Indivisible Chicago efforts derailed Crosscheck, proving it is riddled with security holes

A major threat to the security of Illinois voter data was lifted today when the Illinois State Board of Elections voted unanimously to end all participation in the much-maligned national Crosscheck voter database. Formerly managed by Kris Kobach, then-Kansas Secretary of State and former Vice-Chair of Trump’s discredited Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, also called the Voter Fraud Commission, Crosscheck was riddled with data security failures that put confidential data for nearly 100 million voters at risk. For more than a year, these concerns put a hold on Crosscheck operations, although it could be reactivated at any time.

“We are relieved the Board of Elections is finally taking this threat to voters seriously,” says Indivisible Chicago’s Jeff Radue. “We look forward to continuing to work with our state lawmakers to develop and implement legislation that creates more transparency regarding the state’s stewardship of confidential voter data.”

Indivisible Chicago spearheaded the End Crosscheck team, to push for securing Illinois voter data. Their efforts, along with others, documented through Freedom of Information requests such security failures as unprotected usernames and passwords shared freely via email with multiple recipients.

"Indivisible Chicago and its #EndCrosscheck project have already hobbled the Interstate Crosscheck program nationally,” said Leah Greenberg, co-executive director of the national Indivisible Project. “They’ve rightly earned credit from advocates and journalists across the country for their brilliant research and advocacy. It's great to see their own home state make the right call and finally withdraw from the program, too. Our whole movement will be celebrating this win with them."

Today’s vote is an about-face for the Board of Elections. In November 2017, the Board voted to stay in the program, despite clearly-documented data security risks. That vote was along party lines, with all Republicans voting to stay in, and all Democrats voting to withdraw. Today’s unanimous vote, with the identical Board members, aligns with Governor JB Pritzker’s campaign promise to end involvement in Crosscheck.

Today’s vote is an important first step toward protecting personal data for all Illinois voters. We look forward to working with the new state leadership on legislation that will solidify these protections, regardless of who controls the Board of Elections, while also continuing to expand transparency for all operations that relate to the state voting process and the voter data file.