California DMV apologizes after mishandling 23,000 voter registrations

Neetu Chandak, DCNF

The California Department of Motor Vehicles mishandled around 23,000 voter registrations due to technicians who had many screens open at the same time and incorrectly merged voters’ information.

“Following an extensive audit of the 1.4 million customer records that were transmitted to the Secretary of State’s office between April 23 and August 5, 2018, we have determined approximately 23,000 customers may have been affected by this error,” a letter from the DMV to California’s Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Wednesday.

Some people were registered as the wrong political party while others were added to the state’s Motor Voter program, which allows an eligible individual to automatically register to vote when getting a driver’s license, when they wanted to opt out.

California DMV Director Jean Shiomoto will send a letter on an unknown date in September to the 23,000 people affected, letting them know the necessary steps to fix the error on their voter registrations.

“This error was caused by DMV, was not your fault, and DMV sincerely apologizes for this inconvenience,” Shiomoto wrote in the letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“None of the impacted customers were undocumented immigrants who received a driver license under AB 60,” a California DMV spokesperson said to TheDCNF. AB 60 is a law that went into effect in 2015 that allowed illegal immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses through the DMV.

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who previously called on Shiomoto to “step down” in a tweet on Aug. 31, voiced his displeasure with the DMV’s mishandling of the voter registrations.

“The tragic comedy of errors continue at the DMV,” Cox said in a tweet Wednesday. “Last week I called for Director Shiomoto to resign. The people are fed up with this.”

The state’s DMV has been under fire for long wait lines and barely dodged an audit request that would have looked into the management, according to The Sacramento Bee on Aug. 8. California lawmakers, instead, approved $17 million to go toward the DMV. The money would be used to employ 230 more staff members to assist with the long wait times.

“The DMV experienced longer wait times due to a number of factors, including the implementation of the federal REAL ID requirement, a new queuing system and an electronic driver license and ID card application,” a statement from California’s DMV said to TheDCNF.

The REAL ID Act was enacted in 2005 to set standards for issuing personal identification sources like driver’s license, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

A DHS spokesperson told TheDCNF that California began issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and IDs in January.

Padilla’s office and Cox did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment.

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