The story of how I decided to take on Crosscheck starts on November 9, 2016.
Like many people, I woke up on November 9, 2016 feeling unsettled. Concerned. Confused. Upset. Something weird appeared to have happened.
I'm an unaffiliated voter. I had fervently hoped neither Trump nor Clinton would be nominated. (He because of lack of competence and integrity, her out of fear that corruption investigations would occur non stop if she was elected.). Once they were nominated, I believed Clinton was the only reasonable choice.
Based on polls, conversations with people around me, yard signs in my very Republican neighborhood, and so on, it seemed likely she would win.
Around 5:30 or 6:00 pm on election night, on whatever channel I was watching, a commentator quoted a member of the Trump camp as saying "it would take a miracle". There was talk of a blue wave. I told my husband that I hoped the GOP retained a majority in at least one legislative branch so we'd have strong checks and balances on Clinton.
And then...the unimaginable happened.
And I, like probably millions of people, wondered: is it possible that our electoral system is vulnerable to manipulation?
I had expected - naively, it turns out - that our voting system was run like the banking system. Elaborate audits, risk limiting protocols, accountability, and rigorous insistence on getting it right and being able to prove exactly how we know it is right.
I became aware for the first time to the issues surrounding who created and owns the companies that manufacture our electronic voting machines, the sporadic reports of voting day issues across the country that don't seem to be tracked or evaluated, the lack of consistent auditing. There were so many places that changes could occur without being detected that my mind boggled.
Whether or not vote manipulation shenanigans were involved in handing Trump the presidency (and I don't claim to know the answer to that), it became clear that the system is vulnerable to manipulation...and that we wouldn't necessarily know if it happened.
I decided that protecting our vote was going to be my passion going forward, but I was intimidated by the scale and complexity of the issues.
Then I remembered an article I'd read a few months before about one narrow aspect of our electoral system: voter registration list maintenance.
List maintenance is super sexy, right? I mean, you can see why I was instantly passionate about it. (Unnecessary disclosure: I am a nerd.).
The article discussed major issues with something called Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (Crosscheck) system. What caught my attention initially was that Crosscheck was operated by my home state (Kansas) on behalf of all two-dozen-plus member states.
Kansas, then as now, was unable to properly fund public schools. We were broke. So I thought, why are we paying for this thing?
I also thought how weird it was that a single state was allowed to be in charge of the voting rights for so many. From a civics standpoint, I'd assumed we all agreed that election administration should be non partisan.
There's a reason we all teach our kids that one person cuts the cake, and the other chooses. It is generally a really bad idea to let the fox guard the henhouse.
So I decided to take a deeper look.
I wish I'd journaled or blogged throughout this process, but I'll try to document as much of the process as I can. Stay tuned for more!