California has agreed via settlement to investigate its DMV's latest mishandling of voter registration information:
On Dec. 14, DMV officials revealed that staff members had not transmitted voter registration files for 589 people whose applications or updated applications were filled out before the close of registration for the Nov. 6 statewide election. At the time, state officials could not confirm whether any of those voters had been turned away on election day, or if any had cast last-minute provisional ballots that were rejected in the final tally.
Monday’s settlement raises the possibility that a full investigation of the delayed voter registration documents could reveal races in which the outcome might have changed had those voters been allowed to participate. State officials now have 60 days to complete an investigation into the identity of those voters and why DMV staff members failed to transmit the files in a timely fashion.
This comes after a series of errors by the DMV in the rollout of California's new mandatory, or automatic, voter registration system since April of last year:
The error was the latest in a series of mishaps revealed in the first six months of operation for California’s new automated “motor voter” program, under which DMV customers are registered to vote unless they decline. . . .
Several other problems were reported just days after state officials launched the DMV’s automated voter registration system in late April. Those included multiple registration forms sent to counties for the same voter, flawed registrations for 23,000 DMV customers and a limited number of non-U.S. citizens — permanent green-card residents — mistakenly added to the voter rolls.
While California's Democratic Secretary of State has been quick to shift the blame to the DMV for the series of errors, his office had over a year from when the law was passed until the system was rolled out to work with the DMV to ensure that the system would function properly.
The experience of California shows yet again that shifting voter registration responsibilities to government agencies that are not designed to register voters and not familiar with the laws governing elections creates headaches for voters, people who do not wish to register to vote, and election officials -- all people whom the "motor voter" and mandatory voter registration systems are supposed to help. And under HR 1, the House Democrats want to mandate this system nationally, ignoring the cautionary tale presented by California.