BREAKING: With Texas Out, ERIC’s Future is Grim

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Election Integrity

The Lone Star state becomes the ninth to leave ERIC. Election integrity advocates, rejoice.

A red state exodus that began last year with Louisiana has earned its most recent member: Texas.

Yesterday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law a bill (SB 1070) authorizing his state to withdraw from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a partisan data collector for Democrats posing as a voter roll maintenance outfit. Texas joins Alabama, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, and Iowa in vacating ERIC; Alaska, unfortunately, cut a deal to remain in ERIC in May.

ERIC was incubated in 2012 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a notable left-wing funder, ostensibly to help states maintain their voter files, which are notoriously inaccurate. The idea was simple: ERIC would warehouse states’ voter roll data—sourced from numerous federal and state agencies normally unobtainable by private companies, including motor vehicle departments—and find ineligible and double-registered voters for states to remove.

That was the cover story, anyway.

Restoration News has thoroughly exposed ERIC’s true purpose: Inflating voter rolls by forcing states to register eligible-but-unregistered individuals, and funneling sensitive voter data into partisan registration groups. No wonder that non-ERIC states have cleaner rolls than do ERIC members.

Don’t miss our groundbreaking report—ERIC: The Best Data Money Can’t Buy

This is an electoral goldmine that has helped campaign operatives and get-out-the-vote groups find and register new Democrats in swing states across the country.

The worst offender is the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), whose founder, David Becker, previously led ERIC and until recently sat on its board (a position specifically carved out in ERIC’s bylaws for him). We know CEIR was created to harness ERIC data for political ends. We’ve also documented CEIR’s absurd “democracy summit” in May, when Democrat attendees blasted congressional Republicans as “election deniers” and “fascists” who were “desecrating the halls of Congress.”

They’re scared, and they should be—this is one area in which conservatives are taking ground while “progressives” are on the retreat.

Trench Warfare

So who’s left?

Start with Alaska, where election director Carol Beecher told the Republic-controlled legislature in March that ERIC was expensive and suggested that the state could do without it. But Alaska isn’t married to ERIC; the decision to remain was “until another tool [becomes] available that can provide the same or enhanced services” as ERIC.

Republicans might consider a legislative option in Alaska, as they did in Texas. Grassroots groups can also point out that every other state to exit ERIC faced the same replacement issue. But every state already has the tools necessary to clean their own voter rolls. Their solution was to create in-house data exchanges that integrate with other states, no third party needed. Alaska can do the same.

Look to Arizona, where the Republican legislature is battling Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs for the future of state elections. In May, Hobbs vetoed four election integrity bills, one of which would’ve removed Arizona from ERIC.

Then there’s Oklahoma, where Republicans passed a bill in May barring the state from joining private organizations requiring member states to register eligible-but-unregistered individuals (i.e. ERIC). They’re ensuring that leftists can’t exploit loopholes; other conservative states should follow their lead.

Ruby-red South Carolina and Utah are the next obvious targets. There’s no reason for them not to withdraw immediately.

Kentucky is red state with a Democratic Governor, Andy Beshear, who’s battled the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly over abortion bills. For a model they might look to Louisiana—the first state to withdraw from ERIC—whose Democratic Governor, John Bel Edwards, was recently persuaded into signing a bill banning “Zuck bucks” forever. Both states have Republican secretaries of state with authority to withdraw from ERIC.

Local groups might nudge Kentucky Secretary Michael Adams into vacating ERIC or, barring that, include a provision for ERIC withdrawal in a future election integrity bill.

But the dimmest bulb in the drawer must be Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who’s all but pledged to remain in ERIC ‘til Hell freezes over. Unfortunately for Georgians, as a battleground their state has the most to lose by remaining an ERIC member—it’s Stacey Abrams’ voter registration machine, Fair Fight, that has turned Georgia into a swing state, after all.

Raffensperger and David Becker are apparently personal friends. CEIR has celebrated him with its “Defender of Democracy” award for “standing up to efforts to undermine the democratic process” in 2020 (no doubt by his fellow Republicans). Raffensperger was also a panelist at CEIR’s disgraceful “democracy summit” last month, where he explained that conservatives “have trouble accepting reality” about the warped 2020 election because “misinformation and disinformation have been baked into people’s DNA.”

Georgia deserves better than that.

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