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Illinois Bill Moving Forward To Pull Out Of Controversial Crosscheck

State lawmakers have set a public hearing date for legislation to protect Illinois voter data by pulling state voter data out of the national Crosscheck program. The hearing on SB2273, crafted in partnership between Indivisible Chicago and state lawmakers, is scheduled for Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. in Springfield.

"We urge legislators to move quickly to close this door to protect Illinois voters' personal data," said Steve Held, one of the leaders of the Indivisible Chicago team fighting voter suppression. "The news out of Kansas, responsible for protecting this sensitive data, gets worse on a weekly basis. It's abundantly clear that the Kansas Secretary of State's office lacks the will and the expertise to secure their systems."

Indivisible Chicago has been at the forefront of national research that has revealed extensive flaws in the security measures that are supposed to protect personal data for millions of voters in Illinois and across the country. The activist organization is encouraging Illinois voters to call on lawmakers to protect their data by filing a witness proponent slip in support of this legislation. This can be done in just a few minutes, using this link and marking the slip as "proponent:" SB2273 Witness Slip.

Indivisible Chicago commends initial bill sponsors Kwame Raoul and Bill Cunningham, as well as those who have joined, and is urging more legislators to sign on as co-sponsors to expedite passage of this bill.

The hearing is scheduled against a backdrop of increasing evidence that Crosscheck leaves voters vulnerable to identity theft through the insecure handling of sensitive data. In just this past month:

  • Florida election officials acknowledged that the personal data for nearly 1,000 Kansans was compromised as a result of their participation in the Crosscheck program, prompting Florida to offer to pay for LifeLock protection to all impacted Kansans. This data had been shared with a Kansas-based Voters Against Crosscheck as a result of a public records request and subsequently shared with Indivisible Chicago.
  • After months of assurances from Kansas Secretary of State Kobach and Director of Elections Bryan Caskey that Kansas's systems were secure, Netragard, a security research firm, found that the Kansas government's network was "significantly exposed," posing a risk to all Kansas systems, including the Crosscheck database.
  • Gizmodo reported the careless exposure of the last four digits of Social Security numbers for thousands of Kansas state employees, including 90 percent of Kansas legislators and Kobach himself.

Last week, Caskey stated that Crosscheck would again be operational sometime in February but hasn't provided any details about planned changes to the programs security.

Pulling out of Crosscheck doesn't mean Illinois will be ill-equipped to manage voter data, according to Held.

"Illinois is in the much more secure national ERIC program, along with 22 others," he said. "We have the necessary tools to maintain our voter rolls. Proponents for Crosscheck are simply pursuing a highly partisan agenda to perpetuate debunked myths about voter fraud and to further an agenda of voter suppression. It's time to end this charade and get on with the serious business of protecting the integrity of our electoral process."

Efforts to persuade the Illinois State Board of Elections to voluntarily pull data from Crosscheck have been unsuccessful, with a vote earlier this month breaking out along party lines, and all Republican members voting "no. In an e-mail to Indivisible Chicago after that SBE Board meeting, SBE public information officer Matt Dietrich confirmed no voter data would be sent until any security changes are assessed and discussed in a public SBE Board meeting. The SBE's next monthly board meeting is scheduled for February 21.



* State Board Of Elections Puts Voter Data At Risk.

* Illinois Legislators Urged to Act Quickly to Secure Voter Files.


Comments welcome.


Posted on January 26, 2018

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