A two-year dispute over California’s Department of Motor Vehicles voter registration procedures has again landed the agency in court. On Tuesday, a coalition of voting rights groups filed a federal lawsuit alleging DMV officials still require drivers renewing their registration by mail to fill out a separate card if they also want to register to vote. That separate step, the lawsuit said, violates the 1993 “Motor Voter” law passed by Congress. “It’s an embarrassment that in 2017, more than 20 years after the law was enacted, California DMV is still violating the law by making millions of people jump through hoops to become voters,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause.
The activist groups that filed the lawsuit, including the League of Women Voters of California and the National Council of La Raza, first threatened to sue the DMV in 2015 over its procedures that didn’t integrate voter registration into in-person and online driver’s license registration.
While new voter registration procedures were rolled out last spring, the groups said Tuesday that the DMV has refused to similarly combine the two processes for those who register by mail. The lawsuit said the state has failed “to provide eligible voters with the integrated application process required by law.”