Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
My Turn: ‘Motor Voter’ Was a Disaster Waiting to Happen. And It Did.
By admin
Published 5 years ago on
December 22, 2018

Share

In his re-election statement posted on the secretary of state’s website, Secretary of State Alex Padilla boasts: “In my first term, I’ve worked to expand access to the ballot box.”


Opinion
John M.W. Moorlach
Special to CALmatters

In September, the Department of Motor Vehicles admitted it made 23,000 erroneous registrations.
Perhaps he can take credit for some gains, but his “motor voter” program is a disaster and ought to be shut until it is fixed. In September, the Department of Motor Vehicles admitted it made 23,000 erroneous registrations. Serious questions about the integrity of the program must be answered.
Expanding access is worse than worthless without voting integrity. This is not a partisan issue. It’s about protecting the righteousness of our election system, which is a sacred responsibility in a democracy and one that rests with the Secretary of State.
Although the DMV is a troubled department, Padilla must take ownership of Motor Voter’s problems. He sponsored the bill establishing the program in 2015, Assembly Bill 1461 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, a San Diego Democrat.
Under the bill, when a citizen obtains or renews a driver’s license or state ID card, the DMV must automatically transfer voter registration information to the Secretary of State’s office.
At hearings on the bill, ACLU representative Raul Macias testified: “I think a key part that’s missing is we haven’t heard from the DMV about if they think they are capable of doing this and what is the accuracy of their data. That’s critical information.”

Doubting DMV’s Ability to Properly Handle Data

The ACLU’s concerns were prescient. It doubted the DMV’s ability to properly handle and transfer the necessary personal data to the Secretary of State.
The ACLU also pointed out that motor voter, as originally created on the federal level, envisioned an opt-in system, not the opt-out system California was putting in place.  Huge difference. The problem with the opt-out program is it does not provide adequate protection against data errors.
The newly registered voter receives a postcard in the mail stating they have been registered to vote. If they object, they need to notify the local registrar of voters to be removed from voter rolls. In the end, large numbers of non-citizens unwittingly are added to the state’s voter files, ironically putting themselves at risk of deportation.
In hearings on the bill, Padilla actually testified twice that AB 1461 would make the registration process more secure. Asked how much confidence he had in the DMV’s record-keeping systems, Padilla replied:
“I don’t assume the incompetence of the DMV.”
Apparently, he never has spent hours in a DMV line, as many Californians have done. The situation was so bad in September that Gov. Jerry Brown ordered an audit of the DMV.

More Than 3.3 Million Lawful Permanent Residents in California

The ACLU said there were more than 3.3 million lawful permanent residents in California and that even a small margin of error could result in hundreds or more mistakenly added to the voter rolls. That scenario has now played out.

The ACLU said there were more than 3.3 million lawful permanent residents in California and that even a small margin of error could result in hundreds or more mistakenly added to the voter rolls. 
Curiously, the bill was amended late in its legislative process with provisions protecting noncitizens from prosecution under state law, although not federal law.
Another late change: cutting out a provision requiring the DMV to provide the Secretary of State with proof the newly registered person is a citizen eligible to vote. The final wording specifically said the DMV was not required to determine eligibility for voter registration and voting. Rather, the Secretary of State is solely responsible for determining eligibility.
In other words, Padilla, as our Chief Elections Officer, is responsible for ensuring the integrity of our elections system, including the registration process.
On my state website, I have posted letters related to the Motor Voter disaster. On Nov. 9, Padilla wrote to me, “I share with you my deep frustration with these persistent errors by the DMV” and the California Department of Technology, which supervises the DMV’s data systems, “and have called for an independent third-party review.”
That’s not enough. A major embarrassment was bound to happen. The Motor Voter must be suspended until it’s fixed, and it’s Padilla responsibility to fix it. And legislators should quickly take up Senate Bill 57 by Senate Republican Leader Pat Bates, of Laguna Niguel, which would change Motor Voter to an opt-in system.
About the Writer
Sen. John M.W. Moorlach is a Costa Mesa Republican representing the 37th Senate District, senator.moorlach@senate.ca.gov. He wrote this commentary for CALmatters.

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

DON'T MISS

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

DON'T MISS

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

DON'T MISS

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

DON'T MISS

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

DON'T MISS

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

DON'T MISS

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

UP NEXT

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

UP NEXT

Finding an Apartment May Be Easier for California Pet Owners Under New Legislation

UP NEXT

Who Owns Businesses in California? A Lawmaker Wants the Public to Know

UP NEXT

California Sets Long-Awaited Drinking Water Limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ Contaminant

UP NEXT

Savannah Bananas Dominate Social Media, Sell Out Stadiums Nationwide Including Fresno

UP NEXT

Will State AG Rob Bonta Jump Into 2026 Race for CA Governor?

UP NEXT

See the Fully Equipped House Homeless People Built on LA Freeway Strip

UP NEXT

Local Leaders Must Put Their Shoulders Into Making Fresno ‘Education City USA’

UP NEXT

Carbon Capture Isn’t Nearly as ‘Green’ as Fossil Fuel Promoters Make It Sound

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

8 hours ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

9 hours ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

9 hours ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

10 hours ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

10 hours ago

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

12 hours ago

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

12 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: How High Will the Price of Gold & Silver Go?

Video /

13 hours ago

How 4/20 Grew From Humble Roots to Marijuana’s High Holiday

14 hours ago

Taylor Swift Drops 15 New Songs on Double Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology’

14 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

NEW YORK — Police officials said they were reviewing whether to restrict access to a public park outside the courthouse where former Preside...

6 hours ago

6 hours ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

7 hours ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

7 hours ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

8 hours ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

9 hours ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have Execute It’: FUSD Board President

9 hours ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

10 hours ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

10 hours ago

California Court to Decide on Transgender Ballot Measure Wording

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend