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Duckworth, Durbin demand state exit Crosscheck

Friday, Oct 27, 2017

* Press release…

U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) wrote to the Illinois State Board of Elections (IL SBE) today asking them to stop using the deeply flawed Interstate Voter Registration Data Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck) to help the state maintain the accuracy of its voter registration system. Reports have shown that the system is not only ineffective at catching duplicate registrations, but discriminatory as well. Researchers recently found that “one of Crosscheck’s proposed purging strategies would eliminate about 300 registrations used to cast a seemingly legitimate vote for every one registration used to cast a double vote,” often because they had a common first and last name. The Senators encouraged the Board of Elections to instead participate in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) multistate partnership, a far more precise alternative that has resulted in higher voter registration rates and increased voter turnout.

“Maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital to ensuring a fair and equitable democracy. To fulfill this goal, we should use tools that enable us to protect voting rights and ensure that every eligible voter can access the ballot,” the Senators wrote to the Illinois State Board of Elections’ Chairman Cadigan and Vice Chairman Keith. “Voters in Illinois deserve voter lists that are complete and accurate—and no voter should ever be improperly disenfranchised because of inaccurate information produced by a flawed data matching tool. That is why we strongly support the IL SBE completely withdrawing from Crosscheck and becoming a fully active participant in ERIC to improve the accuracy of voter lists and make sure all eligible voters are empowered to freely exercise their right to participate in American democracy.”

The Crosscheck program is run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who currently serves as Vice Chair of President Trump’s voter suppression commission. The large number of inaccurate findings Crosscheck produces has sparked concerns that it could be used to disenfranchise voters, particularly in communities of color. A 2015 Center for American Progress report noted that Crosscheck was much more likely to flag African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters as possibly being registered to vote in multiple states than White voters.

* Dan Mihalopoulos

Like Durbin and Duckworth, Cook County Clerk David Orr told me this week that he now opposes continuing to participate in Crosscheck and favors Illinois relying on another program that also matches the last four digits of voter Social Security numbers.

Until now, Orr favored participating in Crosscheck, as did the Chicago election board. But Chicago elections spokesman Jim Allen said Friday that a majority of the board now opposes Illinois’ continued involvement in Crosscheck.

Illinois elections officials have defended the program, but they have acknowledged one potentially big problem with it, according to an email obtained by Indivisible Chicago, an anti-Trump activist group.

“We are concerned that other states may have released Illinois voter data pursuant to their own [Freedom of Information Act] laws, and as a result we are currently in the process of determining if this is indeed occurring,” Steven Sandvoss, executive director of the state election board, told county elections officials on Oct. 20.

* The Sun-Times editorialized against remaining in the Crosscheck system

Illinois also is a member of an alternate system, the Electronic Registration Information Center, also known as ERIC, which is nonpartisan and widely considered to be significantly more accurate. The downside is that not as many states belong to it because it costs money, unlike Crosscheck, which is free. Crosscheck has 28 member states, though four have quit, citing unreliable data. ERIC has 20.

On top of the other problems, Indivisible Chicago reported Crosscheck administrators have been careless with voter information, emailing passwords and using unencrypted servers. That could expose voters’ names, addresses and, in some states, Social Security numbers to hackers.

Kobach, who is running for governor in Kansas, does not appear to be the kind of individual who should be entrusted with sway over voting. In June, a federal judge fined him $1,000 for “deceptive conduct” in misleading the court about documents he brought into a meeting with President Donald Trump.

No one wants cheating in elections. But that counts for the people who run the system as well as those at the polling place.

* Related…

* Voter rights advocates push Illinois to exit multistate database over accuracy, security

* Experts: Citizen Data at Risk in Hands of Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

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