Democrats and their media allies have long claimed the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, is a popular, nonpartisan venture designed to help clean state voter rolls. But if that’s true, why do primarily Democrat lawmakers feel the need to strong-arm their state election officials into join the program?
Founded in 2012 by far-left activist David Becker, ERIC is a widely used voter-roll “management” system that was “sold to states as a quick and easy way to update their voter rolls.” In reality, ERIC’s membership agreement places a higher priority on registering new voters than on cleaning up existing voter rolls.
The program inflates voter rolls by requiring member states to contact “eligible but unregistered” (EBU) residents to encourage them to register to vote. When a state joins ERIC, it is required to submit “all active and inactive voter files,” “all licensing or identification records contained in the motor vehicles database,” and any state files related to “voter registration functions.” Then, ERIC contrasts this data with that submitted by other member states.
After this process, ERIC compiles updated voter-roll information — including lists of voters who have multiple registrations, moved, or died, and lists of EBUs — and submits it to member states. As Victoria Marshall explained in these pages, ERIC only mandates that states engage in voter list maintenance “after a state has independently validated” the data it receives from the organization. In other words, “if a state does not independently validate the ERIC data, it is not required to clean its voter rolls.”
ERIC’s ties to Becker — who has since resigned from his role as a nonvoting ERIC board member — and its persistent refusal to alter its bylaws have prompted several GOP election officials to withdraw their states from the program throughout the past two years. Included in this growing list are Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, and several other states. Some of these jurisdictions, including Virginia, Ohio, and Alabama, have since formed separate interstate voter data-sharing pacts to replace the functions ERIC performs.
Forced Relationships Are Not Healthy Relationships
As legacy media’s dishonest hit pieces against ERIC’s critics fail to stop GOP-led states from leaving the organization, Democrat state lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands. In recent weeks, leftist legislators throughout the country have introduced legislation to force their state governments to apply to become members of ERIC.
In Virginia, Democrat Del. Mark Sickles introduced HB 1177, which seeks to require the state’s elections commissioner to rejoin ERIC by filing “an application for the Commonwealth’s membership” with the group. The bill furthermore requires the state to “promptly execute any membership agreement and pay any membership fees required” once its ERIC membership is approved and “take any steps necessary” to maintain its standing with the program.
Meanwhile, New York Democrats are close to mandating that their state join a “multistate voter list maintenance organization” like ERIC, which the bill notes by name. S6173B has already passed the Senate and is currently awaiting committee action in the state Assembly.
Similar bills in other states are receiving support from Republican lawmakers. In Kansas, the GOP-controlled House Committee on Elections introduced a measure (HB 2116) earlier this month that would require the Sunflower State to join ERIC. The bill was introduced at the request of Rep. Paul Waggoner, a Republican.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Ralph Boehm joined his Democrat colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation (HB 1557) forcing New Hampshire to join ERIC. Neither Kansas nor New Hampshire are currently members of the program.
The Truth About ERIC
So-called “journalists” who dismiss criticisms of ERIC as “conspiracy theories” pushed by “MAGA Republicans” refuse to acknowledge another of the organization’s red flags: its ties to the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), a Becker-founded nonprofit responsible for interfering in the 2020 election to help Democrats.
Leading up to the 2020 contest, CEIR and the Center for Tech and Civic Life collectively received hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. These “Zuckbucks” were then dumped into local election offices across the country to advance insecure, Democrat-backed voting policies, such as mass mail-in voting and the widespread use of ballot drop boxes. Analyses have shown these grants were heavily skewed toward Democrat municipalities, especially in swing states, effectively making it a giant Democrat get-out-the-vote operation.
As The Federalist previously reported and communication records have shown, CEIR enjoys a transactional relationship with ERIC, which submits the voter-roll data it receives from states to CEIR. Upon receiving this information, CEIR curates “targeted mailing lists and sends them back to the states to use for voter registration outreach.” In other words, CEIR — an organization engaged in highly partisan, left-wing activism — is developing lists of potential (and likely Democrat) voters for states to register in the lead-up to major elections.
Contrary to the narrative pushed by corporate media and other Democrats, ERIC is not a “nonpartisan” venture simply helping states clean up their voter rolls. It’s a program designed to juice voter rolls and strengthen Democrats’ electioneering machine. The fact that Democrats are the ones primarily backing these laws should tell Republicans supporting similar proposals everything they need to know about just how partisan ERIC really is.