Pro Publica reports news from Kansas relevant to Arkansas: Kansas has agreed to stop using CrossCheck, a supposed voter fraud detection system, because of concerns raised about security risks.
CrossCheck was the brainchild of former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He touted it as ferreting out fraudulent voters. Turns out pointing out multiple voters with similar names — lots of Bill Smiths out there — issn’t necessarily a pathway to preventing vote fraud. It didn’t stop Arkansas, then led by Secretary of State Mark Martin, and many other states from joining in the CrossCheck system.
A blast from the past, when CrossCheck began unraveling:
Crosscheck was launched by the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, which continues to run the program to this day. But, for whatever reason, before election officials in Kansas actually acquire any of the voter data, it is dumped onto a server maintained by the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. According to security experts, the network on which the server sits is highly susceptible to attack. One of the researchers told Gizmodo with high confidence that infiltrating the network would likely take only a matter of hours.”
Martin’s office declined to talk to me about this at the time. Writes Pro Publica:
Joe Hall, the former chief technologist for the Center for Democracy & Technology, had called the problems with the program “complete operational security incompetence.” Other experts had also alleged that the program had an extraordinarily high false positive rate, meaning supposed examples of people being registered in multiple states were often wrong.
In November 2017, reporting by ProPublica and Gizmodo showed that the program was run on insecure servers and that its administrators regularly exchanged passwords by email. Lauren Bonds, the legal director for the ACLU of Kansas, cited that reporting in the legal action against the state.
The Kansas Secretary of State’s office — now run by Scott Schwab, a Republican — has repeatedly said that no matches have been performed using the program since late 2017.
I’ve asked Thurston’s office if it still submits data. Let’s hope, as in Kansas, where the ACLU sued, he’s thought better of it.
UPDATE: A spokesman said today the Arkansas secretary of state no longer submits information to CrossCheck. It stopped in 2017.
Arkansas, under Martin, was the only state to submit data to a supposed vote integrity commission Donald Trump engineered as part of the Republican Party’s broad vote suppression issues. The flaws and sharing of sensitive information brought about its downfall.