In January we learned that the Department of Motor Vehicles and county voter registrars told the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla last year that the motor Voter program was not ready. Motor Voter automatically registers voters when they renew or obtain a drivers license. The DMV and registrars asked Secretary Padilla to hold off on the roll-out. But Padilla and the state went ahead anyway.
The new system had not been properly checked, according to the county voter registrars. They had valid concerns, said Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno). “The people of California are suffering with the DMV and it’s 1980’s technology,” Patterson said.
California’s Motor Voter program has been plagued with problems since its rollout in April 2018. The Department has admitted mishandling voter registration information for 23,000 drivers and double-registering as many as 77,000 others. In addition to this, as many as 1,500 ineligible voters were registered by the DMV – including an unknown number of non-citizens. Also, over 500 Californians may not have been able to vote in the November 2018 election because the DMV did not send their information to the Secretary of State’s office in time.
Patterson said his office is still getting reports from constituents whose Party registration was changed after a visit to the DMV. “This is how ballot harvesting is happening,” Patterson said.
Patterson is a member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, and has been pushing for a bipartisan audit of the DMV, including the Motor Voter Program. Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and Patterson made the bipartisan request to audit the DMV Motor Voter Program of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee at a special hearing in May.
Last week Democrats on the JLAC committee declined to authorize an audit, despite concerns of voter fraud within the Motor Voter program. In addition to registering illegal aliens to vote, “a number of families with 16-year-olds are getting registered to vote – not just pre-registered, as legislated,” Assemblyman Patterson said in an interview with California Globe.
“The SEIU intervened on the audit request, and let the governor know, as they did with Gov. Brown, they didn’t want it moving forward,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson said. “They were really worried about the motor voter program and what would be found. The ruling Party didn’t want to have to explain the screw up of Motor Voter or even the Real ID program,” Patterson added.
By March, 2018, more than one million “undocumented” immigrants received driver’s licenses from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which automatically registered them to vote under the “Motor Voter” program, California Globe reported. “Last September, the DMV sent out 23,000 “erroneous” voter registrations they blamed on ‘technical errors. Padilla proclaimed himself ‘extremely disappointed and deeply frustrated’ but legitimate voters could believe he was delighted. The odds are strong that illegals made up most if not all of the newly registered voters but Padilla wasn’t saying how many made it to the polls in November.”
“I am very disappointed that State Auditor Elaine Howle was not given a green light of an audit focus on Motor Voter… we were getting closer to having the Department of Technology, the Secretary of State, and DMV scrutinized,” Patterson said. He explained that is is constitutional to audit the Secretary of State, a Constitutional officer.
Patterson said he and Salas were given the same excuse as he received in audit requests and denials of the High Speed Rail system: “it’s premature – too early.” Patterson said Democrats want Governor Gavin Newsom’s appointed DMV strike force to complete their investigation, as well as Ernst & Young’s audit to be completed, prior authorizing Elaine Howle to do one. “What Elaine Howle provides is an absolute independent look at reality,” Patterson said. “She is not attached to the (Newsom) administration.”
Patterson said Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside), the JLAC Committee Vice Chairman who voted “NO” on the audit request, made it clear to him that he would seriously look at an audit after the DMV strike team and Ernst & Young complete their report.
“It took me three years to get the High Speed Rail audit,” Patterson said. “I think this will happen. But they don’t want to know the truth. Sooner or later the mess at the DMV will be audited.”
Patterson said several in the media, including California Globe, are not letting the need for a DMV audit go. “They are smelling something really wrong,” he said. “There is political danger when Elaine Howle is turned loose on the High Speed Rail, the University of California and others. Rudy Salas and I will continue. This was a setback, but I will be back with another audit request, because until it happens, we are denying the Legislature and the people of California the one independent auditor.”
“Like High Speed Rail, the problems with the DMV will be so self-evident,” Patterson added.
California’s Motor Voter issues are also under scrutiny because California officials moved up the state primary election from June to March. The goal was to be an influencer in determining the Democratic nomination for president. And because of the impact on federal elections, California is under a microscope, making the audit more important than ever, according to Patterson.