An interesting report from TPM.
The Alan Vera Memorial Act both forces the state to leave ERIC, and also to find a replacement vendor — one that can do what ERIC does with a start-up cost of $100,000 or less, and at a cost of $1 per voter status change identified.
Texas’ departure from ERIC comes after a slew of other red states left the network earlier this year amid a pressure campaign from right-wing media and voter fraud conspiracy theorists who alleged that the network, in theory a voter fraud proponent’s best friend, was in fact an activist group funded by George Soros.
But the Texas law comes with a unique twist: it forces the Texas Secretary of State to hire a “private sector data system” to replace ERIC, opening the state up to jostling for that position from some of the same people who helped paint ERIC as a failure to begin with.
“There are a lot of state and federal laws that prevent private vendors from getting that kind of matching criteria,” Daniel Griffith, a Senior Policy Director at Secure Democracy USA, told TPM, saying that it would be “theoretically very difficult.”
Valentine is one of several people who claim that ERIC is fraudulent and are offering up solutions. These people all make versions of the same claim: their systems keep voter rolls cleaner than ERIC does, do it more cheaply, and from the outside. In addition to Valentine, Arizona election denier Mark Finchem is reportedly working on his own ERIC alternative, while a mysterious platform called “Eagle AI” has also been mentioned among right-wingers.
Experts say that none of these efforts have a real chance at success.
The key to ERIC, experts said, is that it relies on data from multiple state governments, which are only available to those governments, to scan for duplicate voters. Without that shared data, it would be virtually impossible for an outside vendor to do what the system does.
Valentine isn’t without connections to the broader Trump universe. John Eastman, the Trump attorney who articulated legal theories in service of the former President’s effort to reverse his 2020 loss, tapped Valentine for a deposition in his upcoming effort to convince the state of California not to disbar him. Valentine told TPM he’s already sat for the interview. Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and voter fraud showman, paid for Valentine’s project, called Omega4America, to analyze two state’s voter rolls, he said.
Alan Vera, the namesake of the Texas anti-ERIC bill, also worked with Valentine, he told TPM. At a February meeting of a Texas task force designed to tackle ERIC, Vera suggested that the group consider using Valentine’s software as a replacement.
Valentine offered in the call with TPM to set up his “fractal programming” system for free for Texas.
“I could implement our system for the entire state of Texas in about two weeks,” he said.
The Texas Secretary of State has other options. The agency said in March that it was appointing an official to develop its own, in-house version of ERIC.
See here for the most recent post, and here for all of my ERIC blogging. The story notes that what will likely happen is more lawsuits against the state for doing a shoddy and almost certainly discriminatory job “cleaning up” the voter rolls, a subject with which we are very well acquainted. I would just add that it is also likely the Lege will have to grapple with this failure and sheepishly take some action to mitigate it, which as my first link shows is also something we are familiar with. One way or another, it’s going to be a mess.