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Palast writes: "Interstate Crosscheck is a computerized system meant to identify fraudulent voters. While Crosscheck's list of nearly 7 million names of 'potential' double voters has yet to unearth, as of this writing, a single illegal vote this year, it did help Republican elections officials scrub voters from registries."

A man walks in the parking lot of a voting center in Raleigh, North Carolina. (photo: Zach D. Roberts/Al Jazeera America)
A man walks in the parking lot of a voting center in Raleigh, North Carolina. (photo: Zach D. Roberts/Al Jazeera America)

Voter Purges Alter U.S. Political Map

By Greg Palast, Al Jazeera America

17 November 14


nterstate Crosscheck is a computerized system meant to identify fraudulent voters. While Crosscheck’s list of nearly 7 million names of “potential” double voters has yet to unearth, as of this writing, a single illegal vote this year, it did help Republican elections officials scrub voters from registries, enough, it appears, to have swung several important Senate and governor’s races in favor of the GOP.

There is good reason to believe that Crosscheck-related voter purges helped propel Republican candidates to slim victories in Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina, as well a tight gubernatorial race in Kansas.

Interstate Crosscheck is a computer system designed to capture the names of voters who have Illegally voted twice in the same election in two different states. The program is run by Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach’s office compares the complete voting rolls of participating states to tag “potential” double voters, those who have illegally voted twice in the same election in two states.

These names are then sent back to the state governments to inform an investigation of duplicate names on the voter rolls. While Kobach advertises Crosscheck as matching numerous identifiers, including the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of voters, a six-month investigation by Al Jazeera America revealed that Crosscheck rosters caught nothing more than matching first and last names. And voters remain on the suspect list even when middle names, Social Security numbers and suffixes (Jr., Sr.) don’t match. Yet all these people — the list contains nearly seven million names — are subject to losing their vote.

The program’s method of identifying and purging voters especially threaten the registrations of minority voters who are vulnerable because African-American, Asian-American and Hispanics are 67 percent more likely than white voters to share America’s most common names: Jackson, Washington, Lee, Rodriguez and so on.

See if your own name is on Crosscheck lists

It is no surprise that Republicans control most of the top election positions in Crosscheck’s 27 participating states. In all, Crosscheck tagged a breathtaking 6,951,484 voters for the possible removal from the voter rolls as “potential” duplicate voters.

Duplicate or double voting is a crime punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. Yet, despite this supposed vote-fraud crime wave, not one suspect on Crosscheck lists was charged, although prosecutors would have access to any alleged fraudsters’ names and addresses.

The Crosscheck list purges could easily account for Republican victories in at least two Senate races. In North Carolina, the GOP’s Thom Tillis won over incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes. Crosscheck tagged a breathtaking 589,393 North Carolinians as possible illegal double voters (though state elections officials cut that down to roughly 190,000).

In Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner was able to force out incumbent Senator Mark Udall in a race that had poll-watchers guessing all summer. The outcome might have been more predictable if Colorado had made public that 300,842 of the state’s voters were now subject to being purged from the voter rolls.

The Rocky Mountain State’s elections officials have a history of cleansing voter rolls without public explanation. Before the 2008 election, Colorado’s GOP Sec. of State Donetta Davidson began an unprecedented scrub of the electoral rolls, disenfranchising nearly one in six voters [PDF].

Not everyone on the Crosscheck lists loses their vote. But the purges are, nevertheless, huge. Just one state, Virginia, canceled the registrations of 41,637 voters last year, 13.5 percent of those on the list — and has since announced it will remove many more [PDF].

Other states’ voting officials are less forthcoming about their purges. For example, North Carolina and Ohio refused to release their Crosscheck lists on the grounds that all these voters, more than a million in those two states, are subjects of criminal investigation, which allows them to keep the information confidential.

If other states followed Virginia and scrubbed just 13.5 percent of their Crosscheck lists, that would more than cover the spread in the North Carolina Senate race and significantly contributed to the margins of victory in several other states. Moreover, this could account for the comeback victory of incumbent governor Sam Brownback in Kansas. Kansas originated Crosscheck and its Secretaries of State have been using it to promote the cleansing of voter rolls since 2005

Statistician Nate Silver wrote that there was a nearly universal error in polls leading up to this election. Silver found that, on average, pre-election polls showed Democrats winning four percentage points more of the vote than recorded in the official final tallies in Senate races, and 3.4 percent in the gubernatorial ones.

