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Alabama secretary of state unveils new voter roll database

Allen withdrew from a national voter integrity system and created a new version that implements some of the same features.

Secretary of State Wes Allen gives as an inaugural speech during the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 16, 2023. Inauguration Committee/Bryan Carter

On Monday, Secretary of State Wes Allen announced a new voter roll system called the Alabama Voter Integrity Database (AVID) to be implemented in Alabama. 

The unveiling of AVID is a result of Allen withdrawing Alabama from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) system in January. Allen has followed through and created a new voting system that implements some of the same features as ERIC.

“AVID is a four-prong system that my team and I have spent the last eight months developing,” Allen said, “to help us maintain a clean and accurate registered voter list.”

The first prong will be a partnership between Allen’s office and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) to identify registered voters in Alabama who have moved or obtained a driver’s license or a non-driver identification in another state. According to Allen, his office has already found over 8,000 individuals who have received driver’s licenses from other states but remain listed as active voters on Alabama’s voter registration roll.

The second prong of AVID will analyze the National Change of Address List to identify voters who have relocated to another state and should be removed from Alabama’s voter list. Allen said they have identified 30,000 voters who have notified the U.S. Postal Service that they have moved from Alabama to another state.

Allen said that the third prong of the new voter system is the release of memoranda to bordering states to exchange data regarding voter lists. The secretaries of state for Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi have all signed memoranda of understanding and cooperation with Alabama.

“This will be an incredible tool in detecting voter fraud and protecting our elections,” Allen said.

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The fourth prong of AVID will be an analysis of the Social Security Death Index to identify individuals who are on Alabama’s voter list but have died. Deceased voters will be immediately removed from the state’s voter roll per federal law.

Voters identified by the other three prongs will be placed inactive on Alabama’s voter rolls and kept there for four years pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act. Individuals with inconsistent information will be sent a postcard by the secretary of state’s office asking them to update their information or withdraw from Alabama’s voter roll. And voters who show up at the ballot box will be forced to update their voter registration information before being allowed to vote.

“The implementation of AVID to help maintain our voter rolls is incredibly important,” Allen said. “We are the first state in the nation to implement a system like this and I am confident that we, as a result of AVID, will have the cleanest voter rolls we have ever had.”

Allen campaigned on withdrawing from the ERIC system, even making an unfounded accusation that the database was funded by billionaire George Soros, a frequent conspiracy target by those on the right. 

Previous Secretary of State John Merrill defended ERIC while criticizing Allen’s statements.

“This continued narrative of ERIC being a George Soros system is untrue. ERIC was not founded nor funded by George Soros, and to claim otherwise is either dishonest or misinformed,” Merril said.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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