Senate Bill 511 -- DMV Voter Registration Transparency and Training

February 25, 2019

*Bill Status: Bill died in committee.

Summary:

Senate Bill 511 would require the establishment of a committee including representatives of the Secretary of State’s office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and counties, for the purpose of facilitating the sharing of information necessary to implement the Motor Voter program. This bill would further require the Department of Motor Vehicles to train its employees on voter registration practices implementing the program.

Background:

Questions on Compromised Motor Voter Program and Secretary Padilla’s Weak Response

Democracy works only with clean and honest elections. Every vote by United States and California citizens must count. Our Secretary of State is obligated to protect that right by doing everything in his power to oversee the voter registration process and prohibit those who are not citizens of our country and state from falsely registering to vote.

On September 5, 2018, the Los Angeles Times and other major news outlets informed Californians the motor voter law had compromised 23,000 voter registrations. There has been a lot of concern about how this could happen when I was personally assured by Secretary of State Alex Padilla that this kind of thing would never happen. After hearing about this breach, I drafted the following letter to Secretary Padilla asking specific questions as outlined in the media reports (PDF copy of Letter).

After weeks of delay (partially due to the unexpected death of the Secretary’s mother), I received the following responses after Election Day. The letters try to downplay concerns and mention damage control efforts, such as the Secretary’s September 10, 2018 letter to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Director Jean Shiomoto, in which he complains, “I remain deeply frustrated and disappointed” by DMV failures.

For more information about concerns previously raised with the Secretary of State, please see my Voter Integrity webpage.

Articles:

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Contact:

Jennifer Hodgkins, (916) 651-4037
Jennifer.Hodgkins@sen.ca.gov