Democrats on a legislative panel Wednesday urged state elections officials to quickly remove Illinois from a controversial interstate voter registration program amid warnings it is unreliable and vulnerable to hacking, threatening to act on their own if they don’t. “For months now it has been very obvious that millions of Illinoisans’ personal data is at risk because of our participation in this program,” state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said at a joint state House and Senate committee hearing on the topic. “As soon as possible, the (State Board of Elections) should say the logical thing, which is, ‘We cannot participate in this program because it is putting Illinois at risk.’ ” Illinois is among a number of states evaluating participation in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, conducted through the Kansas secretary of state’s office that is aimed at flagging duplicate voter registrations across state lines.
Crosscheck has drawn heightened political attention due to questions of the security of voters’ personal information. In addition, some states have been sued for wiping out voter registrations based solely on the system’s findings without following procedures spelled out in federal voting rights laws.
“It has been demonstrated the Crosscheck is being used, even though it may not have originated this way, as a very partisan tool, and I think it’s irresponsible for the State Board of Elections to explicitly allow the removal of voters in other states with our data,” state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, said. “We are complicit in the denial of voting rights for people in other states, and its demonstrable.”
Security concerns involving Illinois voter registration data and participation in Crosscheck was brought to the fore by Indivisible Chicago, a progressive group formed following President Donald Trump’s election that found various security lapses. Additionally, the top election official in Crosscheck’s home state, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, co-chairs a Trump-appointed panel on voter fraud that Democrats contend is aimed at trying to push voter suppression measures and has created its own security concerns.