DMV voter registration? It should be automatic

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dmvformThe Motor Voter Law was passed by Congress way back at the beginning of President Bill Clinton’s first term to make it easier for people to sign up to vote. It requires motor vehicle departments around the country to use driver’s license and ID card applications as voter registration forms.

But a report released yesterday by the public policy group Demos found that the Motor Voter requirement is widely ignored. And it says California has one of the lowest levels of DMV voter registration in the country.

Now a group that includes the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the National Council of La Raza and others is demanding reforms in California. They filed a complaint yesterday with Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The complaint, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, says the California DMV requires people to fill out a separate form to register to vote – even though the voter form asks for the same information as a driver’s license application.

The DMV has not commented on the complaint. Secretary of State Padilla says he’s committed to making it easier for Californians to vote and he acknowledged there is a need for improvement at the DMV.