crosscheck 113017 resizedCHICAGO – The Illinois State Board of Elections will no longer be allowed to share sensitive voter information with a controversial voter registration system under a new law introduced in the state senate.

Senate Bill 2273, sponsored by State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and cosponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, would prohibit the state from sharing any voter information with any interstate voter registration program other than the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

In doing so, the state’s participation in the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Data Crosscheck Program would be halted. Crosscheck, which was pioneered by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is seen by many as nothing more than an attempt to keep minorities from voting.  

Senator Raoul has made his opposition to the racially-biased program clear, calling for the state to cease using it at once.

“Crosscheck can be used to knock valid voters off the rolls, and it disproportionately impacts minority voters, who are more likely to share last names and be flagged by the system,” Raoul said. “That flies in the face of the voter protection policies we have embraced in Illinois.”

Earlier this month, a joint committee heard testimony from Shawn Davis, a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education. Davis testified that the Crosscheck system has several security concerns that make private personal information easily accessible.  While most websites handling sensitive information use secure file transmission networks called SFTPs, Crosscheck uses an unsecured network system.

Senator Cunningham says the state should address these concerns by leaving Crosscheck to protect voter information.

“There are far too many concerns with Crosscheck’s security and intent,” Cunningham said. “It is time for the state of Illinois to stop using this flawed system and focus on programs that are more secure.”

Illinois began using Crosscheck in 2010 when no other alternatives existed. Since then, ERIC has been developed by states concerned over the security of the personal information that is shared with such programs.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park), Chairman of the Illinois Senate’s sub-Committee on Cybersecurity, has continued to investigate the 2016 State Board of Election security breach.
 
“Based on testimony from the Illinois State Board of Elections, it is evident that Crosscheck is an inferior program that makes the citizens of Illinois’ personal information susceptible to hackers,” Hastings said. “The right to vote is a fundamental component of our nation’s democratic values.  It’s our duty to protect voters’ personal and sensitive information and promote impartial and honest elections.”

Under state law, the State Board of Elections is required to use ERIC while participation in Crosscheck is voluntary.

voting booth rSPRINGFIELD —  State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and State Senator Bill Cunningham plan to introduce legislation ending Illinois’ participation in the controversial Interstate Crosscheck system.

Despite calls from state and national legislators to withdraw from the program, the State Board of Elections voted Monday to remain in the national voter registration database.

“If the Board of Elections will not act to protect Illinois voters, then it is our duty as legislators to do so,” Raoul said. “The right to vote is sacred, and citizens in our state should know that their information is secure when they cast their ballot.”

At a joint hearing of the House Elections Committee and the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee last week, legislators heard testimony on security concerns with the system.

Shawn Davis, a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education testified that the Crosscheck system uses an unsecured network system. Most websites handling sensitive information use secure file transmission networks called SFTPs.  

“The risk of exposing the personal information of millions of Illinois voters to an Equifax-style data breach is not worth the small benefit of remaining in the Crosscheck system,” Cunningham said. “This should not be a partisan issue — it is a data protection issue and it must be addressed immediately.”

Additionally, many voting rights activists say that Crosscheck is a vehicle for discrimination at the voting booth. This is because Crosscheck compares first and last names of state voter databases, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. This is viewed as problematic by experts because communities of color are more likely to share last names, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

The Illinois Board of Elections currently subscribes to two national voter database systems designed to help election authorities identify voters who may be registered in more than one state: Crosscheck and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). This legislation will remove Illinois from the Crosscheck system but allow the state to remain in ERIC, widely viewed as the better system.

08132017CM1073 rSPRINGFIELD —  State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) released the following statement after the Senate voted today to override the governor’s veto of legislation prohibiting local governments from establishing right-to-work zones:

“The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”

Gov. Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1905 last month, and the Senate voted 42-13 today to override his veto.

SPRINGFIELD —  State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement after voting to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based school funding reform measure:

“Gov. Rauner’s changes to Senate Bill 1 attempt to protect a system in which there are clear winners and losers in education.

The governor’s plan would take nearly $500 million away from the hundreds of thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools who deserve the same chance at a quality education as every other child in the state.

I voted to uphold Senate Bill 1 today because it is the only plan that ensures fair funding for all Illinois students and takes steps to end the apartheid in our education system.”

011516CMPAN2 rState Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement after the Senate voted to pass a balanced budget:

“I was proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle today and vote for a balanced budget that will at long last restore stability to our state and bring the certainty that comes from paying our bills on time.

I call on Governor Rauner to put the people of Illinois above partisan politics and re-election campaigns and sign this budget into law.”