Alabama unveils homegrown AVID system to maintain state voter rolls
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Wes Allen promised while campaigning to become Alabama’s secretary of state that, should he be elected, he would immediately pull the state out of ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center.
Allen was swept into office last November and made the ERIC withdrawal official. On Monday, the secretary of state announced ERIC’s replacement, a first-in-the-nation system called AVID, short for the Alabama Voter Integrity Database, which was developed in Alabama over the last eight months.
ERIC provides reports to states of voters that have died, moved, possible duplicate registrations, and voters who have potentially voted twice. AVID will essentially do the same thing, but all the data will be kept in-state. Allen said the system is Alabama-based and no information is submitted to a private entity like ERIC. He called the system’s data secure and said it is maintained on a computer server owned by the State of Alabama.
Under the system, the secretary of state says Alabama has implemented a “four-prong system” that will allow the state to clean up its voter rolls and reduce voter fraud.
First, Allen’s office has formed a cooperative agreement with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to identify registered voters in Alabama who have moved and obtained a driver’s license or non-driver ID in another state.
Second, the state is now comparing the National Change of Address list to Alabama’s active voter registration list, which Allen says has allowed his office to identify more than 30,000 active registered voters who have notified the United States Postal Service that they’ve moved to an address outside of Alabama.
Third, Allen says Alabama is building partnerships with other states to compare each others’ voter lists. The memorandum of understanding is now in place with each state that borders Alabama, as well as Arkansas and Allen expects reach agreements with other states in the future.
And fourth, Allen says Alabama is, for the first time, looking at the Social Security Death Index, which will allow the state to identify registered voters who have died, regardless of what state they were in at the time of their death, and immediately remove them from the voter rolls.
While the fourth prong of the system will result in immediate removal of the matched individual from the voter rolls, that’s not the case for the other three. Allen noted that, in those situations, the person’s record will be placed on the state’s voter database in an inactive status, as required by the National Voter Registration Act.
Under federal law, the inactive names but be maintained for four years before they can be officially removed from the registered voters list. Those inactive voters can become active again if they update their voter registration.
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