Another Far Right Group Was Posting Conspiracy Theories About Voter Roll Program As Red States Cut Ties

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 03: A man shows his "I voted!" sticker after casting his ballot on March 3, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. 1,357 Democratic delegates are at stake as voters cast their ballots in 14 states and Am... SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 03: A man shows his "I voted!" sticker after casting his ballot on March 3, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. 1,357 Democratic delegates are at stake as voters cast their ballots in 14 states and American Samoa on what is known as Super Tuesday. (Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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As Republican-led states pull out of a multistate voter roll program in response to Gateway Pundit-pushed conspiracy theories about the organization, a conservative nonprofit was apparently also part of fanning the flames.

Judicial Watch, a far-right legal advocacy group, published a white paper in early March boosting erroneous claims about the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a bipartisan program designed to maintain voter rolls across state lines. 

The paper, which the non-profit reupped on their website Friday, sought to legitimize debunked claims made by the far-right website Gateway Pundit last year, which falsely argued that ERIC was founded by “left-leaning attorney David Becker” and funded by George Soros. 

Judicial Watch claims that Becker had a “history of left-wing activism and unethical conduct,” and that ERIC “shares the vast amount of sensitive personal data it receives from member states with another liberal non-profit, the Center for Election Innovation and Research,” which they linked to the “Zuckerbucks” controversy, another election-related conspiracy theory.

Becker did help a handful of states launch the non-partisan program with a group called the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2012, but Soros never directly contributed to ERIC. Becker has sat on ERIC’s board as a non-voting ex-officio member since its founding, but on March 14 he announced that he would be vacating the position due to the conspiracy theories about his role that were being pushed by the right-wing media.

The Judicial Watch report was originally published on March 9, three days after Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd (R) announced that his state would be withdrawing from the program alongside Missouri and West Virginia. That afternoon, former president Donald Trump attacked ERIC on Truth Social as well:

“All Republican Governors should immediately pull out of ERIC, the terrible Voter Registration System that ‘pumps the rolls’ for Democrats and does nothing to clean them up,” he wrote. “It’s a fools game for Republicans…”

On March 10, Texas officials also signaled their interest in leaving the program, and they’ve since drawn up legislation to do so. Ohio and Iowa announced their departures on March 17.

ERIC executive director Shane Hamlin posted an open letter on March 2 trying to bat down misinformation about the program, but it didn’t stop what would become a wave of red state officials cutting ties with the program.

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  1. Fascists seek their ends in every diabolical way that they can imagine.

  2. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    The false information is an excuse, not a cause. I guess there’s not enough value in a defamation action.

  3. Reactionaries - they always have a response. Easy to be anti-something.

  4. trumpet and lawsuits, like love and marriage. One follows the other so predictably. But Cohen made the huge mistake of thinking loyalty to fat boy was going to reap rewards. Fat boy’s a user and Cohen was just waiting for his turn to be used. He fancied himself a fixer. Ha! He was a dope waiting to be exploited by the most selfish man on the planet.

  5. The League of Women Voters of Colorado hosted a program last night with David Becker and Major Garrett. Becker was very clear that the red states that are now bailing out of ERIC were reacting to far right wing misinformation.

    A sampling from In Their Own Words: ERIC Improves Election Integrity:

    "[ERIC] is one of the best fraud-fighting tools that we have when it comes to actually catching people that try to vote in multiple states, when it comes to maintaining the accuracy of our voter rolls by removing those that move out of state.” - Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R)

    “I have heard strong support for joining ERIC from supervisors of elections all over Florida, and I am excited to provide them with one more tool to serve voters in Florida. Joining ERIC keeps Florida at the forefront of election security and will help us ensure a fair and accurate election in 2020 and beyond.” - Former Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee (R)

    GOPers hyperventilate about voter fraud and preserving the integrity of their voter rolls then undermine a state run system that gave them a valuable tool they needed.

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