ACLU sues Kansas Secretary of State over voter registration database
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ACLU sues Kansas Secretary of State over voter registration database

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Tuesday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach [official profile] for the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, in which weak security measures allegedly allow access to the private, sensitive information of voters.

The program compares voter registration lists in multiple participating states for duplicates. The program is validated as a prevention of voter fraud, but the ACLU and other groups argue that the program is highly flawed, with about 99.5 percent false matches and high security risks. The lawsuit specifically alleges that Kobach sends voters’ signatures, partial social security numbers, and other sensitive information, by unencrypted email. It support of its contention, the ACLU points to an incident in 2017, in which almost a thousand Kansas voters’ private identifying information, including part of their social security number, was released through unencrypted email. According to the suit, such practices leaves voters vulnerable to identity theft, which one plaintiff was actually the victim of in 2013.

The ACLU is seeking a prohibition on the sharing of sensitive, identifying information with other states through this program until adequate security measures are in place, remedy for past violations, and a declaratory judgment against Kobach for violation of the 14th Amendment [text] right to privacy law and Kansas Public Records Act [text] for disclosure of voters’ social security.

The ACLU also alleges [press release] Kobach is using the program to reduce participation in Kansas elections.

This is not the only voter law passed by Kansas that has been challenged. Recently, a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of US citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws violate the constitutional right to vote.