ERIC, for those who aren’t aware, is the Electronic Registration Information Center, that many states use to help “clean” their rolls. Unfortunately, many states never remove names despite deaths, moves out of state (10% of people move annually) and other disqualifying reasons. Most states due to federal laws in the National Voter Registration Act don’t remove someone from their rolls until 2 election cycles transpire or the person specifically notifies them in writing to remove them from the state voter rolls.
Most troubling is that ERIC shares sensitive personal information with various non-profit groups who then target potential voters for “get out the vote” campaigns or to thump certain candidates. Over the past year, several states (Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia) have decided to say “adios!” to ERIC and perform their voter registration administration in house or utilize other options. South Carolina should consider following suit.
A history of ERIC
Eric was founded in 2012 as a membership organization across states to help clean the voter rolls. Original funding came from George Soros Open Society. John Lindback, Jeff Jones, and David Becker were involved and each one of these men has connections to Democratic elected officials and to Pew Charitable Trusts. These are partisan democrats who are involved in collecting voter info all over the United States. In fact, Becker ultimately founded the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) in 2016 and was responsible for distributing the “zuck buck” grants for the 2020 election. CEIR received roughly $70M from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2020.
Recently, the watchdog group Verity Vote discovered that ERIC maintains a data-sharing agreement with CEIR, which CEIR allegedly uses to generate lists of eligible voters to target.
According to Verity Vote: “The member agreement does not prevent ERIC from sharing the data with “agents, contractors or subcontractors.” There is no requirement for ERIC to disclose the names of the entities with whom they share this private information. The agreement prohibits member states from
disclosing any information yet places no limits on when and where ERIC can share it.
From the Verity Vote report: According to IRS records, ERIC is an organization with just three employees. Shane Hamlin, the executive director lives in Oregon, Ericka Haas, who lives in Oregon, and Sarah Whitt lives in Wisconsin. ERIC has no physical office. ERIC’s mailing address is just a virtual office at 1201 Connecticut Ave, Washington DC (which recently was found to be vacant). ERIC is not a government organization—it is a private corporation registered in Delaware. ERIC should be required to publicly disclose records regarding the transmission and storage of Personally Identifiable Information for citizens in all member states.
How ERIC works
Member States pay an initial fee of $25,000 as well as annual dues based on the state’s population. The state must not only submit all details on inactive and active voters to ERIC every 60 days, but they must also provide every individual in their state’s Motor Vehicle Department database including names, addresses, DOB, License #, last 4 of social #, voter activity, phone, email, title and documentation of citizenship. The first priority ERIC has prior to reviewing the rolls for clean up is to mail a huge swath of EBUs (Eligible but Unregistered) citizens to encourage them to register to vote. As the Gateway Pundit notes:
“The Membership Bylaws require the State to contact at least 95% of these people within 90 days, soliciting them to register. ERIC also wants specific registration profiles updated and requires the State to contact these voters within 90 days too. It is essentially a left-wing voter registration drive.”
Furthermore, ERIC doesn’t enforce the states cleaning their rolls but merely encourages them to make updates at least once a year. If the whole purpose of this organization is to ensure voter rolls are accurate, why are they adding names right away as opposed to focusing on eliminating outdated registrants? This calls into question the true motives of ERIC.
For context see this memo from ERIC’s Shane Hamlin to Marci Andino (the then Executive director of the SC Election Commission dated Mary 31, 2018 which was obtained via a FOIA request:
SC -member since 2018
Our state became a member of ERIC in 2018 and took grant money in the amount of $177,000 from the Pew Charitable Trust to send postcards to the unregistered voters to increase our rolls. Despite the recommendations from ERIC regarding cleaning our rolls, an analysis by our own team and Jeff O’ Donnell aka (Lone Raccoon) in early 2022 showed the following:
- There were 2,035 addresses that weren’t complete and contained a street number of NA. Many of these registrants voted.
- South Carolina voter rolls include over 1300 registrations where either the Date of Birth (DOB) is wrong, the Date of Registration (DOR) is wrong, or both such that the registrant would have been between 15 years old and negative 82 years old at the time of registration. About 780 simply have identical DOBs and DORs. There are also a few registrants between 114 and 2060 years old at the time they registered.
- 1353 people on our voter roll that have a date of registration that is well before the person’s date of birth.
- 11 people have registration dates that are over 100 years after their DOB 12.
- 1,284 are registered within 15 days of their DOB!
- There also appear to be large swaths of registrations on certain dates and counties with hundreds moving on the rolls in a certain day. Additionally, there are excess registrations based on last name typos, identical names and appended names.
- 2,478,217 voted in either the 2020 General Election. (The official South Carolina results state the ballots received as 2,533,010. This is a difference of over 50,000 ballots and must be explained. If these have been purged from the voter rolls so soon after having voted, there should be a “purge list” which matches this number. If it does not, then this is a serious Red Flag.
