Crosscheck: New Threats and New Opportunities

New Kansas Secretary of State Plans to ReAnimate flawed Crosscheck program

Last week, Kansans elected Republican Scott Schwab as Secretary of State. During the campaign, Schwab said, “Crosscheck is pretty darn good” vowing to continue operation of the inaccurate and insecure program in 2019.

Schwab’s election is a wake-up call to data privacy and voting rights advocates throughout the nation. Outgoing Secretary of State Kris Kobach may no longer hold public office, but when it comes to an obsession with the myth of widespread voter fraud and aggressive voter cancellations, the Republican bench is deep.

The Crosscheck program, ostensibly used to maintain voter rolls and to identify very rare instances of double voting, has been shown to be highly inaccurate, insecure, and when used correctly could result in the cancellation of 200 to 300 legitimate voters for every real instance of voter fraud. Kansas election officials were forced to suspend all operations of the Crosscheck program in 2018 after revelations of massive security vulnerabilities and led to the involvement of the Department of Homeland Security.

After last week’s election, some states have new opportunities to leave Crosscheck:

  • Arizona: [UPDATED 11/17/18] The Secretary of State race has now been called, with Democrat Katie Hobbs declared the victor. She now has the power to state that Arizona will no longer participate in Crosscheck.

  • Colorado: Just elected Democrat Jena Griswold, Secretary of State. She could immediately commit no longer participating in Crosscheck.

  • Georgia: This one is huge. There is a lot on the line to address rampant voter suppression in Georgia. The Secretary of State election is now headed to a runoff election on December 4th, 2018. If elected, Democrat John Barrow could immediately end Georgia’s participation in Crosscheck.

  • Illinois: Earlier this year, legislators passed Indivisible Chicago’s “End Crosscheck” bill, SB 2273 only to have it vetoed by Governor Rauner. Newly elected Governor JB Pritzker has vowed to end Illinois participation in Crosscheck. With a Democrat super-majority in both legislative chambers, this should be an easy win for Governor Pritzker, legislators, and voting rights advocates.

  • Michigan: elected Democrat Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State. She could immediately commit no longer participating in Crosscheck if it is resuscitated.

  • Nevada: Nevada Democrats now control both legislative chambers and the Governor’s office. While the Secretary of State’s office remains in Republican control, Nevada could legislatively mandate withdrawal from Crosscheck.

  • New Hampshire: in 2018 the Republican legislature failed to pass SB 439 which would have removed NH from Crosscheck. In 2019, Democrats will control both legislative chambers.

If you live in one of the states shown below, your voter data was sent to the Crosscheck program the last time it was operational and your election officials have not announced their withdrawal from the program. Some states previously on this map, such as Massachusetts and Kentucky, have announced their abandonment of the Crosscheck program since the last data exchange.

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Indivisible Chicago has worked with Indivisible National to put together this handy guide to understand the issue and to identify who you should begin to reach out to now to educate your elected officials and prepare them to withdraw from the Crosscheck program.

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Some states participate in both Crosscheck and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). If your state is in both programs, that means your state can withdraw from the flawed Crosscheck program and still exchange high-quality data to maintain voter rolls. If your state isn’t in ERIC, talk to your officials about replacing Crosscheck with this more accurate and more secure program.

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