Sunday, October 16, 2016

Interstate Crosscheck Program Dis-Enrolling Voters Under Guise of Preventing Voter Fraud

The Interstate Crosscheck system is a database used by officials in 27 states to identify voters potentially registered to vote in more than one state. States need a mechanism to maintain accurate voter rolls, but the states participating in the Interstate Crosscheck system risk purging legally registered voters, with a significant oversampling from communities of color, from the voting lists.

States in the Database:

- Alaska
- Arizona
- Arkansas
- Colorado
- Georgia
- Idaho
- Indiana
- Illinois
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky
- Louisiana
- Massachusetts
- Michigan
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- North Carolina
- Ohio
- Oklahoma
- Pennsylvania
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Virginia
- West Virginia

The system flagged roughly 7 million names of “potential double voters” prior to the 2014 Election. However, since 2014, not a single person has been convicted of Double Voting pursuant to Crosscheck data. This large number of false positives is due to Crosscheck not taking into account information that may disqualify a match: Social Security numbers should be disregarded if they do not match, “Jr.” and “Sr.” distinctions are often ignored, and many names on the list have mismatched middle names. Because nonwhite communities share surnames more commonly than white communities, in fact, 50% of Communities of Color share a common surname, while only 30% of white people do, this leads to a greater number of flagged potential double voters, and thus a significant over representation of minority voters on the Crosscheck list. While white voter names are underrepresented by 8%, African American voters are over represented by 45%, Hispanic voters are over represented by 24%, and Asian voters are over represented by 31%.

Voter fraud is very rare and voter impersonation is nearly non-existent. Often alleged fraud is found to be unintentional human error. One account found that while the program has flagged 7.2 million possible double registrants, only four have actually been charged with deliberate double registration or double voting.

However, the myth of voter fraud helps disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. Rolling Stone investigative reporter Greg Palast found that Interstate Crosscheck “disproportionately threatens solid Democratic constituencies: young, black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, with some of the biggest possible purges underway in Ohio and North Carolina, two crucial Swing States with tight Senate races.”

Voters have been wrongly tagged and listed as registering or voting in two states, just for having common, often "ethnic" names. As many as one million people may lose their right to vote by this November.

This is the first Presidential Election since the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Communities of color are even more vulnerable to voter intimidation and suppression. Interstate Crosscheck is yet another barrier to overcome in order to Exercise our Constitutional right to Vote.

With Republican officials administering Elections in most states, the DOJ is our last line of defense for protecting the right to vote. We need it to aggressively crack down on any attempt to intimidate voters or otherwise suppress the vote in 2016.

CLICK HERE to add your name and tell the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and release the names of voters on the “Interstate Crosscheck” purge list.

There is an alternative for states looking for a mechanism to maintain accurate voting rolls, which already has been adopted by 12 states, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a program developed by IBM and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Rather than just matching the voter’s name and date of birth, ERIC requires an exact match across several fields, such as driver’s license number or Social Security number. Furthermore, ERIC gives State Election officials the opportunity to build the rolls as well as clean them, providing lists of potentially unregistered voters as an outreach opportunity and requiring participating states to contact those potential new registrants.

ERIC’s membership now includes 21 members:

- Alaska
- Alabama
- Colorado
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Illinois
- Louisiana
- Maryland
- Minnesota
- Nevada
- New Mexico
- Ohio
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island
- Utah
- Virginia
- Washington
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin

CLICK HERE for more information about the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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