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Illinois Senate Passes Crosscheck Bill

The Illinois Senate has passed SB2273, which will protect Illinois voter data by pulling state voter data out of the national Crosscheck program. The final vote broke down along party lines 35-17 with three Republicans abstaining. The bill will now head to the House where Representative Ann Williams will be the bill's chief sponsor.

"This is fantastic news," said Steve Held, one of the leaders of the Indivisible Chicago team fighting for data privacy protections and voter rights. "It's heartening to see our legislators move so quickly to protect voters' privacy. It's unfortunate that this broke down along a party-line vote at a time when the vulnerability of our voter data and concerns about identity theft have never been clearer; however, we're hopeful that we'll see more bipartisan support in the House."

Indivisible Chicago thanks the initial bill sponsors Senators Kwame Raoul and Bill Cunningham, as well as those who have joined as co-sponsors for moving so quickly on this issue.

The bill's passage comes against a backdrop of other states quitting the Crosscheck program and increasing evidence that Crosscheck leaves voters vulnerable to identity theft through the insecure handling of sensitive data. In just this past month:

  • Both Massachusetts and Kentucky have recently announced that they are abandoning the Crosscheck program.
  • Missouri, one of the original founding states in Crosscheck, announced that they are joining the ERIC program to maintain voter roll.
  • 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 Kris Kobach and Director of Elections Bryan Caskey that Kansas' 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 Secretary Kobach himself.

Caskey recently 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 21st.



* State Board Of Elections Puts Voter Data At Risk.

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

* Illinois Bill Moving Forward To Pull Out Of Controversial Crosscheck.


Comments welcome.


Posted on February 1, 2018

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