September 18, 2017

Crosscheck prone to false matches &  illegal voter roll purges; connected to national voter suppression efforts from the Trump Administration

CHICAGO, IL - In response to false claims of voter fraud from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the Trump Administration, Illinois legislators, Indivisible Chicago and the ACLU of Illinois joined together today to call on the Illinois State Board of Elections to discontinue the state’s participation in Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck system (commonly known as “Crosscheck”). In addition to the many letters issued or signed by members of the state legislature, Rep. Will Guzzardi has a letter with an additional twelve or more signatures that will be submitted to board demanding action, attached to this release.

“Since taking over administration of Crosscheck, Kobach has transformed what was once a legitimate tool for voter roll maintenance into a propaganda machine for voter suppression efforts.” Letter to ISBE from Representative Will Guzzardi

Currently, Illinois transmits all voter registration data (nearly 8.6 million registrations and social security number information) to the Interstate Crosscheck system alongside 27 other participating states.

An analysis of the Crosscheck program published early this year by researchers at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Penn, and Microsoft found that the criteria Crosscheck used to find matches creates millions of false positives. The study states: “Out of the 240,000 paired registrations that Crosscheck sent to Iowa, there were only six cases where it appeared that the same person registered and voted in two different states. In other words, over 99 percent of the matches sent to Iowa were unlikely to have anything to do with attempted voter fraud.” 

“Additionally the IVRC system is prone to partisan abuse as shown by the 2014 Ada County Idaho situation in which election officials revoked all of the registrations flagged by IVRC without a proper review process, notification to the state, or the affected voters. Moreover, Mr. Kobach has repeatedly misrepresented the hundreds of thousands of so-called matches from the IVRC system to support his claims of millions of illegal voters which has been statistically proven to be a false notion.” Letter to the ISBE from Senator Iris Martinez from August 14, 2017

According to previous documentation on Crosscheck, the system is prone to a large number of false matches and several states have been found to erroneously and illegally purge legitimate voters from voter rolls, particularly from minority communities.  Additionally, Kobach’s office has repeatedly misrepresented data from Crosscheck to produce wildly inflated estimates of voter fraud to justify passing laws that make it harder for people to vote or to register to vote.

"The Crosscheck program is not a program that benefits the citizens of Illinois and could have the potential to be used by the Presidential Advisory commission to disenfranchise legal voters here and across the nation. This is unacceptable and Illinois must leave the Crosscheck program,” said Rep. Greg Harris.

“...from direct communications with the 109 Illinois election authorities, we can say that incidents of both vote fraud and registration fraud are very low in Illinois. At the 2016 General Election, 5,666,118 ballots were cast in Illinois. The State Board of Elections, working with the County Clerks and the Boards of Election Commissioners, identified fewer than 130 instances of suspected double voting. Only a handful of other instances of voter fraud (such as impersonation fraud or vote buying) were found. These matters have been referred to prosecutors for further action. The suspected instances we found equate to a fraud level of a couple thousandths of a single percent of the votes cast in the state. We have not experienced anything close to the sort of rampant problem that has been publicly alleged by some.”  Letter from the Illinois State Board of Elections to Kris Kobach dated September 19, 2017

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