Voting rights groups urge Illinois to withdraw from Crosscheck program

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights has joined with other non-partisan voting rights groups in advocating to the Illinois State Board of Elections because of significant concerns about our state’s participation in a highly risky voter database program.

In 2010, Illinois joined a system called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, known as Crosscheck. Designed as a tool to address the myth of widespread voter fraud, Crosscheck is a “free” voter list comparison program funded by the state of Kansas and managed and controlled by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The costs to our democracy of participating in Crosscheck, however, have become unacceptably high.

Our letter, also signed by Chicago Votes, Common Cause Illinois, and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), explains that Crosscheck uses an inaccurate and unreliable name comparison tool that has been shown to produce false positives that are more likely to purge citizens of color from the voter rolls. Moreover, information technology experts have warned that the file transfer protocol (FTP) process used for sensitive information of over 45 million voters into the Crosscheck system is outdated and vulnerable to data and security breaches.

These alarming risks are particularly avoidable for Illinois because since 2016 we have participated in a safer and more transparent data tool that maintains accurate voter rolls called the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Leaders in Illinois and across the country have acknowledged that widespread voter fraud is nonexistent, with the bipartisan Illinois State Board of Elections itself recently reporting to the President’s Election Integrity Commission that a couple thousandths of a single percent of the votes cast in Illinois are suspected to be fraudulent.

Our letter states:

The risks inherent to Crosscheck are needless in light of ERIC and far outweigh the purported benefits. We recommend that Illinois no longer participate in the program. At the very least, Illinois should implement procedures to safeguard Illinois voters and the election process against the glaring negative effects of Crosscheck.

The Illinois State Board of Elections heard comments about Crosscheck at its public meeting on Tuesday, October 17, and we urge the State Board to act on this issue soon.