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Politics & Government

Democrats: Leave Idaho Out Of Voter Crosscheck

Emilie Ritter Saunders
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Democrats are demanding the state cut ties to a program intended to stamp out voter fraud.

About 30 states use Voter Crosscheck as a way to make sure people aren’t casting ballots in multiple states. Last month, a ProPublica investigation found the program was using an insecure server to transfer sensitive voter information.

Voter Crosscheck officials also sent login information for the server to partner states via email, which wasn’t redacted in public records requests, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) says he’ll introduce a bill in January that would force the state to drop out of the program.

“Idaho does a fine job of policing its elections and this is a cyber-vulnerability that doesn’t actually fix our voting challenges,” Erpelding says.

It’s unclear what form the bill might take, though Erpelding says it should be a priority for the state to end the relationship entirely.

“I think government should be more responsible with our private information. So that’s what we’re looking at: How do we make sure that things like Social Security numbers and birth dates aren’t being sent to an insecure server in Arkansas.”

But Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (R) notes it’s the first time he’s heard of these security concerns.

He’s currently weighing whether or not to stick with Voter Crosscheck.

“We’ve got several months to make that decision and if the security protocols are such that we feel like it’s still a good deal we’ll stay in. If they’re not good enough we’ll find other alternatives,” Denney says.

He argues Idaho does need help purging ineligible voters from the rolls and that the bill may have unintended consequences.

The state is required to maintain an accurate database under federal law. Before former Secretary of State Ben Ysursa first enrolled Idaho in the Voter Crosscheck program in 2014, officials purged anyone who hadn’t cast a ballot in five years – something that still happens.

Last year, Denney says the program flagged about 28,000 names that could’ve been ineligible to vote. He says he’s not sure how many were ultimately purged, as that work happens at the county level.

In Ada County this year, the majority of those flagged records turned out to be false positives, according to the Statesman.

The state has until April to decide whether it’ll drop out of the free program or send in the latest batch of data.

For more local news, follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson

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