The Voter Registration Machine Flipping the States Blue

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by Hayden Ludwig, AM Greatness:

In modern elections, the candidate who can turn out the bigger base is usually the winner. Put differently, the campaign with better voter data holds the trump card.

For more than a decade now, Democrats unquestionably have owned that trump card and used it to carve deep inroads into once solidly red states such as Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia, while Republicans have looked on in bafflement. It’s no secret why the Left is winning elections despite shrinking in the polls: They register new voters in droves, and conservatives do not.

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More than 160 million people cast a ballot in the 2020 election. Yet there may be as many as 60 million more eligible-but-unregistered individuals (EBUs) out there—people who could lawfully vote but may not until they register in their state. They’re typically hard to reach and politically disinterested. Yet the party that can tap into this electoral goldmine—that is, identify and reach these potential voters—would be unbeatable.

For years, that party has been the Democrats. It may soon be the Republicans. Here’s why.

Permanent Democratic Power

In 2010, the Supreme Court ushered in a torrent of new political spending through its Citizens United v. FEC decision. “Progressives” who were convinced that big business would back Republicans to the hilt saw doom written on the wall. To counter this Republican tide, groups such as the Brennan Center proposed adding “millions of new voters onto the rolls through a modernized registration system—starting in 2010.”

In short, they needed to balloon the Democratic Party’s ranks to survive a GOP onslaught—an onslaught that never came.

“Voter registration modernization” proved a euphemism for inserting operatives into state election machinery. But EBU data is protected behind layers of federal privacy laws and across multiple state agencies (e.g. motor vehicle departments) and thus not available to political groups. It was Pew Charitable Trusts, a powerful left-of-center funder, that discovered the back door.

Between 2010 and 2012, Pew incubated the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that billed itself as the solution to an entirely different problem presented to the states: Maintaining their voter rolls, which are notoriously inaccurate and constantly in flux. For a fee, ERIC would graciously warehouse states’ voter roll data and identify potential double voters using sophisticated data-matching software.

That’s the sales pitch, anyway. In truth, ERIC makes the removal of ineligible voters entirely optional and tedious, while mandating member states spend hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars to register new voters. Far from streamlining voter rolls, ERIC expands them, which is why non-ERIC states have cleaner rolls than their ERIC counterparts.

More furtively, ERIC would also gain access to invaluable data on tens of millions of EBUs—a database that no other group in the world has access to. But how to use it?

Project Get-Out-The-Vote

We know from public records requests that ERIC soon established a data-sharing agreement with a heretofore obscure nonprofit, the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR). Amazingly, the corporate leftist media continues to claim this inconvenient fact is “without evidence.”

ERIC and CEIR share a founder: David Becker, a partisan elections lawyer who previously worked for the far-left People for the American Way and the Justice Department’s voting rights arm. Becker is well known as a “hardcore leftist” who can’t “stand conservatives.” Yet Pew presented him as the nonpartisan face of its ERIC project.

Becker spent four years persuading nearly two-thirds of the states to join ERIC before departing to found CEIR in 2016. Yet until recently, Becker remained a nonvoting member of ERIC’s board, courtesy of a carve-out in ERIC’s bylaws made specifically for him to ensure continued oversight of the ostensibly “neutral” and state-led organization.

If ERIC is the face presentable to election officials, CEIR is Becker’s policy shop. The group was founded with seed capital from the Hewlett Foundation and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who routed the cash through Arabella Advisors’ massive “dark money” network.

More funding may have come from Pew, which continued to fund CEIR’s “sister” group, ERIC, for years. We know that CEIR’s other co-founder, Amy Cohen, led Pew’s Google-funded Voting Information Project, part of the “voter registration modernization” push. Yet strangely, Cohen never appears in CEIR’s disclosures as a paid employee, perhaps because her salary was paid by Pew.

CEIR supports vote-by-mail expansion and ever-earlier voting. It also pushes the lie that conservatives and Trump supporters are a threat to election workers while barring center-right reporters from its press conferences. Becker himself dismisses critics as “fueled by disinformation” because we “want our democracy to fail.”

CEIR received $70 million from Mark Zuckerberg in 2020, funds that drove Democratic turnout in Maryland and helped subsidize ERIC’s voter registration mandate in other states. Pennsylvania received $13 million, Michigan $12 million, New York $5 million, Georgia $5.6 million, and Arizona $4.8 million. How each grant was spent remains largely unknown, despite watchdog groups’ best efforts.

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