Person

David Becker

Organization:

Center for Election and Innovation Research

David Becker is a left-leaning election law advocate and the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Election and Innovation Research (CEIR). He previously worked at Pew Charitable Trusts where he organized the creation of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Prior to his time at Pew, Becker was director of People for the American Way (PFAW) and worked in the U.S. Department of Justice as a litigator.

In 1999, Becker appeared on the television game show “Jeopardy!” and won two games with total winnings over $27,000. In 2001, Becker appeared on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and won $125,000. [1]

Early Life and Education

After earning a BA in history and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, David Becker began his career in 1996 as an associate at Loeb and Loeb and another law firm. [2] Becker specialized in entertainment law; he has said that he found his work unfulfilling and decided to enter the government. [3]

Government Service

In 1998, he joined the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as a senior trial attorney. While working for the DOJ for seven years as a civil servant, Becker’s primary mandate was to enforce the Voting Rights Act. [4]

In 2003, Becker was the lead trial counsel for the federal government in Georgia v. Ashcroft and successfully convinced lower courts that Georgia had violated the Voting Rights Act in its redistricting. He served as an advisor to the solicitor general when the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, though the federal government would lose the case in a 5-4 decision. Becker found the experience disheartening, and he concluded that federal lawsuits had limited capacity to reform election law. [5]

Liberal Advocacy

In 2005, Becker became a director for the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way (PFAW). He continued specializing in electoral law and expressed skepticism of widespread voter fraud. [6] Becker was registered as a lobbyist for PFAW in 2007 and 2008. [7][8]

In 2008, Becker became the director of election initiatives at Pew Charitable Trusts. In an early meeting of election law experts, Becker and others in the organization decided that the biggest shortcoming in the American electoral process was voter registration. However, Becker believed that Congress was too politically divided to promote voter registration, so the nonprofit sector would have to step in. He soon led the creation of the Electronic Registration Information Center, an off-shoot of Pew, which updates state voter information records by cross-referencing numerous public and private databases. In 2020, ERIC had 30 state members and identified 17 million voters. Becker remains a non-voting member of ERIC’s board. [9][10][11] [12]

In 2016, Becker co-founded and became the executive director of the Center for Election and Innovation Research. [13] During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump criticized the security of American elections by citing a research report written by Becker while at Pew which claimed that there were millions of inaccuracies in voter records. Becker claimed that Trump took his report out of context and that the vast majority of inaccuracies were not exploitable for voter fraud. Though Becker was annoyed at his misrepresentation, he attributed the controversy to launching the newly-founded CEIR to immediate success. On September 1, 2020, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $50 million to CEIR through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as part of their efforts to influence the administration of the 2020 elections. [14]

In 2020, Becker joined CBS News as a contributor focusing on election law. [15][16] That year, Becker also designed an online pilot program to assist states in combatting electoral misinformation. [17]

2020 Presidential Election

David Becker condemned efforts by President Donald Trump and his supporters to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election. has argued that there was minimal evidence of security flaws in voting systems and almost no evidence of fraud. In a January 2021 interview, he said of the campaign’s litigation efforts: “Frivolous would probably be kind…the fact is, there has never been a presidential campaign that has had more of an opportunity to be heard in court by judges from across the political spectrum and present evidence than the Trump campaign.” [18]

Becker described the January 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump as “domestic terrorism” and as an extension of improper attempts to challenge the election results. Becker attributes blame for the incident “100%” to President Trump due to misinformation and conspiracy theories spread by the president to his supporters. [19]

References

  1. “David Becker.” Who Wants to Be A Millionaire Wiki. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://millionaire.fandom.com/wiki/David_Becker. ^
  2. “David Becker.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjbecker/. ^
  3. “David Becker: Making Elections More Secure.” The American Leader. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://theamericanleader.org/leader/david-becker-making-elections-more-secure/. ^
  4. “David Becker.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjbecker/. ^
  5. “David Becker.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjbecker/. ^
  6. “Senate to Investigate “Voter Fraud” Fraud in Missouri.” People for the American Way. June 4, 2007. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/09/Screen-Capture-People-For-the-American-Way-David-Becker.pdf. ^
  7. “David Becker.” Legistorm. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/125428/David_Becker.html. ^
  8. “David Becker.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjbecker/. ^
  9. “David Becker.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjbecker/. ^
  10. “David Becker.” Center for Election and Innovation Research. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://electioninnovation.org/our-team/david-becker/. ^
  11. “David Becker: Making Elections More Secure.” The American Leader. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://theamericanleader.org/leader/david-becker-making-elections-more-secure/. ^
  12. “David Becker: Making Elections More Secure.” The American Leader. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://theamericanleader.org/leader/david-becker-making-elections-more-secure/. ^
  13. “David Becker.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjbecker/. ^
  14. “David Becker: Making Elections More Secure.” The American Leader. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://theamericanleader.org/leader/david-becker-making-elections-more-secure/. ^
  15. “Election Law Expert David Becker Joins CBS News As A Contributor.” CBS News. November 7, 2020. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.viacomcbspressexpress.com/cbs-news/releases/view?id=56064. ^
  16. “David Becker.” Center for Election and Innovation Research. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://electioninnovation.org/our-team/david-becker/. ^
  17. “David Becker: Making Elections More Secure.” The American Leader. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://theamericanleader.org/leader/david-becker-making-elections-more-secure/. ^
  18. Rosen, Jake. “Election security expert David Becker on Trump’s election challenges amid assault on Capitol.” CBS News. January 8, 2021. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/election-security-expert-david-becker-on-trumps-election-challenges-amid-assault-on-capitol/ ^
  19. Rosen, Jake. “Election security expert David Becker on Trump’s election challenges amid assault on Capitol.” CBS News. January 8, 2021. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/election-security-expert-david-becker-on-trumps-election-challenges-amid-assault-on-capitol/ ^
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