Voter rights advocates are pushing Illinois election officials to withdraw from a longtime multistate voter registration database over questions of accuracy, security and voter suppression.
The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is aimed at cleaning voter records and preventing voter fraud. States voluntarily provide their voter lists, and the program searches for duplicates.
While a few states have quietly exited over data quality concerns, advocates in Democrat-leaning Illinois are taking it a step further with fresh claims about lax security, discrimination against minorities and questions about the role of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a contentious Republican who oversees the program and is vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission.
Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights oppose it and advocates packed a recent State Board of Elections meeting after sending letters demanding Illinois end its cooperation. Now, more than two dozen state lawmakers also want Illinois to withdraw. Their push comes as Trump’s commission is asking states for voter information while it investigates Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally in 2016.
“Crosscheck is being used as a political tool to help Republicans win elections,” said state Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat. “This has gone much too far.”
Kobach, who declined an interview, has defended the database. He’s championed tough voter identification laws that critics claim suppress minority voters and helped draft proposals in numerous states aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. His views have been more heavily scrutinized since he was tapped for Trump’s commission.
Past studies have shown voter fraud is exceedingly rare. Although voting in multiple places is illegal, being registered to vote in more than one state isn’t. And that can happen when people move from one jurisdiction to another.
The origins of Crosscheck date to 2005, before Kobach was Kansas’ chief election official. It started with Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska sharing information. Illinois joined in 2010. This year, 28 states participated. Four states have left Crosscheck: Florida, Washington, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
Full Article: Voter advocates push Illinois to exit multistate database.