SACRAMENTO – Today, Senate Democrats killed Senate Bill 57 in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. SB 57 would have helped to fix the Democrats’ failed Motor Voter program. Authored by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and co-authored by members of the California Senate Republican Caucus, SB 57 would have made voter registration optional at the DMV. Since the Motor Voter program has been implemented, multiple media outlets have reported on inaccurate party registrations and the registration of non-U.S. citizens.
Members of the California Senate Republican Caucus react to SB 57 which died on a partisan vote.
Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (Bakersfield): “Legislative Republicans have warned Democrats about the flawed Motor Voter program. Since its implementation, there have been nonstop problems. Election integrity is imperative to a fair democracy. Let’s be clear this vote by Senate Democrats was against election integrity.”
Senator Patricia Bates (Laguna Niguel): “Given that the Secretary of State’s office and the DMV have underplayed well-documented problems with automatic registration, today’s outcome was not a surprise. The decision to register to vote should be made by the individual – not the state. Those who oppose my bill fail to appreciate that an ‘opt-in’ process gives citizens more control over their own voter registrations and reduces opportunities for errors and fraud. I will continue to fight for election integrity, including working with my colleagues to make a simple fix to provide clarity to customers who visit DMV offices.”
Senator Ling Ling Chang (Diamond Bar): “Our voter registration process is key to successful elections at every level of representative government. If the people cannot trust that process, then the integrity of our democracy is damaged. Tens of thousands of people have been affected by software errors and false party registration. It’s imperative we act swiftly on this matter to restore faith in our democratic elections.”
Senator Brian Dahle (Bieber): “The right to vote is one of our most sacred civic duties as citizens, and we must protect the integrity of our system to maintain the trust of our constituencies. Although Californians generally interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles more often than any other government entity, the DMV’s primary mission is not to register voters, and that concerns me. We must ensure voter registration strives for the utmost accuracy, and this process is too important to entrust to an unrelated agency to administer.”
Senator Brian Jones (Santee): “This mandated focus on voter registration has caused wait times at the DMV to skyrocket, the DMV’s budget to balloon unnecessarily, invited tampering with voter records, and caused the DMV’s mission of issuing Driver’s Licenses and registering vehicles to be neglected. Forced and tampered voter registrations at the DMV need to end now!”
Senator Andreas Borgeas (Fresno): “As the DMV wrestles with solving many of its own problems, Californians should not be left doubting the integrity of our elections."
Senator John Moorlach (Costa Mesa): “Our state needs to develop a better system for DMV voter registration that gives people the ability to opt-in and verify their voter information. This vote was a missed opportunity to correct the errors that the current technology has generated.”
Senator Mike Morrell (Rancho Cucamonga): “Thousands of Californians have had their voter registrations changed against their wishes. Automatic motor voter was misguided from the start and is clearly broken. SB 57 is straightforward and sensible. Senate Democrats’ failure to recognize these blatant problems risks the voting rights of all Californians.”
Senator Jim Nielsen (Tehama): “Time and time again, DMV continues to demonstrate their inability to conduct their core responsibilities like the rollout of the REAL ID. Voters must have the choice to opt-in, not be forced into a voter registration program run by a government department that continues to mishandle voters’ personal information.”
Senator Scott Wilk (Santa Clarita): “The DMV is hardly the appropriate place to register voters - especially while it infamously struggles to handle its own mission. SB 57 would have put safeguards in place to protect voters from the endless chain of bureaucratic blunders and ensure people are able to exercise their right to vote."