‘DMV er­rors’ al­lowed 6 Cal­i­for­ni­ans to vote who shouldn’t have

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY BRYAN AN­DER­SON ban­der­[email protected] Bryan An­der­son: 916-326-5538, @BryanRAn­der­son

Six Cal­i­for­nia res­i­dents who were er­ro­neously added onto the voter rolls voted in last year’s midterms, the Sec­re­tary of State’s Of­fice con­firmed Fri­day af­ter­noon fol­low­ing a months-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Sec­re­tary of State Alex Padilla’s of­fice, all six in­di­vid­u­als voted in the pri­mary and two of them also cast bal­lots in the 2018 gen­eral elec­tion. Their records have since been can­celed and they are not be­ing charged with a crime.

Af­ter a through re­view, Padilla con­cluded they were in­ad­ver­tently reg­is­tered through the state’s Mo­tor Voter pro­gram “due to DMV er­rors.” The res­i­dents live in Sacramento, San Fran­cisco, Los An­ge­les and San Diego coun­ties.

Padilla’s of­fice said the six peo­ple had no prior vot­ing his­tory but it could not de­ter­mine whether they met reg­is­tra­tion el­i­gi­bil­ity re­quire­ments. It noted that none of the peo­ple were un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants ap­ply­ing for AB 60 li­censes.

To reg­is­ter to vote in Cal­i­for­nia, you must be a U.S. cit­i­zen, a res­i­dent of Cal­i­for­nia and 18 years old or older on Elec­tion Day.

“The six in­di­vid­u­als were in­ad­ver­tently reg­is­tered through the Cal­i­for­nia Mo­tor Voter pro­gram due to DMV er­rors and based on state law are not guilty of fraud­u­lently vot­ing or at­tempt­ing to vote,” Padilla’s of­fice said in a state­ment. “All of th­ese voter reg­is­tra­tions have been can­celed.”

The pro­gram launched on April 23, 2018 to au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­ter el­i­gi­ble vot­ers when they visit the De­part­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles.

Data from the Sec­re­tary of State’s Of­fice shows nearly 20 mil­lion bal­lots were cast in the 2018 pri­mary and gen­eral elec­tion. Six votes would not have been enough to af­fect the out­come of a sin­gle race.

State Sen. John Moor­lach, R-Costa Mesa, said the names should be dis­closed to county district at­tor­neys for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “If it’s voter fraud, that’s where the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should start.”

“We knew there was go­ing to be the po­ten­tial for mis­takes be­cause the Sec­re­tary of State in­sisted on mov­ing for­ward pre­ma­turely,” Moor­lach added. “This con­firms what a lot of us were sus­pi­cious of. Now, the ques­tion is how do we cor­rect it.”

De­spite warn­ings from mul­ti­ple elec­tion of­fi­cials not to go for­ward with the pro­gram’s launch, Padilla pro­ceeded.

In a 2015 hear­ing, he told law­mak­ers, “I don’t as­sume the in­com­pe­tence of the DMV.”

In the months fol­low­ing the hasty roll-out, the DMV ex­pe­ri­enced 105,000 reg­is­tra­tion er­rors, in­clud­ing some peo­ple be­ing in­ad­ver­tently reg­is­tered with the wrong party. A March re­port from the De­part­ment of Fi­nance blamed the DMV for hav­ing a “re­ac­tive cul­ture” when im­ple­ment­ing Mo­tor Voter.

DMV Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Deputy Di­rec­tor Anita Gore said con­di­tions that led to the prob­lems have been ad­dressed.

“Ap­pro­pri­ate safe­guards and qual­ity as­sur­ance pro­cesses have been put into place to pre­vent such is­sues in the fu­ture,” she said in a state­ment. ”No re­cent is­sues have been iden­ti­fied as we con­tinue to process tens of thou­sands of voter reg­is­tra­tions each day.”

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA [email protected]­nobee.com

Cus­tomers wait in line at the Olive Av­enue DMV of­fice in Fresno in June.

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