01312018CM1206 rState Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) passed legislation yesterday ending Illinois’ participation in a controversial voter registration system.

The Illinois Board of Elections currently subscribes to two national voter database systems designed to help election authorities identify voters who may be registered in more than one state: the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). This legislation will remove Illinois from the Crosscheck system but allow the state to remain in ERIC, widely viewed as the better system.

“We have heard from numerous experts that the Crosscheck system is unsafe and that it can be used as a tool to discriminate and suppress voters,” Raoul said “There is no reason to continue using this system when we have a better option readily available.”

Cyber security experts testified to a joint committee last year that the Crosscheck system has several security concerns that make private information easily accessible.

Additionally, many voting rights activists say that Crosscheck is a vehicle for discrimination at the voting booth. The system compares first and last names of state voter databases, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. This is viewed as problematic by experts because communities of color are more likely to share last names, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

Raoul initially joined advocates in asking the Illinois State Board of Elections to withdraw from Crosscheck, but the Board voted last November to stay in the system.  

“I am proud that the legislature stood up for the voters of Illinois after the Board of Elections failed to do so,” Raoul said. “The right to vote is sacred, and we are making sure that voters know their information is secure when they cast their ballot.”
 
Senate Bill 2273 passed 35-17 and now moves to the House for consideration.