Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Crosscheck: GOP's Voter Suppression Data Monster

U.S. states where Crosscheck is used
With growing numbers of the Washington-based Republican establishment writing off Donald Trump's chances to win, all bets are off for GOP efforts to retain their majority in the Senate and the House next month when Americans head to the polls.

Paul Ryan's recent conference call to Republican lawmakers likely covered the importance of the GOP's ongoing ten-year mission.

Not to explore the depths of outer space like the Federation, but their darker mission to systematically and illegally prevent large blocks of American voters, who statistically tend to vote Democratic, from voting by taking advantage of an assortment of questionable "Voter ID" laws passed by majority-Republican state legislatures.

Republicans also have a monster to help them with that.

Not Trump, they created that monster but he's long since fled the castle to roam the countryside and they're no longer able to control him - and according to a recent New York Times article chronicling disturbing claims of his creepy, unwanted sexual groping and kissing by multiple women, Trump has a really hard time controlling his hands too.

The Republicans have a digital monster called Crosscheck that uses skewed data with intentionally oversimplified search parameters to systematically disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people across the nation from exercising their right to vote.

As Greg Palast reported in an article in the September 8th issue of Rolling Stone, one of the most important tools Republicans will be using to try and retain control of Congress is officially known as the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

Crosscheck mastermind Kris Kobach
According to Palast's research, thanks to Republican-majority state legislatures, some twenty-eight different states across the nation (see map above) use Crosscheck to compare names, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and birthdates.

All under the guise of trying to uncover individuals registered in more than one state who may vote twice; an almost non-existent offense Republicans falsely trumpet as being rampant.

Crosscheck was the twisted brainchild of one of the truly mad professors of Republican politics, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, creator of the same Arizona law that allowed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to direct his deputies to illegally pull over thousands of Hispanic drivers to check their immigration status.

On Tuesday a federal court filed criminal contempt charges against Arpaio for refusing a court order to stop using sheriff's deputies to engage in immigration enforcement after slews of complaints from registered U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent being pulled over because of their ethnicity.

So how successful is Kobach's Crosscheck program?

According to Palast's article: "Crosscheck has tagged an astonishing 7.2 million suspects, yet we found no more than four perpetrators who have been charged with double-voting or deliberate double registration."

Greg Palast & some of the names flagged by Crosscheck
In an earlier article about the Crosscheck program that Palast wrote for Al Jazeera back in 2014, an analysis of lists containing over two million different names flagged by the Crosscheck system in the states of Georgia, Virginia and Washington revealed that the lists were "heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garicia, Patel and Kim - ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic."

So what it boils down to is that Kobach is essentially an architect of reactionary laws of dubious merit that sanction the targeting and profiling of American people of color and ethnic minorities based on the unjustified conservative-fueled fears of minor civil infractions.

Kobach's brand of "shake the tree and a bad apple will fall out" legal chicanery is part of the larger overall Republican strategy to secure majorities in Congress; as Palast notes, the majority of the twenty-eight states where Crosscheck is used have majority-Republican state legislatures.

So when those tight Senate races in critical swing states like New Hampshire and Ohio come down to the wire, Republicans hope Crosscheck and it's database full of faulty data will make the difference.

Sound absurd? Par for the course for the party that nominated a serial sexual predator as it's nominee for president.

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