Texas should NOT mimic California

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In last week’s Direct Action Texas email newsletter (be sure to sign up here) we highlighted a bill that seeks to automatically register voters renewing or applying for a Texas drivers license.

This bill is bad news bears.

House Bill 140 by Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio) would automatically register anyone applying for or updating a Texas drivers license. Direct Action Texas will oppose this bill during the 2019 legislative session as it will undermine trust in the integrity of our voter registration and election system.

In 2018 California made a similar change to automatically register folks at the DMV and is now dealing with the fallout after non-citizens were mistakenly registered. Since April of 2018, the state has acknowledged up to 105,000 processing errors.

In September it was reported that 23,000 voter registrations were sent to Californians in error which was followed by October reports that 1,500 non-citizens were registered.

The errors in California are happening. Plus, since they are technical errors the individuals being registered aren’t committing fraud. Added layers of bureaucracy and grey area diffuse blame and make accountability difficult if not impossible.

Accountability is something that needs to be increased in our electoral system not diminished.

In addition to observing our neighbors to the West, Texans have fresh evidence that increasing reliance on the DMV when it comes to facilitating voter registration would be an error. In December an audit of the driver’s license division revealed that twenty-five percent of licenses reviewed were incorrectly issued.

These errors may include missing unique identifying information like a social security number or proof of residency.

Texans need to be focused on accountability and accuracy in our current registration and the voting regime, not looking to mimic California or adding to the workload of an already error-prone Department of Public Safety.

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