But journalist Brad Friedman, who tracks vote suppression techniques state by state, has another explanation. Friedman told Al Jazeera that what Silver calls an error in polling may in fact be a reflection of the votes lost to partisan manipulation of the voting system. Friedman accounts for many of the so-called pre-election polling “errors” by examining the Democratic votes lost to Crosscheck and several other vote suppression tactics such as Photo ID restrictions, missing voter registrations and a shortage of paper ballots.

The purge of those snared in the Crosscheck dragnet has only begun. The process of actually removing names from the voter rolls is slow and could take months, even years. It will likely have a bigger impact on the 2016 race than seen last week.

The ultimate swing state in the Presidential race remains Ohio, whose Republican secretary of state, John Husted, has embraced Crosscheck. Columbus State University professor Robert Fitrakis, an expert in voting law, tells Al Jazeera that he has spoken to county voting officials who are concerned that that Husted is pushing counties to scrub voter rolls of “duplicates” within 30 days of receiving the names from the Secretary of State. This gives counties little time and no resources to verify if the accused voter has, in fact, voted in a second state.

Husted’s office has refused to reveal the 469,201 names on Ohio’s Crosscheck list. How many will officials in Ohio ultimately scrub from the voter rolls? The answer may determine who will choose our next president: the voters or Crosscheck. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-82 # 2014-11-17 10:05
Yes, perhaps this Greg Palast, writing for the Islamic news Al Jazeera, is correct - but not likely.
What really happened ??

Well, the Democrats running for office took an early lead on election day....
and then....
the Republicans got off work and voted !
+41 # Anarchist 23 2014-11-17 12:06
I guess you forgot about the '04 Ohio vote and the Exit Polls were 5% wrong in the other direction...the protests that followed that the media did not cover...or 2000 for example...the bully boys of the Rethuglican Gestapo To Be that stopped the FLA count and threw it to their corporate SCOTUS..."If you can't win an election, steal it"...the motto of the men who wear the reversed pentagram on their Official Elephant Logo!
+18 # REDPILLED 2014-11-17 13:49
"and then....the Republicans got off work and voted !"

Revealing use of a classic stereotype to "explain" what "really happened".

Denial is STILL not only a river in Egypt, is it?
+9 # Reyn 2014-11-17 16:28
Bull. Your crude attempt at a smear as an opening volley discredits almost anything you could have said afterwards -- your subsequent smear against Democrats in general doesn't help your case. We voted after work too you see - and I rather think I would happily put my income up against yours *smile.* Republicans ALWAYS vote. My parents never missed an election in their lives - nor did any other Republican that I've known. Democrats do miss them, lots of them. It sucks and voter suppression matters - but do you REALLY care whether or not people can vote who are legally entitled to -- as long as your side wins?
+43 # DaveM 2014-11-17 10:49
I find this interesting, due to a possibly-relate d incident which occurred when I went to my local polling station this past election day. When the list of local residents' names was checked, mine had the words "challenged--co nvicted felon" next to them. After some questions and a phone call made by a voting judge, I was allowed to vote.

Which is good, since I am not and never have been a convicted felon. But for whatever reason, someone's database, somewhere, apparently believes I am.

I have since spoken with the local court administrator-- on the county level my record is correct and clean. The Secretary of State's Officer referred me to the keeper of another database which yielded the same results.

That said, where are the officials who oversee voting getting their wrong information? And how can I correct it? Thus far, I have been unable to find out.
+31 # Barbara K 2014-11-17 11:45
I think no one should be removed from the voting rolls without due process. Anyone can pick up the thing and remove anyone and if this is going to be the game the Rs play, the Dems need to play the same game. This is nothing but pure fraud and the ones doing this should be prosecuted and jailed. This is a rite that we have and should not be used as a scheme to rig the elections. This band of bandits are no better than a Saddam Hussein election. And is nothing short of Organized Crime.

+9 # WestWinds 2014-11-17 17:56
Exactly correct, Barbara K. And where is the federal government and the state governments on this? Why aren't they out there "investigating" the matter and getting to the bottom of this corruption?
Could it be because THEY are involved themselves? America is such a mess; unbelievable.
+1 # bckrd1 2014-11-18 17:19
You can only do it when you are the majority and the minority can only try to make the public know what is happening. That should be what the minority does so the people can let them know they do or don't like the idea. If the people don't know they can't care. The national news is not doing the job the people expect it to do and they don't have time or the energy to do what we are obviously doing, seeking it out from alternative sources. You have to vigilant.
+2 # Tigre1 2016-06-01 17:40
S.O.B.s...I'm getting angry enough about this arrogant nonsense I may start carrying
a pistol the closer we get to the dirty thieving lying bastards stealing our current Presidential election.

