The nonprofit group ERIC, which helps maintain accurate voter rolls was once widely embraced. But since last year, Trump allies have pushed red states to reject it.
An individual double locks a ballot box. There is a sign that reads “General election ballot box” with a bald eagle.
A ballot box for the 2022 midterm elections in Harlingen, Texas. The state is the latest to withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center, a voting integrity group.Credit…Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald, via Associated Press
Texas said on Thursday that it would drop out of a bipartisan voter integrity group that once included about three dozen states, further destabilizing an organization that has been undermined by right-wing attacks and defections by Republican-led members.
The nonprofit group, the Electronic Registration Information Center, which is known as ERIC and helps maintain accurate voter rolls, confirmed to The New York Times that it had received a resignation letter on Thursday from officials in the nation’s second most populous state.
Alicia Phillips Pierce, an assistant secretary of state and a spokeswoman for the Texas secretary of state’s office, provided The Times with a copy of the letter, which did not give a specific reason for the decision. It will take effect in 91 days.
In response to follow-up questions, Ms. Pierce said in an email that rising membership costs because of declining enrollment had factored into the decision, along with a newly adopted state law that required Texas to pursue alternatives for crosschecking names on voter lists.
“As fewer states participated in ERIC, the costs were set to increase,” she said, indicating that the annual dues would be increasing to $175,000 from about $116,000. “Texas would be paying more for less data.”
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Texas is the largest member of the coalition, which has lost Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia from its ranks since last year.
The exodus of red states follows intensifying attacks from allies of former President Donald J. Trump, who have falsely claimed that the group is a voter registration vehicle for Democrats and that it received money from George Soros, the liberal billionaire and philanthropist, when it was created in 2012.
This year, Mr. Trump urged all Republican governors to sever ties with the group and claimed without basis in a post on his site, Truth Social, that it “pumps the rolls” for Democrats.
Shane Hamlin, the executive director of ERIC, focused on the group’s future.
“We will continue our work on behalf of our remaining member states in improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increasing access to voter registration for all eligible citizens,” Mr. Hamlin said in a statement.