Voter Fraud Detector Fails in Florida

A controversial effort to clean up the voter files in Florida has been discontinued, largely due to eligible voters being improperly purged from the registered voter list.

Florida's Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner put an end to the program, called Crosscheck, which was designed to prevent fraudulent "double voting." Crosscheck aims to eliminate from the voter rolls — lists states keep of registered voters — any voter registered in another state. Its techniques used have been criticized for inaccurately identifying double voters. One North Carolina report that identified tens of thousands of voters with active registrations in other states was debunked due to flaws in methodology. That report simply identified voters who happen to have the same name and date of birth as voters in other states, which will pull thousands more names than actual identity matches. Even when partial social security numbers were used, the results were faulty. About 47,370 people share each last-four-digit combination.

Crosscheck is run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who recently won Kansas the right to require proof of citizenship during voter registration. The program has long been politically controversial, particularly in Florida, where a 2012 purge of the voter rolls aimed at discovering and purging non-citizens led to recorded citizen disenfranchisement. Human error can also play a large role. Even Crosscheck's official literature notes that “a significant number of apparent double votes are false positives and not double votes.” Though endorsed by the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, the program will continue to stir heated debate over its fairness, accuracy, and political intent.