CHICAGO – Amid rising concerns about data security and voters being wrongfully removed from registration rolls, State Senator Bill Cunningham chaired a joint committee hearing Wednesday to examine the Illinois State Board of Elections use of a controversial national voter registration database known as "Crosscheck."

At a joint hearing of the House Elections Committee and the Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee, legislators grilled election officials over the many problems associated with the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, a registration system that compares state voter rolls. Published reports have raised questions about the system's susceptibility to hackers, while others have argued the system has been used as a vehicle to suppress minority voters in jurisdictions outside of Illinois.

"Illinois residents need to be confident that the personal information they submit when they register to vote is secured and protected from internet hackers," Cunningham said. "Because numerous doubts have been raised about the security of Crosscheck, it is time for the Board of Elections to reconsider their use of the system."

The joint committee heard testimony from Shawn Davis, a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education. Davis testified that the Crosscheck system has several security concerns that make private personal information easily accessible. While most websites handling sensitive information use secure file transmission networks called SFTPs, Crosscheck uses an unsecured network system.

Additionally, many voting rights activists say that Crosscheck is a vehicle for discrimination at the voting booth. This is because Crosscheck compares first and last names of state voter databases, ignoring middle names and designations like Jr. or Sr. This is viewed as problematic by experts because communities of color are more likely to share last names, making them easy targets for voter suppression.

In one example reported by Rolling Stone Magazine, the state of Georgia had 357 individuals registered to vote under the name “James Brown”. Crosscheck did not denote the difference between James W. Brown, James A. Brown or James C. Brown meaning those 357 voters could have been stopped from voting because of the program.

The Illinois Board of Elections currently subscribes to two national voter database systems designed to help election authorities identify voters who may be registered in more than one state: Crosscheck and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) The state board is scheduled to discuss their use of Crosscheck at their monthly meeting on November 20.

Category: Press Releases


“Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois.” - State Senator Bill Cunningham

SPRINGFIELD – A veto of legislation preventing local governments from enacting “right-to-work” laws was overridden by a huge bipartisan majority today. The legislation, Senate Bill 1905, codifies the opinion of the federal court which ruled that only states have the authority to pass such laws.

Right-to-work laws are designed to financially cripple unions by allowing workers to not join a union and not pay dues. Despite not paying those dues, the union is still required to negotiate on behalf of those workers.

State Senator Bill Cunningham voted to override the governor’s veto.

“Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois,” Cunningham said. “Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

The veto was overridden with forty-two votes, six more than required. The legislation now goes to the House where seventy-one votes are needed.

Category: Press Releases

ORLAND PARK – Chicago area residents searching for a job have a chance to meet with hiring employers in the area this Thursday in Orland Park.

State Senator Bill Cunningham and State Representative Fran Hurley will be hosting the job fair at the Orland Park Civic Center from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. In order to register, job seekers can go to senatorbillcunningham.com and follow the link for job seekers.

On Saturday, 18th legislative district constituents who want a chance to talk to Senator Cunningham and Representative Hurley about their concerns with state government will be able to at more than a dozen coffee shops around the district.

For a list of locations and times, information can be found at senatorbillcunningham.com, or call (773) 445-8128.

Coffee Marathon

Category: Press Releases


“All this legislation sought to do was allow these firefighters to transfer the pension contributions they previously made to a different system. The measure would have had no effect on the state budget. The firefighters paid for and earned these benefits.” - State Senator Bill Cunningham

CHICAGO – A measure that would allow Chicago firefighters to transfer credit from previous service to their current pension was vetoed by Governor Rauner, marking the third time the governor has vetoed legislation designed to protect the pensions of Chicago firefighters and police officers.

Under House Bill 688, Chicago firefighters and paramedics who served with a suburban fire department would be allowed transfer their previous service credit to the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. The bill passed the legislature with strong bipartisan majorities earlier this year, but it was vetoed by the governor September 15th.

State Senator Bill Cunningham, the legislation’s sponsor in the Senate, said that he is troubled by the veto because it will continue to allow firefighters to be treated differently than other public employees. Most teachers, state workers, and municipal employees are allowed to transfer pension service time if they move from one district or agency to another.

“Many firefighters served for a few years with suburban departments before joining the Chicago Fire Department,” Cunningham said. “All this legislation sought to do was allow these firefighters to transfer the pension contributions they previously made to a different system. The measure would have had no effect on the state budget. The firefighters paid for and earned these benefits.”

Rauner's veto of HB 688 is just the latest in a series of legislation designed to protect the benefits of Chicago police officers and firefighters that the governor has fought. Previously, Rauner vetoed a bill designed to refinance the police and fire pension funds' debt and direct more city revenue to the funds.

Rauner also vetoed a bill to improve survivor benefits for the spouses of new officers and firefighters enrolled in Tier 2 pensions. The same veto sought to block officers and firefighters born after 1955 from receiving modest cost of living adjustments that were granted to older pension members.

Each of Rauner's previous vetoes of Chicago police and fire pension measures were overridden by the legislature. Cunningham said he would work with the House sponsor of HB 688 in an attempt to override the governor's veto again the fall.

In order to override the veto, both chambers of the General Assembly would need a three-fifths vote.

Category: Press Releases


The latest news from the Joomla! Team

September 13th Hiring Event

Employer Registration is Now Closed.


Job Seeker Registration

job seekers

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
311B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5145
(217) 782-2115 FAX
District Offices:
10400 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-8128
(773) 672-5143 FAX

16033 S. 94th Avenue
Orland Hills, IL 60477
(708) 233-9703