California lawmakers have created a mess with two laws that affect voter registration. Contrary to recent news, the AB 1461 law, also known as The Motor Voter Law, does not allow illegals the right to vote, per say. It says that each DMV registration/renewal will send certain information to the Secretary of State (“SOS”) so that an individual will be automatically registered to vote. Cal. Elect. Code § 2263(b)(1).
One piece of that information is “A notation that the applicant has attested that he or she meets all voter eligibility requirements, including United States citizenship, specified in Section 2101.” Cal. Elect. Code § 2263(b)(1)(K).The Secretary of State is then to reject the registration to vote from any individual that does not meet ALL voter eligibility requirements, including US citizenship.
The question is, does the SOS have the technology in place to reject those that do not meet the eligibility?
I think merely accepting a “notation” that the applicant “attested” to meet the eligibility requirements is not good enough. The DMV already collects the information to determine if someone is a citizen when they apply for a driver license or ID card. Cal. Vehicle Code § 13001(b) and DMV link.
AB 1461 should be amended to state that DMV, and not just the person applying, should indicate and “attest” that the individual provided the proper documentation to prove their citizenship.
Additionally, the AB 60 law that created the ability for non-citizens to obtain driver licenses also created a way for non-citizens to register to vote. To register to vote in California, you need to complete a registration form and submit it online or via mail to the County Election Officials. Cal. Elect. Code § 2102(a). Although the registration form allows you to select, by penalty of perjury, you are a citizen of the US; the form only requires a California Driver License or ID number to be entered and validated before you can be registered. Because the County Election Officials do not have the proof of citizenship that the DMV conveys to the SOS per AB 1461, they have no mechanism to check or validate that the driver license or ID number belongs to a US citizen.
Therefore, it was AB 60 that created the ability for non-residents to register to vote.
What California legislature needs to do is create an amendment to AB 1461 that requires DMV to submit driver license/ID information to SOS only when the information contains a valid social security number instead of a “notation” by the individual they are a citizen. And SOS should provide all County Election Officials the ok to use a driver license/ID number on a voter registration form ONLY if it is on the validated list received by DMV. Also, the County Election Officials should be able to validate the driver license/ID number received on a voter registration form against a US citizen validated list of driver license/ID numbers that the SOS maintains. This way the officials in charge of preserving our right to vote will have a mechanism to discern and validate our right to vote.