FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims California Is Registering 3 Million Noncitizens To Vote
An image shared on Facebook claims California is registering three million noncitizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver’s licenses.
The post mischaracterizes a state law that automatically registers eligible California residents to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license and another that allows illegal immigrants to obtain special driver’s licenses. There’s no evidence California is actively registering illegal immigrants to vote.
California enacted in 2015 the New Motor Vehicle Act aimed to increase voter turnout by automatically registering people to vote when they renew or obtain a driver’s license through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), unless they opt out. The same year, the state began allowing undocumented immigrants who can establish California residency and meet other qualifications to obtain special AB 60 driver’s licenses.
The post, which has been shared more than 600 times, appears to misrepresent those two laws, claiming, “California is registering three million non citizens to vote when they get their driver’s license.” (RELATED: Can Noncitizens Use Chicago’s Citykey IDs To Vote In Local, State And Federal Elections?)
The New Motor Vehicle Act, however, only applies to Californian residents who are 18 years or older and meet the state’s other voter requirements: be a U.S. citizen, not currently be in state or federal prison or on parole for a felony conviction and not currently be found mentally incompetent to vote by a court. Applicants applying for AB 60 licenses are not eligible and will not be registered to vote under California’s motor-voter law, the California DMV website notes.
In October 2018, the DMV said approximately 1,500 people – including noncitizens – had been erroneously registered to vote because of a “processing error.” But, according to the Sacramento Bee, the Secretary of State’s office said none of the individuals mistakenly registered were AB 60 licensees living in the country illegally, and the Daily Caller found no evidence that California is proactively doing so, as the post claims.
Paula Valle, a spokeswoman for the California Secretary of State’s office, told the Daily Caller in a March 6 email that the DMV has a “hard stop in their system” to prevent automatic registration of AB 60 applicants.