I am possibly more libby/lefty than anybody you've ever known...began shooting at age four.

And love the Constitution and am aware of its limitations...d id my military time somewhat honorably...and HATE the Repuglikkkan party and every one of its members...Grrrrrr.

Yes, I WOULD join a group dedicated to the violent extirpation of the GOP.
Would volunteer to serve in an execution
of all and each of them...sorry, but their party has changed, they cannot be trusted with the 'welfare and common defense'. They have other loyalties that the US Government and the Constitution and the citizens of this country, and I become angry just contemplating their many acts of hatred against ordinary citizens...
+34 # Philothustra 2014-11-17 10:54
The computerized system to disenfranchise
millions of Democrat voters is owned and
operated by Republican state officials-- big
surprise! Shades of the 2000 Florida Choice
Point scandal that robbed Gor. eYou might want to look at the “scrub list” of 173,000 names targeted to be knocked off the Florida voter registry by a division of the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. A close examination suggests thousands of voters lost their right to vote based on a flaw-ridden list that included purported “felons” provided by a private firm with tight Republican ties.

Early in the year, the company, ChoicePoint, gave Florida officials a list with the names of 8,000 ex-felons to “scrub” from their list of voters. But it turns out none on the list were guilty of felonies, only misdemeanors. The company acknowledged the error, and blamed it on the original source of the list — the state of Texas. UNQUOTE

Mr MOFO above clearly accepts the Romney premise hardworking Republicans are a majority while the 48 percent that "don't pay taxes" are deservedly disenfranchised.

As a decorated veteran retired and definitely
not paying taxes, I take umbrage at these
vicious Republithugs who steal everything,
including elections, with NO SENSE OF SHAME.

See the movie Citizen Four to know who is watching and black-mailing every member of both houses Congress into automatic approval of their blackbox budgets and out of control spying on EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN.
0 # bckrd1 2014-11-18 17:28
Just added to my Netflix. Should I take a valium?
+14 # Tigre1 2014-11-17 10:56
moafu:Perhaps your sneering and smirking 'explanation' has some validity
sometime and somewhere. It would be more useful if you could give meaningful specific examples.
It seems obvious that, like so many Hobbesian cons, you have no concept of America as a universal, nor intent to be useful to anyone or anything larger than your tiny, unclean, spiteful self.

Glad you commented. Please do so often...
+1 # cymricmorty 2014-11-18 10:43
moafu's remark is a crap meme he picked up off some flaming right-wing website.
+29 # Tigre1 2014-11-17 11:02
Oh, yes, to a more useful topic of consideration now...Palast's credentials are impeccable. He does very useful work, especially for some ballsy, caring Americans. It is unfortunate that more candidates and officeholders haven't banded together to use his discoveries as guides for energetic directive action...better government and voluntary citizen involvement in the political process, the American PROMISE and ideal, could become much more real...
+15 # nogardflow 2014-11-17 11:05
Ah, come on now, to those that believe the republicans would cheat to win, well I'm just flabbergasted by such an outrageous claim.
+10 # Skippydelic 2014-11-17 11:31
"Your winnings, Sir..." ;-)
+12 # Jim Young 2014-11-17 13:45
Quoting Skippydelic:
"Your winnings, Sir..." ;-)

"I'm shocked, shocked to find out that there is gambling going on in here," said Captain Renault, before being handed his winnings.

Have you noticed the republicans don't even bother to mention that someone should "round up the usual suspects"?

Perhaps all who were falsely purged from the voter roles where it tipped an election could sue for something like the difference in accumulated wealth between where they were before the elections were stolen and ten years after.
+6 # jwb110 2014-11-17 12:51
America was warned by many that their was a new kind of Soviet Rule happening to the country and I use the word Soviet rather than Fascist or Nazi because this is beginning to look like a Stalinist movement. Oligarchs in this country look very much like the Oligarchs in Russia under the old regime. If you don't believe me do a little reading on the subject.
I hope that this country wakes up enough to notice what they have wrought and that it can be turned on citizens who voted from hate rather than citizens rights for all.
+21 # Dust 2014-11-17 13:12
ALL code connected with voting machines, voter registration, voter "purges", and voter everything else, should be REQUIRED BY LAW to be completely open-source and transparent, openly published. The binaries executed on voter machines and on machines that run things like Crosscheck should be examined every few months to ensure that what is published is the same code as being executed.

