Politicians like to kick problems down the road and Californians can find an example in the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. As we noted last November, DMV offices have been forcing Californians to wait for hours for routine services. Part of the problem was DMV employees sleeping on the job for hours a day, over a period of years. The DMV full earned the Golden Fleece Award for waste and incompetence, but another stemmed from a task not in the DMV’s normal job description.
Like all states, California features voter registration agencies. Even so, under the “Motor Voter” law, the DMV automatically registered to vote those who received driver’s licenses and in recent years the DMV has issued driver’s licenses to more than one million people who are not eligible to vote. Californians were curious how many ineligibles might have voted in 2016 and in 2018, but Secretary of State Alex Padilla declined to state. That fueled demands for an audit, but governor Brown tapped the state Department of Finance, part of the governor’s office, to audit the DMV and release a report in March 2019. No report has been released but there may be hope for better results.
As the California Globe reports, a joint legislative audit committee will hear a bipartisan request to audit the DMV, and in June the committee will vote whether or not to authorize California State Auditor Elaine Howle to conduct the job. Howle is a proven sleuth who uncovered a $175 million slush fund kept by University of California president Janet Napolitano. If allowed to perform her job without interference, Howle could give Californians some answers about DMV incompetence and the agency’s role in voter fraud.