A new independent audit found multiple errors and flaws in the rollout of California’s automated “motor voter” system
California’s ambitious effort to automate voter registration at Department of Motor Vehicle offices produced almost 84,000 duplicate records and more than twice that number with political party mistakes, according to an audit released Friday by state officials. The analysis covered just the first five months of the new “motor voter” program, which was launched in April 2018. It found a wide array of problems with the rollout of the DMV system, including a limited amount of testing as well as inconsistent and confusing lines of communication between the state agencies involved in its creation. Many of the findings align with documents discovered by the Los Angeles Times in an investigation earlier this year of the motor voter program.
Auditors reviewed more than 3 million voter registration files, comparing records from both DMV and California’s secretary of state. They found 83,684 duplicate voter registrations, a mistake attributed to inconsistencies in what was listed for voters’ political party preferences.
“This action resulted in no impact to voter eligibility,” Keely Martin Bosler, director of the state Department of Finance, wrote in a letter on Friday to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Cabinet secretary.
Separately, the audit found additional errors in voter registration related to party preference. Investigators wrote that 171,145 DMV records contained entries indicating a person’s political party but no such “associated designation” within the data received by state elections officials.
“These errors added additional workload to state and local elections officials, as registration records impacted by these errors had to be researched, corrected, and in some cases canceled,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a letter to Bosler on Friday. He said the mistakes “threatened to undermine public confidence in the program.”
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