A full rout at the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), starting with its founder.
If headlines are to be believed, the end is nigh for the Left’s biggest data collection machine.
Just days before a critical meeting of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), founder and unofficial spokesman David Becker announced his departure from the group’s board, a position he’s held since at least 2016.
“Today, I informed [ERIC] that I will not accept renomination as a non-voting member of the board when my term expires this week,” he tweeted on March 14, bitterly attacking ERIC critics as “election deniers” who are “fueled by disinformation by those who want our democracy to fail,” “all R-led [Republican-led].” He added that “the attacks on ERIC are part of a larger campaign to weaken democracy.”
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
“Democracy” here is properly translated “rule by Democrats.”
Becker is a partisan elections lawyer who previously worked at the far-left group People for the American Way, created by TV producer Norman Lear in the 1980s to fight Evangelicals and seat “progressive” judges on America’s courts. During his time at the U.S. Justice Department Becker was seen by colleagues as an “unethical,” “hard-core leftist” who “couldn’t stand conservatives.” Today he falsely accuses his critics of threatening election officials and spreading “election denialism.”
Yet this same operative also founded and served as the face of the supposedly neutral ERIC, itself a product of the left-wing funder Pew Charitable Trusts (through the latter’s now-defunct project, Pew Center on the States).
Since at least 2010, Democratic operatives have believed that the path to permanent majorities is to massively expand America’s voting electorate through nonprofit voter registration. ERIC was the key to securing this invaluable information.
As our new report reveals, Pew—with funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations—created ERIC in 2012 with the goal of feeding the activist Left with information on 65 million eligible-but-unregistered individuals nationwide, data that was off-limits to campaigns and companies. Pew called this project “voter registration modernization,” and through ERIC set about convincing states they needed to warehouse sensitive voter data in a central warehouse to “fix” their voter rolls—a service ERIC alone could provide—conveniently bypassing federal privacy laws.
For the first decade of its life ERIC was wildly successful. Under Becker and his successor, Shane Hamlin, the compact drew in 32 states, including Republican-run Florida and Texas. In 2016, Becker left ERIC to found the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), a left-wing group that promotes vote-by-mail and early voting policies. In 2020, CEIR distributed some $70 million from liberal billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to states, partially funding Maryland’s get-out-the-vote campaign in Democratic counties. Yet Becker remained a non-voting member of ERIC’s board for years, a position carved out in the group’s bylaws.
Fleeing the Fight
ERIC’s fortunes rapidly changed when election integrity advocates began to dig into ERIC’s origins in late 2020, revealing that it requires member states to run taxpayer-funded registration drives intended to expand their voter rolls.
Heather Honey, founder of the watchdog group Verity Vote, exposed ERIC’s data-sharing agreement with CEIR—showing that the compact divulged personal information of unregistered individuals to Becker’s private, unaccountable organization.
Last year, a bipartisan group of states met to propose reforms to ERIC. (They’re expected to demand the reforms again in the compact’s upcoming March 17 meeting.) The goal was to give states a free hand in choosing which ERIC services they wanted, require states to address multi-state double-voting, drop its voter registration mandate, remove “ex-officio membership positions from ERIC’s bylaws”—almost certainly a reference to Becker—and ensure only ERIC member states have control of the organization’s operations and procedures.
ERIC, following Becker’s lead, refused their recommendations.
Louisiana, one of the first states to join ERIC, announced it was leaving the compact in January 2022 citing concerns about “misuse of our voters’ personal information” and the failure to investigate “voter fraud.”
Alabama followed a year later, the result of a campaign promise by now-Secretary of State Wes Allen.
Then in March Florida, West Virginia, and Missouri announced they were also leaving ERIC, citing the group’s “unnecessary mailings,” “partisanship in voter registration and list maintenance,” and failed efforts “to reform ERIC through attempts to secure data and eliminate ERIC’s partisan tendencies, all of which were rejected.”
“We have lost confidence in ERIC,” Florida’s secretary of state explained.
Now, with Texas, Alaska, and Ohio intimating that they too will soon exit unless serious reforms are made, ERIC’s future looks grim. David Becker’s resignation is doubtless a symbolic withdrawal meant to stop the exodus of states through the guise of reform. Actually reforming the organization, however, would defeat its original purpose: Serving the activist Left.
For more, see our report “ERIC: The Best Data Money Can’t Buy“