John Merrill initiates program to increase Alabama voter registration

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More Alabamians will be voting in the upcoming municipal elections and the general election in November if Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has anything to do with it.

Merrill announced Thursday approximately 1.2 million eligible Alabamians who either are not registered to vote or in need of updating voter registration information will receive a Mail-In Voter Registration Application thanks to the state’s new partnership with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

ERIC — whose sole mission is assisting states to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration for all eligible citizens — will identify eligible citizens who are not yet registered to vote using a combination of public and private data to more accurately identify voters who have moved or died allowing voter rolls to be appropriately updated. Current, unregistered Alabama residents will receive a voter registration application in the mail from the secretary of state’s office following identification by ERIC.

Those in Alabama receiving the application can register to vote or update information by mailing their form back in to their local Board of Registrars, visiting alabamavotes.gov/vote or downloading the Vote for Alabama app.

“I would also like to thank ERIC and the Pew Charitable Trusts for ensuring this effort was made possible. Because of their assistance, voter registration is now as efficient and effective as ever,” said Secretary Merrill. “As long as I am Alabama’s secretary of state, we will continue our innovative efforts to ensure that every eligible U.S. citizen that is a resident of Alabama is exercising their right to vote.”

Seven states pioneered the formation of ERIC in 2012: Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Washington D.C., Oregon, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Minnesota joined in 2014. Alabama, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in 2015. Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wisconsin in 2016.

Since ERIC’s creation, the organization has helped states identify over three million out-of-date registrations, including:

  • 12 million unregistered voters identified
  • 623,358 voters who moved across state lines, but did not update their registration
  • 2,790,051 voters who moved within their state, but did not update their registration
  • 54,700 duplicate registrations
  • 150,062 deceased voters
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