It’s Time To Set the Record Straight on ERIC’s Lies

by | Apr 13, 2023 | Election Integrity

Activists have unprecedented access to data on 200 million Americans, a goldmine for campaigns and election operatives. Yet the “progressive” media refuses to hold them accountable.

Originally posted at RealClearPolitics on April 11, 2023

If the Left ignores you, keep digging. When the Left tries to gag you, you’re onto something. Nothing better illustrates that fact than the recent battle over the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which goes to the very heart of our election system.

ERIC was supposedly designed to help states cull their lists of voters who’ve died, moved, or otherwise become ineligible. That’s a noble cause – yet data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission shows that non-ERIC states do a better job of removing ineligible voters from their rolls than do ERIC’s members.

Perhaps that’s because ERIC doesn’t force members to actually clean their rolls – the very thing we’re told it was created to do. In fact, it makes this process optional and surprisingly tedious.

When Republican secretaries of state and conservative watchdog groups questioned this, they immediately came under fire from partisans posing as reporters, who began denigrating skeptics as “far-right conspiracy theorists” and “election deniers” for asking ERIC tough questions. One wonders whether the activists at the New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press even recognize genuine investigative journalism these days.

Here’s the truth: ERIC was created to expand the nation’s voter rolls, not clean them.

Take it from ERIC founder and leftist elections lawyer David Becker, who bragged in 2018 that “[ERIC] is the single most effective voter registration drive in the history of the United States,” responsible for adding, in ERIC states, “between five and six million [new voters] in just six years.”

What Becker and the rest of the professional Left know is that the Democratic Party’s future hinges on mass voter registration. The goal is to create a new electorate altogether, tailor-made to suit the elite Left’s interests.

That’s why cynical political operatives are more interested in ferreting out likely Democratic voters in swing states than they are in convincing existing voters to support far-left candidates. “Progressive” elites are weary of regular Americans and their traditional values; it’s time to replace them with more pliable voters.

ERIC is the Left’s best tool for finding those eligible-but-unregistered individuals. Becker and Co. may be reluctant to admit it when selling their services to red states, but Democrats are positively giddy about ERIC’s potential to balloon voter rolls.

In 2018, the New York Times applauded ERIC because it “was meant to both increase voter access and clean up voter rolls,” and favorably quoted then-ERIC Executive Director John Lindback saying: “I have no doubt that more people are voting as a result of ERIC.”

Now the Times says that only “election deniers” believe that “false claim.” (Perhaps they were simply for it before they were against it.)

“California joining ERIC prior to the 2024 election would likely result in at least 500,000 new registered voters and perhaps up to a million,” Democratic Assemblywoman Gail Pellerin recently boasted. And here we thought the Golden State wanted to clean up its notoriously bad voter file.

ERIC membership is far from cheap. Virginia, for example, spends roughly $300,000 per year to be an ERIC member. Only $39,000 of that is dues – the rest largely goes to registration mailing costs. Those are irresponsible and unnecessary public expenses, unless you’re a get-out-the-vote operative.

Then there’s David Becker’s connection to the leftist Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), an advocacy group that took $70 million from Mark Zuckerberg in part to fuel ERIC’s registration requirement in certain states, conveniently close to the 2020 election.

Amazingly, the Washington Post holds that claims of ERIC sharing voter data with CEIR are “without evidence,” ignoring the data-sharing agreements exposed by public records requests for years – only a simple Google search away.

CEIR has unprecedented access to data on 200 million registered and eligible-but-unregistered individuals, a goldmine for campaigns and election operatives. Yet the “watchdog” media is less interested in covering this story than in covering up for Becker’s outfit. Who’s holding them accountable?

But those are just this journalist’s complaints. Let the secretaries of state familiar with ERIC’s inner workings explain why they withdrew from the compact.

Ohio wanted ERIC’s services to be available “‘a la carte,’ in the manner which [states] believe best serves their local interests.” Missouri sought an end to ERIC’s “unnecessary mailings.” West Virginia questioned ERIC’s “partisanship in voter registration and list maintenance, much less in the administration of our nation’s elections.” And Florida tried for over a year to “reform ERIC through attempts to secure data and eliminate ERIC’s partisan tendencies, all of which were rejected.” After considering what was best for residents, they opted to leave.

Are these unreasonable concerns? ERIC must think so, since instead of answering them, the group has resorted to the Left’s preferred tactic: shutting down debate. Conservatives were barred from the group’s most recent (Kremlin-style) press conference in March, perhaps because ERIC doesn’t want to be bothered with scrutiny. Becker himself writes off ERIC critics as being “fueled by disinformation” because they “want our democracy to fail.”

Big words. In truth, states don’t need ERIC to clean their voter rolls; they already have the tools to do so. Consider ERIC’s central appeal: identifying double-voters. Under the National Voter Registration and Help America Vote Acts, states must meet a high minimum standard before they can remove a voter from the lists. At best, ERIC data merely informs that already ongoing process; at worst it’s unusable. Either way, it’s superfluous. As for sharing data, ex-ERIC states are already setting up pipelines with one another – no need for a middleman.

“Progressives” do get one thing right: This is a conflict over the future of our elections. Americans have a choice to make. To the left lies corruption, chaos, and lawlessness. To the right, the restoration of what made this republic great – truth, righteousness, honor, and a commitment to good citizenship.

To those with eyes to see, the decision couldn’t be clearer – we must escape ERIC.

Hayden Ludwig is the director of policy research for Restoration of America and the author of ERIC: the Best Data Money Can’t Buy.

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