The Interstate Crosscheck system is a database used by officials in 27 states to identify voters potentially registered to vote in more than one state. States need a mechanism to maintain accurate voter rolls, but the states participating in the Interstate Crosscheck system risk purging legally registered voters—with a significant oversampling from communities of color—from the voting lists.

The system flagged roughly 7 million names of “potential double voters” prior to the 2014 election; however, since 2014, not a single person has been convicted of double voting pursuant to Crosscheck data. This large number of false positives is due to Crosscheck not taking into account information that may disqualify a match: Social Security numbers should be disregarded if they do not match, “Jr.” and “Sr.” distinctions are often ignored, and many names on the list have mismatched middle names. Because nonwhite communities share surnames more commonly than white communities—in fact, 50 percent of Communities of Color share a common surname, while only 30 percent of white people do—this leads to a greater number of flagged potential double voters, and thus a significant overrepresentation of minority voters on the Crosscheck list: While white voter names are underrepresented by 8 percent, African American voters are overrepresented by 45 percent; Hispanic voters are overrepresented by 24 percent; and Asian voters are overrepresented by 31 percent.

There is an alternative for states looking for a mechanism to maintain accurate voting rolls, which already has been adopted by 12 states—ERIC, or the Electronic Registration Information Center, a program developed by IBM and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Rather than just matching the voter’s name and date of birth, ERIC requires an exact match across several fields, such as driver’s license number or Social Security number. Furthermore, ERIC gives state election officials the opportunity to build the rolls as well as clean them, providing lists of potentially unregistered voters as an outreach opportunity and requiring participating states to contact those potential new registrants.

For a more detailed explanation of each factor, including citations, please download the full report.

Click to view scoring methodology
  1. Current Policy in State
    Points added to score
  2. State does not participate in the Interstate Crosscheck System
    0 points
  3. State does participate in the Interstate Crosscheck System
    10 points
Policy Recommendation for This Factor
End participation in the Crosscheck program

As detailed in this report, the Crosscheck system is not only riddled with errors, but the lists provided also have an outsized effect on communities of color. Given that the Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s 2014 report recommended that states participate in an interstate compact to share voter registration information, states seeking an avenue to maintain accurate voter rolls are advised to join the ERIC system. Not only does the ERIC system provide the ability to clean a state’s voter rolls, but it also gives state election officials the opportunity to build the rolls as well, providing lists of potentially unregistered voters as an outreach opportunity.

Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.

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© 2015 Center for American Progress Action Fund

Press Contact: Benton Strong at Bstrong@americanprogressaction.org 202-481-8142

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