AP NEWS

Illinois ends participation in multi-state voter database

January 23, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Elections has voted to end the state’s participation in a multistate voter registration system that critics have said is inaccurate and vulnerable to hackers.

The board voted 8-0 Tuesday at its regular monthly meeting to withdraw from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, board spokesman Matt Dietrich said Wednesday.

“For the last year, I would say, we have regarded Crosscheck as being dormant,” Dietrich said. “To us it almost seems like Crosscheck doesn’t exist anymore. We’ve heard nothing from them.”

It now will be easier for Illinois to enter into a data-sharing agreement with Indiana, Dietrich said. Illinois remains a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center , which has 26 member states, including Illinois’ border states of Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The Illinois elections board has the final say over whether Illinois participates in the program. Illinois is the latest state to leave the database. Eight others have left due to security risks and data reliability concerns.

The database is run through the Kansas secretary of state’s office and checks if voters are illegally registered in multiple states.

The future of the program is unclear after its patron, former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, lost the Kansas governor’s race and is out of office. Current Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab’s office said no formal decision has been made about whether to end the program, which faces an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit alleging “reckless maintenance.” Kobach had called that lawsuit “baseless.”

The Illinois Legislature previously voted to withdraw from the system after the Board of Elections rejected a similar effort on a 4-4 partisan vote, with Republicans against leaving and Democrats in favor.

Former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner last year vetoed that bill, arguing that leaving would hinder Illinois’ ability to cross-reference voter information from various states. An attempt to override Rauner’s veto in November fell one vote short.