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.)
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.