Conservatives Sue California for Failing to Keep Non-Citizens off Voter Rolls

The line outside the DMV office in South Los Angeles is long on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. The California Department of Motor Vehicles experienced a statewide computer outage Tuesday morning, disrupting many in–office services to customers. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A group of conservative Californians sued the Secretary of State of California, and the director of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in federal court Tuesday over their alleged failure to keep non-citizens off the voter rolls.

CalMatters reports that the plaintiffs, represented by Harmeet Dhillon, are “three registered Republican: two naturalized citizens and Corrin Rankin, who ran for state party vice-chair last year. According to the filing, each believes that their ‘legitimate vote is being diluted by the illegal votes of non-citizens.'”

The complaint itself alleges:

In direct violation of his duties to ensure that only eligible voters are placed on the voter rolls, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has established a pattern and practice of doing nothing to verify that a potential voter is a United States citizen, thus causing non-citizens to be placed on the voter rolls.

The Secretary of State has forsaken his duty to ensure that non-citizens are never placed on the voter rolls, and has relegated his office to that of a glorified clerk simply transmitting the data from the voter registration application to the counties for data entry purposes.

When the Secretary of State allows non-citizens to be placed on the voting rolls, the state mails balloting material to these ineligible voters. This creates confusion in the minds of non-citizens as to whether they are eligible to vote in federal elections, and enables non-citizens who deliberately registered to vote, to vote illegally, in violation of federal laws.

In addition to the Secretary of State abdicating his duty to verify eligibility of all voters, the Department of Motor Vehicles does not transmit to the Secretary of State’s office the information that enables the Secretary of State to assess the eligibility of the applicant.

CalMatters reports that Padilla accused the lawsuit of attempting “voter suppression,” and that his office said he did not actually have a legal duty to obtain information about the citizenship of applicants through the DMV.
As Breitbart News reported in 2018, the DMV admitted that it had made over 23,000 voter registration errors and allowed 1,500 ineligible people, including non-citizens, to register to vote through its new “motor voter” program.

The errors were the culmination of a years-long Democrat-led push to register as many people to vote as possible:

In 2015, AB 60 went into effect, granting over one million illegal aliens in the Golden State the ability to apply for driver’s licenses without having their immigration status reported to federal authorities. In 2017, AB 1461, the “motor voter” law, automatically registered Californians to vote when they applied for driver’s licenses unless they were ineligible. State officials reassured the public that non-citizens would not be allowed to register to vote because database safeguards would prevent it.

However, it was later found that Secretary of State Alex Padilla had rushed the new “motor voter” system before the 2018 elections — ignoring warning that the DMV was not ready to process voter registration applications properly.

The DMV has been so dysfunctional that it became an election issue in 2018, and even the administration of then-Gov. Jerry Brown had to admit that it was run poorly.

President Donald Trump blamed illegal aliens voting for his loss in California (he would have won the national popular vote otherwise). While that is an exaggerated claim, there remain concerns that the state’s lax voting rules could make a difference in close congressional races.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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