Newly acquired public records reveal that there’s much more to the exact relationship between the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) than meets the eye.
Emails obtained by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (and archived here) show Rhode Island Elections Director Rob Rock “working with CEIR” “to facilitate the secure transfer of . . . ERIC member data” to this private, third-party organization run by ERIC founder and ex-board member David Becker.
On January 12, 2021, Rock sought clarification from ERIC executive director Shane Hamlin on sharing data with CEIR in an email titled “EBU Follow-Up Data Request.” (“EBU” refers to eligible-but-unregistered individuals or residents who lawfully may but have not yet registered to vote.)
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Later that day, Hamlin replied: “Yes, you’re good to continue working with CEIR. 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 unclear when this agreement was signed, and whether ERIC has similar agreements with other third parties.)
“This should be the same process you used to provide the EBU list to CEIR,” Hamlin added. From Rock’s reply, it’s likely that transfers of EBU data follow the usual 60-day data transfer requirements outlined in the group’s bylaws, in which states send all of their voter list information to the data warehouse.
These revelations, while shocking, establish a pattern with documents retrieved from Georgia. A September 2020 email obtained via public records request by Verity Vote reveals a complex process wherein Georgia elections officials transmit data through ERIC to CEIR, generates a list of eligible-but-unregistered individuals to target with registration mailers (paid for by states). That list is then transmitted from CEIR back to ERIC, and finally on to the states.
Questions Upon Questions
Eligible-but-unregistered individuals are the key to ERIC’s value as a data aggregator for the activist Left.
As I’ve documented, Democratic strategists have pinned their hopes for future majorities on mass voter registration in swing states, spending hundreds of millions to transform America’s electorate by registering likely Democratic voters—minorities, Millennials, single women, etc.
ERIC is their best bet to discover where these hard-to-reach individuals live. Unlike traditional data vendors or campaigns, ERIC has access to personal information protected by federal privacy laws—information that has been transmitted to the partisan CEIR since at least 2020 (and probably much longer).
That’s probably why CEIR reports “limited direct lobbying of state government officials to encourage passage of legislation to permit membership in ERIC” in its latest IRS Form 990 disclosure.
Which other organizations does ERIC send this information to? Which organizations does CEIR pass it along to?
Journalists and election integrity researchers have sought this crucial information for years, yet many in “progressive” media seem totally uninterested in asking these important questions.
Worse, major liberal news outlets spread election disinformation by asserting that ERIC and CEIR have no connection whatsoever.
It’s no secret that both organizations were founded and run by David Becker, a partisan elections lawyer whose loathing of conservatives and so-called “election deniers” is known far and wide. Becker created ERIC in 2012 ostensibly to help states clean their voter rolls; in 2016, he left to found CEIR to promote election “reforms,” including vote-by-mail and early voting, yet remained a non-voting member of ERIC’s board until March 2023.
That a known Democratic operative with a partisan agenda created a politically neutral group, ERIC, was always hard to believe. Our groundbreaking report, The Best Data Money Can’t Buy, reveals the truth: ERIC was formed to funnel election-winning voter data to leftist groups, helping to turn red states (like Georgia) purple.
Yet many on the Left refuse to engage with the facts, preferring to ridicule skeptics as “far-right” conspiracy theorists.
The Washington Post says that claims of ERIC sharing voter data with CEIR are “without evidence,” ignoring the data-sharing agreements exposed by public records requests.
The Post editorial board has railed against the “lies about ERIC [that] began bubbling up from the fever swamps” in recent years, chalking up the decision of two states—Louisiana and Alabama—to exit ERIC as a fiat from President Donald Trump to “bully elections officials.” Unmentioned were both states’ legitimate concerns about ERIC’s forced voter registration requirement, the misuse of residents’ personal information, Becker’s partisan past, and ERIC’s failure to compel members to tackle double-voting and voter fraud.
The New York Times calls CEIR “another nonpartisan group that has been attacked by election deniers,” revealing a breathtaking ignorance of CEIR’s policy objectives, left-wing donors, and background.
NPR at least admits that “some on the right have pointed to [Becker’s] work” at CEIR—that is, distributing nearly $70 million from liberal billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to push election “reforms” in 2020—“as evidence that Becker is a liberal activist,” yet proceeds to slander criticism of ERIC as “a disinformation campaign” against election integrity, of all things.
We know that in 2011 George Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society provided seed funding to Pew Charitable Trusts for the “voter registration modernization initiative” that ultimately became ERIC. This fact has never been disputed, yet the Post and Texas Tribune pretend that it’s merely “unfounded speculation.” More likely is that the liberal press no longer recognizes true investigative journalism.
We’ve already done the hard work for the Times, Post, and any other news outlet that cares to report on ERIC, rather than shield it from scrutiny.
Restoration of America has compiled a growing list of tough questions for ERIC that lawmakers and watchdog groups ought to ensure get answered. We’ve carefully dug into ERIC’s origins and troubling ties to groups responsible for crafting the Left’s electoral strategy through mass voter registration. More is yet to come.
Americans want to know the truth about how their elections are run. It’s time the nation’s press decided to join them.
A guest contribution by Hayden Ludwig of Restoration of America, with permission from guest writer and author Patrice Johnson.