Crosscheck program potentially purges voters

Alex Underwood
Mesa Legend

Alex UnderwoodMillions of minority voters are at risk of having their vote stolen by a program known as The Interstate Crosscheck. The program, launched in 2005 by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was designed as a method to counter voter fraud. Kris Kobach is best known for supporting the illegal voter suppression technique known as “caging,” which, through several methods, purges a citizen’s ability to vote. Used by 27 states including Arizona, The Interstate Crosscheck has drummed up plenty of its own controversy, as it has been used to purge millions of U.S. citizens by claiming they are registered in more than one state.

Kris Kobach initiated Crosscheck.
Kris Kobach initiated Crosscheck.
Courtesy of U.S. State Department

Around 7 million names were put on the list of “potential double voters” back before the 2014 election.Not one person put on the list has actually been convicted of double voting since the election.The states that participate in the program are required every year to make public a list giving names of every registered voter in the state. The Interstate Crosscheck then compares each state’s list with lists from other states in the program.

However, an investigation done by Rolling Stone found the program uses a biased and questionable methodology that puts voters with African-American, Latino, and Asian names in greater danger of being purged from the voter list and being falsely accused of double voting. Though the program is supposed to match the first, middle and last name, along with their date of birth also provide the last four digits of their Social Security number in order to further verify their identity.

Greg Palast, an investigative reporter found that a quarter of the names on the list did not have a middle name match. The system also neglected to take into account designations of Jr. and Sr., and the lists obtained by Palast did not include any Social Security numbers. Arizona is one of the 27 states participating in The Interstate Crosscheck program, which means minority voters living in Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix or anywhere else in this state, are in danger of being purged from the voter list.

Janell Alewyn, a librarian at Mesa Community College has taken it upon herself to spread the message of this program and she has been going to several groups such as the Black Student Union and the Asian Pacific Islanders Club and talking with them about the program and how they can protect their right to vote. Voters are encouraged to check their voter status online at tinyurl.com/AZvoter.

If their status is found to be inactive, despite them registering previously, they are encouraged to contact the Secretary of State’s office at 602-542-8683, or at 1-877-THE VOTE and ask that the error is corrected. It is also recommended that the voter takes a picture or screenshot of the website showing they are an active voter and take it to the polls when they vote.

If a voter is told at the polling site that they are not on the voter roll (and they are sure that they should be), they should call 1-866-OURVOTE (1-866-687-8683). The voter should also contact the local FBI field office, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice at (800) 253-3931. Alwyn has also requested that voters who have been purged from the voters list to contact her via email at azlibrarian@gmail.com and use the subject “Vote Denied.”

“The best defense against this is voter education, making sure that voters are aware of this and ready to fight back,” Alewyn said. The Interstate Crosscheck program is a voluntary program that is free for states to participate in.Florida dropped out of the program after the 2014 election, after the program was found fraught with errors.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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