A day after being sworn in, Alabama’s new Secretary of State, former House member and Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen, achieved a benchmark many politicians never reach – he kept a campaign promise.
During the campaign, Allen promised to withdraw Alabama from the Electronic Registration Information Center, a non-profit organization that links 32 states and the District of Columbia by collecting voter rolls and sharing information that would make the election process more secure.
Allen, who clings to the unproven allegations that the 2020 election was rife with fraud, made election security the cornerstone of his campaign to become the state’s top election official. However, withdrawing from ERIC would seem to undermine that stance. Allen characterized the organization as heavily Democratic and funded by George Soros, a Hungarian-born billionaire and convenient scapegoat for the far right.
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However, ERIC is funded by member states, which are charged a fee to join and an annual assessment for membership. The political leaning of the member states is roughly divided among Democratic and Republican states, and the stated purpose of the group, which shares information about voters who have moved, registered in another area, or died, helps keep voter rolls in member states more accurate and up-to-date.
Even outgoing Secretary of State John Merrill, also a Republican, questioned the wisdom of Allen’s pledge to withdraw from the organization.
To be fair, Allen is less than a week into his new role and deserves the opportunity to create his own strategy to maintain accurate voter rolls and election security in Alabama without shared information of 60 percent of the nation’s state governments.
Regardless, a sound decision is based on research and fact, not baseless conspiratorial suspicions.