Wes Allen finds vacant virtual office at ERIC address
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Special to the News
On February 15, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen made an unannounced visit to the published address of the headquarters of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) at 1201 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 600, in Washington, D.C.
Upon arriving at the address, Allen found that the location was actually the home of a virtual shared workspace and that no ERIC headquarters existed at the location.
“I was in D.C. for a meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of States and, since I was in town, I went to see the ERIC Headquarters,” Allen explained. “What I found was that there was no ERIC headquarters at that address. There were no employees. There were no servers. There was no ERIC presence of any kind. Instead, I found a virtual office that is rentable by the day. What it was missing was people, servers and any sign of the ERIC team.”
Despite publishing the Connecticut Avenue address as its official address on its website, the location is actually operated by Expansive, a company that offers virtual workspaces across the country and rents space by the day.
“Before I took office, Alabama transmitted the personal information of millions of our citizens to this private organization for the past several years. That information is stored on a server somewhere, but we do not know where. There is no ERIC operation at the location they claim is their office,” Allen said. “A lot of personal data and taxpayer money has been transferred to ERIC. Where is that data? Where are the employees? Where are the offices? Where are the computers?”
Allen served in the Alabama House of Representatives and as the probate judge of Pike County prior to being elected secretary of state. Election security has always been a priority, both as the senior elections official in Pike County and as a legislator. Since taking office, he has been meeting with state agencies to establish methods for ensuring that Alabama’s voter lists are clean and accurate.
Allen was elected as Alabama’s 54th secretary of state in November and was inaugurated in January. Withdrawing Alabama from ERIC was Allen’s first act as secretary of state.
The official withdrawal process takes 90 days, meaning Alabama will be officially withdrawn by mid-April. Allen has ceased transmitting any data from Alabama to ERIC.