A report commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts to evaluate the performance of the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, has found that states using the system improved their election performance in 2012 on several key measures compared with non-ERIC states. The study was conducted by the Research Triangle Institute in conjunction with Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.
The report evaluates the first phase of ERIC’s functionality, which used state motor vehicle records to identify and contact millions of eligible but unregistered citizens in the participating states, encourage them to register to vote, and provide clear instructions on the most efficient way to register. The second phase, which focuses on voter list maintenance, particularly updating outdated and no-longer-valid records, will be evaluated in 2014.
ERIC states improved on several measures of election performance compared with non-ERIC states:
ERIC surpasses current data matching practices
Cost to participate in ERIC is not prohibitive
No significant burden on staff time for ERIC participation
ERIC offers indirect benefits
ERIC’s benefits will improve over time as more states join
The researchers concluded that, “in some ways, the effects of ERIC will not be fully realized for several years. Registering new voters and cleaning voter rolls are iterative processes that involve repeated data matching, learning, and actions by state officials. In addition, ERIC’s ability to add ‘context’ improves as more data are incorporated.”
For more information, visit the Electronic Registration Information Center.