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The Majority Report 11/17/17 - Crosscheck draws scrutiny in Illinois


Cunningham questions use of Crosscheck voter data

Sen. Bill CunninghamAs concerns rise about data security and voters wrongfully removed from registration rolls, Senator Bill Cunningham is calling attention to Illinois’ use of the national voter registration database known as Crosscheck.

“Because numerous doubts have been raised about the security of Crosscheck, it is time for the Board of Elections to reconsider its use of the system,” said Cunningham, a Chicago Democrat.

Crosscheck — officially the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck — is a system that compares state voter rolls. Published reports have raised questions about its susceptibility to hackers. Critics say it can suppress minority voters because it compares first and last names in state voter databases while ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr.

In one example reported by “Rolling Stone” magazine, 357 Georgia voters were registered under the name James Brown. Crosscheck did not denote the difference between James W. Brown, James A. Brown or James C. Brown, which could have resulted in citizens being barred from voting.

At a hearing Wednesday, legislators grilled state elections officials about problems associated with Crosscheck. Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said he is worried that Illinois is compromising voters' personal information by remaining with the program.

“Keeping sensitive voter information on an unsecured database is a hacker’s dream,” he said. “The state of Illinois should walk away from the Crosscheck program and use more reliable systems that don’t expose the private information of Illinois residents.”


Senators urge speedy study of teacher shortage

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantThree Senate education leaders urged the governor’s administration to expedite its study of the statewide teacher shortage and report findings to the General Assembly by March 1.

In a Nov. 14 letter addressed to the State Board of Education, Senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy Manar asked for an accelerated inquiry into the crisis so that lawmakers will have enough time to pass legislation to help address the matter prior to next school year.

The shortage has caused more than 2,000 current teaching positions to go unfilled statewide.

“We commend you for the effort made thus far by the State Board to address teacher shortages and for further prioritizing the issue by initiating a year of inquiry on the subject,” the letter reads. “However, this is a crisis that deserves even more urgent attention and swift action to provide crucial support to students, administrators, and teachers.”

Bertino-Tarrant, a Shorewood Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said solving the problem requires everyone to pull together.

“The State Board of Education is doing the right thing by trying to find out what has gone wrong and what we need to do to get qualified teachers into classrooms more efficiently,” she said. “The sooner they can convey that information to the General Assembly, the sooner we can do our part to help correct this problem.”

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Latino Caucus thanks troops for helping Puerto Rico

Sen. Martin A. SandovalMembers of the Illinois Senate Democrats’ Latino Caucus expressed gratitude to the roughly 150 Illinois Army National Guard troops that are in Puerto Rico, helping with recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Thousands of people on the island, a U.S. territory, continue to live without electricity or clean water. The troops are performing such tasks as providing security, conducting law enforcement patrols, escorting relief convoys and more.

“Illinois has a large population of Puerto Ricans, and sending support to those who are struggling in their homeland is the right thing to do,” said Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), co-chairman of the Latino Caucus.

Soldiers from the 933rd Military Police Company were flown to Puerto Rico this month by the Illinois Air National Guard’s Peoria-based 182nd Airlift Wing and Scott Air Force-based 126th Air Refueling Wing. They were deployed after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello requested support through a mutual-aid compact.

Sixty Illinois Air National Guard airmen already were on the island.

“As a Puerto Rican legislator who represents a large Puerto Rican constituency, it is heartening to know that our state is willing to send National Guard troops to help victims of Hurricane Maria,” said Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago).

“Like many in my community, I have family members in Puerto Rico who are still without running water and have limited communication with the outside world,” he said. “While troops from Illinois help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, I plan to continue working with community groups in Illinois to help the displaced families.”


In case you missed it


Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: U of I Police Training Institute will keep training cops | Peoria Public Radio

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Bertino-Tarrant visits SPEC Engineering in Plainfield | The Herald-News, Joliet

Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: Flood victims in 18 counties eligible for tax credit under new law | Lake County News-Sun

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Illinois doctors campaign for medical marijuana as alternative to opioids | Chicago Tribune

Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: IlliniCare slashing rates to Medicaid suppliers | Crain’s Chicago Business

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Our View: Teacher shortage needs to be the next priority for education | The State Journal-Register, Springfield

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: Morrison hosting Lake Bluff town hall | Lake Forest Patch

Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: Women’s caucus intends to be taken seriously | The Chicago Citizen

Senator Patricia Van Pelt, Chicago: Streator ER can accept more ambulances | The Ottawa Times


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