- In September 2020 alone, more than 90,000 voters were registered. This was about twice the previous month high of 48,000 in November 2018.
- 8,471 people were registered on September 22nd alone. 225,912 voters were registered between June 1 and election day 2020. This represents more than 6% of the total South Carolina registration. 179,502 of these new registrants subsequently voted (79%), accounting for over 7% of all voters.
- A large number of 18-year-old citizens were registered in the 6 months before the election and they voted at a higher rate than any other age. In fact, the “direction” of the curve of the recently registered runs counter to the overall trend. This is a definite red flag.
- Registration Number Sequence Issues The 9-digit voter registration numbers appear to be in logical sequence over time and are largely consecutive. The 8-digit numbers, however, have no logical sequence based upon the registration dates and have large gaps between the numbers. This is a red flag because new registrations can be “hidden” in the middle of old ones with no way of detecting it. The differences between the 9-digit and 8-digit voters should be investigated and demystified in order to gain confidence in the registration system.
Of course, our own canvassing efforts revealed ERIC wasn’t working as intended as dead people remained on the rolls many years after their death, people voted from properties they moved from years prior to the 2020 election, and citizens were registered as well as voting from commercial or otherwise ineligible addresses.
Recently, our analysis team reviewed the voter rolls from the 2022 primary and 43% of the people who voted in the primary were missing party affiliation. How can data at the county level be rolled up to aggregate at the state level and be missing such crucial information? This doesn’t inspire confidence and suggests that good data management practices are not being adhered to.
The efficacy of ERIC
Wisconsin is an ERIC state and they have over seven million registered voters however the state has less than 4 million eligible voters. In 2020, Judicial Watch found 8 states where the average registration for the entire State exceeded 100%. How does that happen? Inquiring minds want to know. In fact, multiple analyses show that despite using and paying for ERIC many ERIC member states have counties that have removed zero voters from their rolls. In fact, list maintenance studies show that non-ERIC states outperform 2.3% to 1.9% in list removals as fraction of the voting age population. Source: (US Election Assistance Commission published data from the 2020 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS).)
Although the NVRA National voters registration act requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove eligible votes it allows states to wait up to 2 general election cycles to remove that name. Note that most often these names and records are not removed from the rolls but instead are put in an “inactive” file. This makes it easy for these names to be injected into the voter rolls, poll books, or voting machines to pump up phantom votes when needed. Many states are finding voters on the rolls up to 10 years or more.
REMOVAL OF NAMES FROM VOTING ROLLS.—(1)
shall not remove the name of a registrant from the official list
of eligible voters in elections for Federal office on the ground that
the registrant has changed residence unless the registrant—
(A) confirms in writing that the registrant has changed
residence to a place outside the registrar’s jurisdiction in which
the registrant is registered; or
(BXi) has failed to respond to a notice described in paragraph(2); and
(ii) has not voted or appeared to vote (and, if necessary,
correct the registrar’s record of the registrant’s address) in
an election during the period beginning on the date of the
notice and ending on the day after the date of the second
general election for Federal office that occurs after the date
of the notice.
Verity Vote has uncovered some alarming additional information from their Freedom of information requests. See below. Download their report here:
- States are sharing information about individuals, whether they registered or declined to register, when they were offered the opportunity to do so in “other agencies” such as the Department of Aging and the Department of Human Services
- ERIC is required to protect the sensitive PII of millions of people from 31 states, but records reveal that ERIC is sharing data with CEIR, the Zuckerberg funded organization.
- CEIR is creating the lists of voters who should be targeted for voter registration efforts and laundering the lists back through ERIC for distribution to the states.
- CEIR is promoting and launching a new, free service for election officials called REVERE, which is aimed at combating “disinformation” in real time; a task that no one could succeed at but is poised to distribute partisan propaganda. This tool will use cell phone and email information obtained from states to send targeted messages to voters. (Anyone been the recipient of one of these lately? )
Note: CEIR grant amounts to SC to date exceed $1M.
Questions to ponder:
Do you feel comfortable with these partisan groups having access to our data?
Why do ERIC participating states fare worse in voter roll management than the non-participating partners?
Why can’t our state do this in house with qualified IT professionals? ERIC only employees 3 to 4 employees for the whole nation. Our state could employ a few database experts to do the same.
Our team has been getting numerous emails weekly from concerned citizens asking how we can remove ERIC from our state. We need more transparency and accountability for our election systems and voter rolls.
CALL TO ACTION: Call you legislators today and ask them to defund ERIC in the budget or draft a law to dump ERIC and ensure that our personal data is not given out to any outside organizations other than perhaps states who want to share their data of cross state voters and people who have moved and registered in their state who used to be registered in our state.