actively blocked Florida from joining the interstate compact known as ERIC, or Election Registration Information Center. Founded in 2012, it is a data-base verification and list maintenance system designed to cross-reference voter files among individual states for duplication, possible errors and out-of-date records. It flags voters who may have registered in multiple states, moved out of state or passed away. It improves state voter registration results by providing states with ways to contact potentially eligible but unregistered voters. For those people always complaining about voter fraud, this is the solution.

The Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections, representing all 67 counties, endorsed membership in ERIC years ago. It remains their No. 1 priority for the next election cycle. The League of Women Voters of Florida supports ERIC membership as a baseline best management practice. 

So what’s the problem? It’s not the cost. Florida’s membership in ERIC is well under $500,000. It’s not an experimental technology. ERIC can eliminate more problems at the polls. Our goal is a seamless voting experience — one that becomes a habit for young and old alike. We must give our supervisors of elections the tools they need to prepare for Election Day. 

Michele Levy, Winter Park

Michele Levy is the Election Reform Chair of the LWV of Florida

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