SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham commended the Illinois State Board of Elections’ decision Tuesday to end the state’s participation in a controversial multistate voter database.

The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program was designed to detect voters who are registered in more than one state. But the system’s lax security was widely criticized by information technology experts who cautioned Crosscheck unwittingly exposed the personal data of millions of voters to computer hackers. Additionally, Crosscheck was allegedly used in some states to unfairly cancel the registration of voters simply because they shared similar names and birthdays with voters in other states.

“The deep flaws of the Crosscheck system have become more and more evident in recent months,” Cunningham said. “Illinois could simply not remain a participating state without needlessly exposing voters to a data breach.”

Cunningham credited voter rights activists with local chapters of Indivisible with bringing attention to problems with the Crosscheck system, particularly its disproportionate effect on minority voters, who studies show were most likely to be wrongly removed from voter rolls.

In Iowa, out of 240,000 “matches” Crosscheck flagged as potentially double-registered voters, only six turned out to be the same person, according to a statistical analysis by researchers at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and Microsoft.

Cybersecurity experts testified to a joint committee chaired by Cunningham in 2017 that the Crosscheck system also has several security concerns that make private information easily accessible. According to one expert, Crosscheck is so lacking in basic firewall technology that a “novice hacker” can gain access to the personal data of millions of Americans through the system. Several other states have dropped Crosscheck as a result.

Cunningham co-sponsored legislation to remove Illinois from the Crosscheck program in 2018. Senate Bill 2273 passed both houses of the General Assembly, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Category: Press Releases

Cunninham InaugurationSPRINGFIELD – Access to health care, continued funding for education, protecting consumers’ rights and ensuring the state has a balanced budget will continue to be priorities for State Senator Bill Cunningham, who was sworn in for his third term today.

“I am honored that the people of the 18th District have entrusted me with another term as their state senator,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “I look forward to continuing to represent my community in Springfield and passing legislation that will move our state forward.”

During his previous term in the Illinois Senate, Cunningham passed measures to protect consumers from identity theft, to eliminate police ticket quotas and to ensure proper funding for pensions for first responders. He voted to increase southwest suburban school districts’ share of state funding to help reduce reliance on local property taxes, and he helped pass limits on youth access to harmful cigarettes and tobacco products.

Cunningham first joined the Illinois Senate in 2013.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – An initiative that will help spur redevelopment of a key piece of industrial property in Chicago Ridge will become law after state legislators voted this week to override the governor’s veto of the plan.

The measure, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, prohibits land owners from disconnecting their property from a municipality if the land is contained within a tax increment financing district.

The current owner of the long-abandoned Yellow Freight trucking yard on Harlem Avenue wants to disconnect from the city’s TIF district, but a developer looking to rehabilitate the 90-acre property wants to utilize the benefits of the TIF district.

“This bill will stop the current owner of the property from scuttling the Chicago Ridge economic redevelopment plan for the property and the entire Harlem Avenue corridor,” Cunningham said.

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate voted Wednesday to override the governor’s veto. The House voted to override the veto on Nov. 14.

Category: Press Releases

Cigarette350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham voted Wednesday to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would increase the age to legally purchase tobacco products in Illinois to 21.

“Big tobacco has a long track record of targeting young people to sell their products,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This legislation demonstrates our commitment to improving the health of Illinois teenagers by limiting their access to tobacco and preventing lifelong addiction from developing.”

The bill would make Illinois the sixth state in the country to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21. More than 300 municipalities across the United States have adopted Tobacco 21, including 24 communities in Illinois.

Raising the tobacco purchasing age has been proven to reduce the number of high school students who use tobacco products. In Chicago, where Tobacco 21 is currently in effect, the high school smoking rate dropped from 13.6 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2017.

The Senate voted 36 to 19 to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2332.

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