DMV registering voters – what possibly could go wrong?
The California Motor Voter program was promoted as a way to make registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) more convenient. Eligible applicants would completing a driver license, identification (ID) card or change of address transaction with the DMV, and then would be automatically registered to vote by the California Secretary of State (unless they choose to opt out),
The new rule is as successful as I anticipated. The only law that really works in California is the one involving unintended consequences.
California’s top elections official said Tuesday he doesn’t yet know if any of the roughly 1,500 people mistakenly registered to vote by the Department of Motor Vehicles cast ballots in the June primary.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office is investigating and working with counties to ensure ineligible people don’t vote in the November election.
The roughly 1,500 people either told the DMV they were ineligible or didn’t confirm their eligibility but were registered anyway, he said. The group included at least one non-citizen living legally in the state and perhaps many more. It could also include people under 18 or those ineligible to vote because of a criminal conviction, Padilla said. The DMV said none of the people mistakenly registered are people living in the country illegally.
One of those improperly registered is a Canadian.
One Canadian national who’s lived in the U.S. 31 years told the Los Angeles Times that he knew it was a mistake when he was told he was newly registered to vote.
“When I saw that card, I just threw it out,” Randall Marquis said. “I know I’m not going to vote. I’m not allowed to vote, it’s stupid that I should be registered to vote.”
How many are going to retain that registration and vote in the upcoming election? Those of us who value our legal votes, and do not want them cancelled by non-citizens, are deeply concerned. The situation is so bad that Padilla is shifting the full blame on the DMV:
Calling it unacceptable, Secretary of State Alex Padilla angrily criticized Department of Motor Vehicles officials Tuesday after they improperly registered about 1,500 people to vote in November’s election.
Padilla did not mince words when it came to the error.
“These mistakes from the DMV are totally unacceptable,” he told reporters. “It risks jeopardizing confidence in the electoral process which is why yesterday I called for an independent audit of the DMV’s technology and their practices…The DMV needs to get it together here real quick.”
This news comes hard on the heels of the revelation the DMV botched another 23,000 registrations.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles incorrectly registered 23,000 people to vote, including putting the wrong political party and vote-by-mail preferences for those Californians, the embattled agency said.
…It said the errors occurred when DMV technicians had more than one customer record open on a computer at the same time, causing those records to merge. Updated software and staff training will prevent the mistake from occurring again, DMV officials said.
The errors also included signing people up to vote who did not register and putting the wrong language preference. The DMV said none of the errors involved undocumented immigrants, who are eligible to sign up for driver’s licenses.
Given the ease and efficiency normally experienced by those dealing with motor vehicle departments, most people would have projected that the Motor Voter law would be full of fail. Perhaps it was suppose to be a feature and not a bug, as failure seems to be the only constant factor in California’s recent laws and regulations.