A massive voter-tracking program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — which purports to help states keep voter rolls accurate — has halted operations over concerns about its own accuracy and security. The Interstate Crosscheck system, which Kobach’s office promised would be working ahead of the 2018 elections, has been sidelined while the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducts a security assessment following the unintended release of hundreds of voters’ private information. Each year, the Crosscheck program compares voter registration lists from more than two dozen states, searching for duplicate names. The stated goal is to prevent people from voting in more than one state and eliminate voter fraud — although being registered to vote in two states is not illegal. Crosscheck then sends a list of duplicate names to each participating state, the first step in a long process of voter list maintenance.
Crosscheck, at one time, held data on half the registered voters in the country, and critics have warned that the program isn’t keeping the voter data safe. Crosscheck recently came under fire for a data security breach that made public the names, dates of birth and partial Social Security numbers of 945 Kansas voters. Others say Crosscheck is being used as a tool for voter suppression.
On Tuesday, the system came under further criticism when the ACLU of Kansas filed a federal class-action lawsuit charging that Kobach’s “reckless maintenance” of Crosscheck violated voters’ constitutional right to privacy. The suit seeks the removal of Kansas from Crosscheck until proper cyber-security safeguards are put in place.