Editor’s Note: In furtherance of our commitment to investigating the integrity of Oklahoma’s elections, Ignite Liberty has partnered with the Oklahoma Liberty & Integrity Group. OKLIG is one to the leading grassroots election integrity organizations in the state.
by Wendi Montgomery Dial, Principal Co-Founder Oklahoma Liberty & Integrity Group
Last year, in the shadows of the disastrous 2020 election, the State Legislature passed SB 710, which changed Oklahoma Election Law to allow the Secretary of the Election Board the authority to enjoin the State to any voter list maintenance organization they wished.
Those laws, now codified as 26 OS § 4-121, specifically allowed the Secretary to join the State to the ERIC system. ERIC stand for Electronic Registration Information Center. It is a privately run Corporation with its own set of bylaws. In specific, Section 1, paragraph A of the legislation stated the following:
The Secretary of the State Election Board may join the State of Oklahoma as a member in one or more multistate voter list maintenance organizations including, but not limited to, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) or its successor. The Secretary is authorized to expend funds as available for membership fees, dues and other expenses related to such membership.”
Once a member of ERIC, the member states MUST turn over information to ERIC including all motor vehicle records, voter files, and ‘use its best efforts to transmit’ state agency records that have ‘data relating to individuals that exists in the records of other agencies within its jurisdiction that perform any voter registration functions, including, but not limited to, those required to perform voter registration pursuant to the Nation Voter Registration Act…’
ERIC consists of a Board of Directors, populated by appointed officials from member states that pay a one-time joining fee, then yearly dues as prescribed by the Board. The Board appoints officers as they see fit. They can also remove any Director by three quarters vote of the entire Board. The Board is directed by the bylaws to create a Privacy and Technology Advisory Board committee and appoint members to that committee.
This decision effectively put unelected officials from Oklahoma and other states in charge of the decisions regarding the monitoring, updating, and maintenance of Oklahoma’s voter registration database. This database is used for all state and federal elections. The voter database is the list by which people in the state may legally cast their ballots in all elections.
Granted, the voter rolls, even after ‘cleaning’ this past year, are a mess. 207,000 voter registrations have no registration date listed for them as per the analysis of the election integrity group Oklahoma Liberty Watch. 104,000 registrations have not been verified, as admitted to by Secretary of the State Election Board Ziriax in his testimony to the Elections and Ethics Committee during the sometimes tense hearing on Representative Sean Roberts’ HB 3677 (co-sponsored by Sen. Nathan Dahm), which called for the reregistration of all Oklahomans eligible to vote by 2023. That provision of the bill was inexplicably gutted from the bill after Ziriax gave a $1 million price tag for reregistration without giving an itemized listing of how he came to that figure. Please recall above that the Legislature authorized a handsome and ongoing payment to a privately run board outside of Oklahoma to run our voter registration database just last year. So, the money argument against Roberts’ reregistration plan is questionable, at best.
ERIC, while claiming to help clean up voter registration rolls of ineligible voters, inexplicably includes this directive in Section 2b of its Membership Agreement: ‘Under no circumstances shall the Member transmit an individual’s record where the record contains documentation or other information indicating that the individual is a non-citizen of the United States.’
ERIC’s origination is well tracked by the Gateway Pundit and was originally funded by the left leaning Pew Charitable Trusts, which received grants from the Soros Open Society. David Becker, from the hard left People For the American Way, became Director of Election Initiatives in 2008. The article lays out the organization’s ties to multiple hard left leaning groups, including CSME, a subsidiary of the Soros funded New Venture Fund, and CTCL, the organization that distributed Zuckerburg money in 2020. Another organization tied to ERIC by the Gateway Pundit is the Soros funded Democracy Fund.
The Executive Director of ERIC is chosen by the Board of Directors. Currently that individual is Shane Hamlin, who was in charge of elections in Washington State. A quick search of his name has him affiliated as a “Coach” to an organization called Election SOS. Who is Election SOS? This is an organization that is part of Democracy SOS and has handed out $200,000 in propaganda grant funding money to ‘journalists’ and news outlets all over the United States for the 2022 midterm elections, concentrated in the so-called ‘swing states’. A quick search of Democracy SOS’s partners quickly brings up the names of The Democracy Fund, Hearken, a major proponent of Critical Race Theory and affiliated with the BBC, Gannett, and Graham Media Companies, the Trusting News, another hard left organization, and Jay Rosen, a journalism professor who writes opinion pieces on how journalists should be left wing activists when covering campaigns.
Election SOS has directions for journalists on ‘how’ to report on matters like elections, Extremist Organizations (they believe the only extremists are inexplicably far right groups after the incident on January 6th at the Capitol, ignoring the latest revelations from Congressional investigations and released video that that incident was far from a violent right-wing insurrection), correcting so-called ‘misinformation’ and countering with ‘alternative explanations’ (PROPOGANDA), messaging on violence (directing journalists on exactly HOW to describe certain events, aka PROPOGANDA), and other disturbing directions for journalists when covering elections and other events (such as how to start your own Antifa group). A list of media outlets and journalists who took this grant money can be found here . Even more disturbing is this organization has placed 39 people in newrooms across the country as part of a ‘fellowship’ program.
Finally, given all of the above, the most disturbing aspect of the Oklahoma Legislature passing legislation to join ERIC is that they put our voter rolls in the hands of an organization that is run by a private corporation with a board of appointed officials from all over the country, and send this corporation all of our voter and motor vehicle department data, as well as individual data from other state agencies, allowing 31 people from states other than Oklahoma decide what happens to Oklahoma’s voter registrations.
It is especially baffling considering there was an easier and much closer to home way to fix the problems with our voter rolls. Simply re-registering voters AND verifying the information on an individual’s application would take care of the situation, as well as putting our rolls back on paper and having them stored and built at the county level.
Given the irregularities already reported in Oklahoma’s 2020 election, it is reasonable to ask the Legislature if they are truly committed to securing our elections, or if they simply are going to continue to parrot the tired line that we “have the most secure elections in the country.” Currently HB 3677 has passed the House Elections and Ethics Committee and is awaiting hearing on the House floor.
References for this article (links included in the text above):