ERIC’s priorities are clear: Bloat the voter rolls, don’t clean them.
“[ERIC] is the single most effective voter registration drive in the history of the United States, as far as I know. . . . None of this would be possible without the technology that Jeff [Jonas] gave to ERIC.”David Becker, 2018 (source)
The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is in full retreat, and leftists know it. Six states have withdrawn from the interstate compact in the past year, with at least three more—Iowa, Alaska, and Texas—on the way.
There’s a simple reason behind this red state exodus: ERIC was created to expand voter rolls, not clean them.
That ERIC forces member states to register eligible-but-unregistered individuals (EBUs) isn’t new—in fact, the New York Times boasted in 2018 that ERIC “was meant to both increase voter access and clean up voter rolls.” The Times also favorably quoted then-ERIC executive director John Lindback saying, “I have no doubt that more people are voting as a result of ERIC.”
ERIC founder David Becker himself bragged in a 2018 panel that “I estimate that somewhere between five and six million in just 6 years—by definition new because they weren’t on the list before—are now on the voter lists in the ERIC states.”
In 2019, Becker authored an academic article vaunting ERIC’s role in reaching out to “over 34 million eligible-but-unregistered voters,” some 5 million of whom were added to the voter rolls (and likely voted). “This is probably the single most effective voter registration effort in history, and it’s all been driven by the states themselves, in a completely nonpartisan way,” he wrote.
Amazingly, though, yesterday’s talking points are far-right conspiracy theories for today’s “progressive media.” Rushing to ERIC’s defense, the Washington Post recently alleged that:
Critics . . . have claimed that the group is actually a left-wing vehicle that shares sensitive voter data with liberal groups, encourages bloated and inaccurate rolls and enables the very fraud it is intended to stamp out. ERIC’s leaders deny these accusations.
They may deny them all they like, but the facts speak for themselves. We’ve thoroughly documented ERIC’s nondisclosure and data-sharing agreements with the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) dating back to at least January 2021 and likely far longer. I’ll let ERIC director Shane Hamlin explain: “CEIR signed an NDA [non-disclosure agreement] with ERIC for the purpose of assisting ERIC and ERIC members with independent research ERIC’s effectiveness.”
It’s worth recalling that David Becker founded CEIR upon leaving ERIC in 2016, and under his watch redistributed nearly $70 million from Mark Zuckerberg to the states to push voting “reforms” in the 2020 election. CEIR has received funding from the Spitzer Foundation (Eliot Spitzer’s family), the Ford Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation—all left-wing donors. This writer has yet to see a contribution from a conservative donor.
That includes $280,000 in 2017 from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, which passed the money through the Hopewell Fund, part of the Left’s largest “dark money” advocacy network run by Arabella Advisors.
CEIR also runs the Election Official Legal Defense Network, which spreads the false claim that Trump voters are threatening to murder election officials. Becker himself, in true Orwellian fashion, has laughably claimed that the 2020 election “was, by any measure, the most secure, transparent, scrutinized and verified election in American history.”
In May 2021 he told a panel that:
We’ve just been through an election where the losing candidate has been using lies or tiny administrative errors to try to leverage the idea that there was a massive integrity problem, even though this election was the single most secure, transparent, and verified election in American history.
. . . We want the loser’s supporters to feel as if the election had integrity, and we want to give as little ground to the loser’s supporters and the loser’s campaign to try to allege there wasn’t integrity.
Who’s Counting the Rolls?
As to “bloated and inaccurate rolls,” it’s self-evident that expanding voter lists make maintaining them harder.
More concretely, data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission reveals that in 2020 non-ERIC states engaged in more list maintenance—removing ineligible voters from the rolls—than did ERIC states.
Unfortunately, it isn’t surprising that ERIC states do so poorly (they’d likely look worse if New York and California were members). The organization’s bylaws make voter removal optional and tedious, whereas registering EBUs is mandatory for states to stay in ERIC. ERIC’s priorities are clear.
Defeating White Supremacy
Then there’s this revealing exchange from 2011. Asked whether ERIC’s voter registration requirement will disproportionately affect well-educated, white, Internet-using Americans to the detriment of minorities, Becker explained that “how this affects certain constituency groups [was] a concern for everyone involved in this project from the very beginning.” He continued:
One thing we know about the voter rolls nationwide [is that they’re] disproportionately white, disproportionately wealthy, and disproportionately old. That is true across all states and it’s something that many have noted and been concerned about.
Thus, the people that are unregistered are disproportionately the opposite—they’re disproportionately people of color, they’re disproportionately young, and they’re disproportionately economically disadvantaged.
Anything that reaches out to that 25 percent who’s eligible is going to lessen the disproportion that currently exists [emphasis added].
It’s important to understand that “disproportionality” is a buzzword for “progressive” activists, who unfailingly equate it with (systemic) racism. Combatting disproportionality is a plank of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) doctrine pushed by ideologues in the education system. It’s the root of racist affirmative action policies, Stacey Abrams’ demand for “election reforms” to “combat voter suppression,” and the Left’s obsession with so-called white supremacy, the ill-defined arch-enemy of equity activists.
So critics ought to take Becker at his word, and treat “disproportionality” as a dog-whistle for far-left ideology. The solution is obvious: Get out of ERIC.
Also read our groundbreaking report, “ERIC: The Best Data Money Can’t Buy”