Bill would pull NH out of interstate voter crosscheck program | New Hampshire
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Bill would pull NH out of interstate voter crosscheck program

By DAVE SOLOMON
State House Bureau

January 16. 2018 6:33PM




CONCORD — The question of voter fraud was before New Hampshire lawmakers once again on Tuesday, as the Senate Election Law Committee was urged to support legislation that would end the state’s participation in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

“It removes New Hampshire from a program that is not safe, not secure and is basically not working,” said Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, prime sponsor of SB 439. “I am in total agreement with the Secretary of State and others that we should be looking to make our voter files as clean and up-to-date as possible, but Crosscheck does not accomplish that goal.”

Lasky said the state should instead consider joining what she called “the more modern, secure and effective” program known as ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center), a program developed by IBM and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Crosscheck program is used by officials in 30 states while ERIC is used in about 20. Some states use both programs, while about seven or eight use neither, according to New Hampshire’s Assistant Secretary of State for elections, David Scanlan.

He urged lawmakers to keep New Hampshire in the Crosscheck program, launched in 2005 by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who led the now-defunct Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

“There is no question it is in the public interest to have voter rolls as clean as possible and to trim the rolls of any voters who have passed away, moved or for any other reason have become disqualified,” Scanlan said. “Crosscheck is a tool that allows us to do that.”

Crosscheck compares voter checklists from state to state based on three variables — first name, last name and birth date. Laske said the system turns up thousands of alleged duplicate voters each year in New Hampshire who aren’t actually voting in two states.

Some are still registered in the state they used to live in, but don’t vote there. In other cases, the duplicates turn out to be different people altogether, who just happen to have the same name and birthday.

ERIC uses several variables, such as driver’s license numbers or Social Security numbers.

“We would also welcome the opportunity to work with ERIC,” said Scanlan. “It picks up other states. So to get a complete picture, we need to be involved with both programs. ERIC would cost the state some money, whereas Crosscheck is relatively inexpensive and in our experience so far has been just fine.”

Jeanne Hruska, policy director for ACLU-NH, testified that Crosscheck “produces an abundance of false positives.”

“Crosscheck encourages the purging of voters and even sends states instructions on how to purge voters,” she said. “Kobach has consistently advised that any duplicates be purged, even if there is no proof of fraud, meaning voters could be disenfranchised for no reason other than being registered in another state.”

ERIC gives state election officials lists of potentially unregistered voters as an outreach opportunity and urges participating states to contact those potential new registrants. It is widely endorsed by Democrats, while many Republicans prefer Crosscheck.

When asked by Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, how many people across the country have the same name and birth date, Hruska replied, “It actually happens more than you might think.”

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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