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December 6, 2022

Santa Clara County sends ballots to non-citizens

Registrar of Voters’ office blames DMV

Four San Jose non-citizen permanent residents received Santa Clara County 2022 election ballots even though they are not U.S. citizens, according to a concerned family friend and copies of documents reviewed by this newspaper.

The four were sponsored by their brother to live in the United States in 2019. Two of them have moved to Louisiana and two of them no longer live in the house on East Capitol Expressway in San Jose.

However, they received election ballots in the mail even though it is illegal for non-citizen permanent residents to vote in U.S. elections.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters confirmed that the four individuals submitted registration forms through the California Department of Motor Vehicles and “information was included in transmissions from the DMV to the ROV.”

“Our office sends ballots to all individuals who are listed as active voters in our voter registration database. The ROV receives voter registration information from several sources including the DMV,” said Evelyn Mendez, Public and Legislative Affairs Manager for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. “As to these individuals, their information was included in transmissions from the DMV to the ROV.”

“If any person receives a ballot who did not register to vote, that person should contact us to cancel their voter registration. We strive to maintain accurate voter rolls and appreciate it when community members alert us to any errors in their registration and aid us in correcting them.”

“It is our understanding that the DMV screens people that obtain drivers licenses or state IDs to verify that they are citizens,” said Mendez. “Under state law, the DMV is responsible for ensuring that non-citizens are not submitted for voter registration under the Motor Voter Act. We get sent voter registrations and we are supposed to rely on the DMV’s screenings along with the legal affirmation on the registration form where the individuals are attesting to be United States Citizens.”

That doesn’t always work. In the 2018 elections, six “inadvertently registered” non-citizen residents voted in the primary and two cast ballots in the 2018 general election.

DMV Communications Deputy Director Anita Gore assured the Sacramento Bee in 2019 that conditions that led to the problems were addressed.  

“Appropriate safeguards and quality assurance processes have been put into place to prevent such issues in the future,” she said.

“In the specific case of these individuals, we don’t at this time have information as to what may have transpired within the DMV process or what information these individuals may have provided to the DMV to cause them to be processed as voter registration applicants,” Mendez said. “California State Law does not authorize county elections officials to conduct citizenship verification screening beyond checking the signed affidavit of registration.”

This story originally appeared on sanjoseinside.com.

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