In an attempt to increase voter turnout, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Saturday that will automatically register people to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles, which some critics say could allow millions of illegal immigrants to cast a ballot, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Under the New Motor Voter Act, starting in 2016, Californians will be automatically registered to vote when they go to the DMV to obtain a driver's license or state identification card, or to renew an old one. Eligible citizens may also opt out of voter registration.
The goal is to ease the voter registration process for the 6.6 million California citizens who are not registered to vote, which lawmakers hope will increase voter turnout from the dismal 42 percent seen in last fall's election.
But because illegal aliens are already eligible to obtain driver's licenses in the state, election-integrity advocates warn that the new legislation, Assembly Bill 1461, could inadvertently allow millions of illegal aliens to vote if the Secretary of State's office fails to adequately verify their eligibility, according to The Washington Times.
Per the law: "Department of Motor Vehicles would be required to electronically provide to the Secretary of State the records of each person who is issued an original or renewal of a driver's license or state identification card or who provides the department with a change of address, as specified. The person's motor vehicle records would then constitute a completed affidavit of registration and the person would be registered to vote, unless the person affirmatively declined to be registered to vote during a transaction with the department, the department did not represent to the Secretary of State that the person attested that he or she meets all voter eligibility requirements, as specified, or the Secretary of State determines that the person is ineligible to vote. The bill would require the Secretary of State to adopt regulations to implement this program, as specified."
Linda Paine, president of the Election Integrity Project of California, an anti-voter fraud group, said the measure "will effectively change the form of governance in California from a Republic whose elected officials are determined by United States citizens and will guarantee that non-citizens will participate in all California elections going forward."
The law takes effect Jan. 1, but the automatic registration process will not be offered until the new voter registration database, VoteCal, is fully functional, which is expected to be completed around June 2016, when the presidential primary election is held, according to Breitbart.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla argued that the bill "will make our democracy stronger by removing a key barrier to voting for millions of California citizens."
"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," Padilla said.