A December 28 report in San Jose’s Mercury News noted that two years after the implementation of AB 60, a controversial law allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses in California, an estimated 806,000 illegal residents have received driver’s licenses, according to the latest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) statistics. However, the fallout from that law is even worse than allowing more than four-fifths of a million illegal aliens on the road. On October 10, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1461, the New Motor Voter Act, which will automatically register people to vote through the DMV, and could result in illegal aliens voting.
The day after the bill was signed, a reporter for the Washington Times noted that the under the new law, all Californians would automatically be registered to vote when they obtained or renewed their driver’s licenses at the DMV, instead of being required to fill out a form.
However, noted the reporter, election-integrity advocates have warned that the new procedure could inadvertently add millions of illegal voters to the rolls because California allows illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses.
The report cited the anti-vote fraud groups True the Vote and the Election Integrity Project of California, which had urged Brown to veto the bill, saying it would lead to “‘state sanctioned’ voter fraud” and pointing out that the legislation exempts from penalties ineligible voters who wind up being registered.
“This bill is terrible. It makes an already bad situation much, much worse,” True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement.
Engelbrecht said California’s registration databases “lack the necessary safeguards to keep noncitizens off the voter rolls.”
The report also quoted Election Integrity Project of California President Linda Paine, who said in a statement that the New Motor Voter Act “will effectively change the form of governance in California from a Republic whose elected officials are determined by United States citizens and will guarantee that noncitizens will participate in all California elections going forward.”
In a website post commenting on the legislation, Stephen Frank of the conservative California Political Review said: “AB 1461 assures corruption of our elections — our elections will look like those of Mexico and other corrupt nations — and honest people will stop voting since illegal aliens will out vote them.”
Shortly after Brown signed AB 1461, a reporter writing for Breitbart concurred with other journalists who believe that this legislation will allow any person who gets a driver’s license through the California DMV to register to vote. Furthermore, the writer believes that the new policy is designed precisely to increase the number of potential Democratic Party voters:
Brown and the California Democratic party know exactly what they are doing; as a Public Policy Institute survey showed, among unregistered adults, 49% lean toward the Democratic Party and 22% toward the Republican Party. Any bill permitting illegal immigrants to vote would cement the Democratic Party’s hold on California.
The report also quoted True the Vote spokesman Logan Churchwell, who commented on the false assurance offered by those who claim that the phrases “Federal Limits Apply” and “not valid for official federal purposes” found on the special license issued to noncitizens will prevent them from being used for voter registration purposes. Churchwell pointed out that state officials “specifically chose not to make noncitizen license holders searchable in their DMV database.”
During a discussion about California’s New Motor Voter Act on the October 13, 2015 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, the show’s senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano predicted, “the state is going to provide shelter for illegals to vote.”
Fox & Friends’ host Steve Doocy said the “measure could add millions of illegal people to the rolls because the state allows undocumented aliens to get driver's licenses. That’s a problem, isn’t it, Judge Napolitano?” Napolitano replied,
Yes, it is a problem because the other states, including our own home state of New Jersey, which permit registration at the time you get a driver's license, have you go through another procedure in which you have to demonstrate citizenship....
California, it's one procedure. You may not even know that when you get your driver's license you're also being registered to vote. And there's no requirement of proof of citizenship. What's the significance of proof of citizenship? All 50 states limit voting to citizens except when the state allows you to sort of sneak in without proving your citizenship by getting a driver's license instead.
When Doocy questioned whether California could extend the right to vote to federal as well as state elections, since it is illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections, Napolitano replied:
Yes, it is [illegal]. But there’s really no way to monitor it. So if you are an illegal alien in California, get a driver’s license, register to vote, you can vote in local, state, and federal elections in California and those votes count....
It’s almost impossible to monitor this if the state is going to provide shelter for illegals to vote.
After which Doocy summed things up by saying: “And so that’s what is going to happen out in California.”
Since illegal aliens (generally referred to by the euphemism “undocumented immigrants”) by their very nature often operate “under the radar” to avoid possible deportation, it is next-to-impossible to determine exactly how many of them have registered to vote in California or actually have voted. However, by studying some of the information found on the state DMV website and the Secretary of State website, we can learn a little about how difficult (or easy) it is for illegal aliens first to obtain a driver's license and then to become a registered voter.
Getting the license is fairly easy, since to be eligible for a California driver's license under AB-60, the applicant must be at least 16 years old, and be able to provide proof of identity and California residency. Mexican citizens may prove their identity by showing a matrícula consular card, issued by any Mexican consulate to those showing Mexican government-issued IDs.
While these special licenses may not be used for identification purposes (the same used to be said of Social Security cards, but look how pervasive the use of Social Security numbers as identifiers has become), the DMV says they “cannot be used against the license holder to determine their immigration status or citizenship, or detain them in any way for reasons other than valid traffic violations.”
When we go to the California secretary of state’s page to find out who can register to vote, it states that (among other things) one must be a United States citizen, a resident of California, and 18 years of age or older on Election Day.
While this ostensibly bars noncitizens from voting, whether or not the state takes adequate measure to ensure that all voters are citizens is quite another matter.
The secretary of state’s website states that the applicant must complete a brief voter registration application on paper or online. We are told: “When you register online, the system will search the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database for your California driver license or identification card number, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number.” (The last four digits of the social security number could easily be faked by providing false information when applying for the license.)
To check out the system, we tried doing a “dry run” through the website, stopping before actually submitting the application. Immediately, we found that some questions relied on the applicant’s honesty, such as “I am a US citizen.” Would an illegal alien actually answer “No”?
At the end of the process, the applicant must affirm (among other things):
“I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that
“I am a U.S. citizen and will be at least 18 years old on election day…..”
The Center for Immigration Studies published a study of Colorado’s experience with illegal aliens who first obtained driver’s licenses and then registered to vote in September 2012. The report found:
In Colorado, 11,805 discrepancies were discovered between individuals who presented proof of alienage when applying for driver’s licenses, but who later registered to vote. Of these, many were resident aliens who may or may not have naturalized before registering to vote. But a significant number of other individuals who registered to vote were not even resident aliens and thus could not by law have naturalized. Colorado’s request for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) SAVE database information to positively identify individuals’ immigration or naturalization status was refused.
In the above case, it appears that Colorado at least attempted to determine aliens’ citizenship status before registering them to vote. With California state officials apparently so eager to provide illegal aliens with every privilege usually reserved for citizens, it seems unlikely that they even care enough to make an effort.
It would be interesting to learn how many of the voters who gave Hillary Clinton her enormous lead in the vote count in California in the recent president election were here illegally and should not have voted. However, because of the slipshod way that California handles the voter registration process, we will probably never know.
Photo of DMV office in Los Angeles: AP Images