California Violates Motor Voter Act, Activists Say; Lawsuit Threatened

February 5, 2015 | | Los Angeles Times |

Voting-rights advocates warned Thursday that they may sue California based on claims that the state is not complying with the so-called Motor Voter Act, a federal law mandating that states offer people an easy way to register to vote when they obtain their driver’s licenses.

The law firm of Morrison & Foerster sent a "pre-litigation" letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on behalf of the League of Women Voters of California, the ACCE Institute, California Common Cause, the National Council of La Raza and several individuals. [...]

A report released Thursday by Demos, a public policy group, found that the Motor Voter Act's requirement that a driver’s license application be treated as a voter registration application are widely ignored throughout the country. California has one of the lowest levels of DMV voter registration in the country, the report found.

The state requires applicants to complete an entirely separate voter registration application and provide the same information required on the driver’s license and ID card forms, the report said.

“Around the country, but on an especially large scale in California, massive numbers of citizens must jump through hoops that Motor Voter was intended to eliminate,” said Stuart Naifeh, author of the Demos report.

Read the report: Driving the Vote: Are States Complying with the Motor Voter Requirements of the National Voter Registration Act?