By Chris Wright, 2/23/23
Grassroots activists continue to raise questions about ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center, and authorities are beginning to respond.
On the face of things, ERIC is a private organization that helps its 32 member states clean up and maintain their voter rolls. It compares state voter registration data against motor vehicle licensing information and the Social Security master death file. Then it tells states which voters are dead, have moved out of state, or are registered to vote in more than one state. Critics say ERIC is, at root, nothing more than a partisan get-out-the-vote drive for Democrats.
Louisiana withdrew from ERIC last month, citing “concerns raised by citizens, government watchdog organizations and media reports about potential questionable funding sources and that possibly partisan actors may have access to ERIC network data for political purposes.”
More recently, Alabama left ERIC. The new Secretary of State said he did not want a private group having access to voter data, including driver’s license numbers, contact information, and partial social security numbers including those of minors.
In addition to partisan connections and privacy concerns, critics also say ERIC does a bad job, producing bloated voter rolls in member states. Florida, for example, is a member of ERIC but has more than 100 percent of all possible citizens of voting age on its rolls.
Critics point to ERIC’s initial funding which was provided by leftist super-hero George Soros. They also point to an interlocking directorate in the person of David Becker, a high-profile Democrat election lawyer who is the architect of ERIC. Becker started at the left-wing group People for the American Way and was part of the Obama Justice Department. He is described as a “hardcore Leftist” who “couldn’t stand conservatives.” He went on to create the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) which distributed almost $70 million in private Zuckerberg money through official election offices to reach voters primarily in Democrat counties in the 2020 presidential election. Becker is still a member of ERIC’s board.
Lawsuits have been filed against four jurisdictions for allowing ERIC to block public inspection of voter registration records. ERIC’s contract with states requires them to hide the information from the public, in violation of federal law, the suits allege.
ERIC is also the subject of other lawsuits for sharing valuable and detailed voter registration data like phone numbers from four states with at least one outside leftist group, a practice not authorized in federal law. ERIC requires members to identify and register unregistered voters and – this is the heart of the matter – they all turn out to be likely Democrat voters: minorities, students, etc. According to the lawsuits, ERIC is shipping voter data to – this will sound familiar – CEIR, the leftist group I mentioned earlier involved in goosing Democrat voter registration with Zuckerbucks. Critics say ERIC data, developed with taxpayer money, is helping the Democrats microtarget their most likely supporters who are not yet registered to vote.
Conservative activists continue to campaign against ERIC in Michigan, Virginia, and elsewhere. However, there is a practical problem: finding a good substitute. People suggest different things, but an obvious alternative has yet to emerge. When ERIC was created, it displaced a then-new state-run interstate cross-check system for maintaining voter rolls. State-run systems will be more expensive, but will pay big dividends in terms of election integrity, so they just might be the way to go.
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