And NOTHING of this nature should be run by private companies!
+3 # Granny Weatherwax 2014-11-18 11:46
Not just the code, the Gerber files for the hardware as well, and the machines covers should have to be transparent so that voters can verify the machine they are voting on is indeed of one unaltered model that was qualified.
These machines should be designed so that anyone can dump the program on a thumb drive so as to allow verification that the program running was indeed the one that was published - this requires more than simply a Windows machine, it requires a dedicated hardware design. it is feasible but it requires transparency, both figuratively and literally.
And none of the HW or SW shall be shielded from view under the guise of "trade secret".
0 # Dust 2014-11-18 12:32

And NONE of these machines should run either Windows or Apple software - they should be either some flavor of GNU/Linux or BSD.
+9 # Seadog 2014-11-17 13:41
I just went through a local election where the people I fought used voter suppression tactics to win. We beat them anyway, but their techniques worked to suppress a significant part of our base.
+9 # wwway 2014-11-17 16:10
One should never be taken off any voter roles without due process. That process must be immediate. From the sounds of this article there are apparently millions of voters who are purged without their knowledge or informed of the action. If those folks were prosecuted as described then there would be millions destined for prison. The states using Crosscheck don't have any desire to actually rectify the situation. This means that you can be removed and your vote not counted without you knowing it. So, you nit wits who have made arguments in favor of this practice may be in for a surprise. How do you know your vote was counted? How do you know you aren't being investigated? Surely someone else in another state has a similar name and if states don't bother to check conforming differences then your vote is burned too. Laugh all you want. If this can be done with the vote, what's next, idiot?
+8 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-11-17 16:21
EVERYONE over the age of 18 should be allowed to vote.
+6 # rockieball 2014-11-17 17:15
You know I have to laugh a bit. Because I wonder what happened when they entered George Foreman's name. If I recall he gave his sons all the same name. I have seen many times where people have the same names. Where a family will name a child after their favorite aunt or uncle.
+8 # spenel334 2014-11-17 19:10
I am incensed by what I'm reading, both about the fraudulent purging of voters and
the person who made the snide remark about Dems voting during the day etc. Isn't there a way that this purging information could be brought to the supreme court? Obviously a formidable amount of of work would have to go into straightening out Crosscheck's lists, verifying names and so on, but this is so obviously fraud, that the tactics could be publicized and outlawed? We already lost at least one election due to fraud; isn't there a way to put a stop to this chicanery? Or is that just my naivete?
How many do we have to lose to find a way to stop it?
+6 # bingers 2014-11-17 23:33
Moafu, pretty funny since Greg Palast is the finest investigative reporter in the world.
+3 # Aaron Tovish 2014-11-18 03:13
[Regarding the opening snide remark: You're right, all those Democrats who vote during the day are working night-shifts, which is, of course, beneath the dignity of Republicans.]
Why is it assumed that being registered to vote in two states is a sign of criminality? American are a very mobile people. If I move from State A to State B, where I register to vote, is it such a big deal if I forget to remove my name from State A's voting rolls? I have no intention of returning to State A to double vote. So if my name -- or more precisely SSN -- is duplicated, then the simple thing to do is expunge the least recent registration and inform me thereof. Perhaps with an admonition not to forget to un-register if I move to another State in the future.
But if duplication results in both registrations being expunged, that is criminal!
Does anyone know what the law requires regarding ones previous registration(s) ?
+7 # reo100 2014-11-18 03:36
Purging voters is the only way Republicans can win an election. Alleging six million people voted twice, or violating any election law without evidence is more criminal than actually voting twice. No person should be disenfranchised without first being charged and found guilty in a court of law. This could happen to you or I and how do we know are votes were counted in the recent election? Who will expose the results of the purges and when will we get an official count? How long will we sit idle, behind our keyboards and only talk about what is happening?
+4 # dbohj5l 2014-11-18 14:51
Thanks Greg,will keep an eye out for expansion to michigan at the least. Remember folks: it was "Uncle" Joe Stalin who said "it doesn't matter who votes,it only matters who counts the votes."

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