CALIFORNIA, October 12, 2015– On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed Assembly Bill 1461, the Motor Voter Act, into law. The bill makes it to where all who have registered for a driver’s license are automatically registered to vote. In January of this year, a California law went into effect that allows illegal immigrants to have a California driver’s license, which is why critics of the new Motor Voter Act have suggested it is a calculated way to allow illegal immigrants an opportunity to vote in elections.
“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 that California’s registration databases “lack the necessary safeguards to keep non-citizens off the voter rolls.”
Eleven states and the District of Columbia currently allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. However, the licenses appear different than those issued to citizen drivers. In California, licenses issued to illegal immigrants carry the words “Federal Limits Apply” and “not valid for official federal purposes” according to DriveCA.org, which would theoretically prevent them from being used to vote in federal elections.
In California, however, True the Vote spokesman Logan Churchwell said that state officials “specifically chose not to make non-citizen license holders searchable in their DMV database,” and called the newly signed bill “unprecedented.”
“The New Motor Voter Act will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting for millions of California citizens,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement. “Citizens should not be required to opt in to their fundamental right to vote. We do not have to opt in to other rights, such as free speech or due process.”