When the state Legislature reconvenes in January, we call on our local legislators to sign onto legislation pulling Idaho out of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program.
As reported by the Idaho Statesman last week, questions have been raised about the security of Idahoans’ voter registration information that is being handed over to the Crosscheck program. Since 2013, Idaho has voluntarily turned over voter information, including dates of birth and the last four digits of Social Security numbers, in an effort to update and verify Idaho’s voter rolls and to weed out potential voter fraud.
Turns out Crosscheck stores all that information on an unencrypted server. Further, according to the Statesman, through a public records request, the newspaper obtained emails between the Crosscheck program and Idaho officials. The emails showed that Crosscheck repeatedly sent the server’s address and login information, all in one email, to more than 50 people around the country.
The lack of data security, alone, is enough to pull out of the program. For those who haven’t heard, hackers are stealing personal data, it seems, every week. We shouldn’t be putting our voter registration information at risk like this.
We also have concerns about potential federal intrusion into the use of this data. As you may recall, President Trump’s voter fraud commission previously asked the state of Idaho for this same voter registration information, and Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney rightly turned the commission down, saying he would turn over only that information that is subject to Idaho’s public records law. But now, come to find out, Crosscheck is run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who also happens to be vice chairman of the voter fraud commission. That, alone, worries us about the potential use of our information.
But questions also remain as to whether Idaho’s information — some of which Denney said is not subject to public records law in Idaho — could be released through Kansas’ public records laws or those in Arkansas, where, for whatever reasons, the Crosscheck database is stored on a server.
In other words, even though it would be a violation of Idaho’s laws to release certain information, it could still be had through a public records request in another state.
Even the person who signed Idaho up for the program, former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, says we should pull out of Crosscheck.
Finally, we think these extraordinary measures to uncover some sort of voter fraud are overblown, overkill and costly. The evidence of voter fraud to date is so small and isolated that these hunts for fraud seem like killing an ant with a machine gun.
Keep in mind, too, that only 28 states participated in Crosscheck this year, and that four states have left Crosscheck, including our neighbors Washington and Oregon. If not every state participates, how is it even possible to find someone who is voting in two different states, if other states aren’t in the database? In Idaho’s case, two of our largest neighbors aren’t even in the database for us to check against.
We recognize that in addition to weeding out voter fraud, Crosscheck fulfills a federal requirement that Idaho keep “clean” voter rolls, as Denney pointed out in a press release to the media. But it seems like Idaho could do it more efficiently — and securely — rather than shipping the information out of state and trusting someone else to handle it properly. With its loose email policy clearly demonstrated, Crosscheck has already proven itself unworthy of our trust.
At least a couple of state legislators have said they’re planning on introducing legislation to get us out of the program. We urge our local legislators to get on board, as well.
Our editorial board
Our editorials are based on the majority opinions of our editorial board. Not all opinions are unanimous. Members of the board are Publisher Matt Davison and community members Jean Mutchie, Mikki Simpson, Kari Child and Bob Otten. Editor Scott McIntosh is a nonvoting member.