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.