The factor of VOTER FRAUD will be the single biggest element in winning this years Presidential election.
The 2014 Connecticut governor’s race was decided by about 30,000 votes statewide. Four years earlier, the contest was decided by just about 6,000 votes.
So it’s a concern for state Rep. Arthur O’Neill, a Republican, that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles—which recently misidentified more than 50,000 people for having unpaid taxes on their vehicles—will be in charge of voter registration.
“If you misidentify 30,000 voters, that’s more than enough to swing an election,” O’Neill, deputy minority leader of the Connecticut House, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
“As time goes by, and [the state] see[s] the difficulties and dangers of this, I hope they will at least postpone it,” O’Neill said. “The DMV is still coping with regular duties of registering cars and issuing driver’s licenses, which has been a catastrophe.”
“That’s more than enough to swing an election,” @RepArtONeill says.
Connecticut is changing its voting registration system largely in response to the Obama administration’s threat to sueover what it calls the state’s “widespread noncompliance” with the federal Motor Voter Act.
The Motor Voter Act allows people to register to vote when getting their driver’s license or doing other business at a local DMV location. But the state’s remedy to comply with the federal demand is similar to the automatic voter registration that some Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have advocated nationally.
Four states—Oregon, California, West Virginia, and Vermont—have adoptedsome type of automatic voter registration.
Skepticism about the Connecticut DMV’s competency to handle more responsibility, and a state budget crunch, are among the reasons an automatic voter registration bill died in the legislature during the 2016 session. In lieu of legislation, the secretary of the state’s office entered a memorandum of agreement with the DMV, in which a customer of the agency automatically would be registered to vote unless he or she opts out.
This arrangement is set to take effect in 2018. Currently, a DMV customer is registered to vote only by opting in.
Critics of DMV registration, such as O’Neill and most Republicans in the state legislature, are also worried that illegal immigrants—who are allowed to get driver’s licenses in Connecticut—could register to vote.
“Driver’s licensing for illegal immigrants adds to the confusion, given the computer problems,” O’Neill said.
Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, argues the partnership with the DMV will modernize voter registration.
“It is important that everyone understand the facts before reacting prematurely to a proposal that will modernize voter registration but is still two years away from being operational,” Merrill said in a public statement:
A very serious issue was brought to my attention, namely that federally required interagency voter registration coordination was lacking. As the state’s chief elections official I am duty bound to fix these kinds of problems and to prevent a potentially expensive lawsuit. So we are proposing the most innovative, efficient and cost-effective solution available in order to protect the state. I simply cannot stand by and do nothing.
In an April 15 letter, the Justice Department asserted the state’s “motor voter” program—in which citizens can sign up to vote at DMV offices—was in “widespread noncompliance” with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
“I have authorized a lawsuit against the state of Connecticut,” Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta told Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen in the letter.
Areas of noncompliance, the Justice Department said, included not notifying applicants for driver’s licenses or those filing to change their address that they can register to vote at the DMV office.
Under current policy, the DMV sends all voter registration forms to city and town governments. However, sometimes the DMV doesn’t send the forms and they fall through the cracks.
Republicans in the state legislature proposed a more modest alternative to the agreement between the secretary of the state and DMV. Under the GOP plan, the DMV would send completed voter registration forms to the secretary of the state’s office, which would in turn be required to notify local governments.
Republicans argue this procedure would be less troublesome than more computerized work for an agency that has such a spotty record that DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. resigned earlier this year.
Among the problems: wrongly identifying tens of thousands of Connecticut residents as not having paid state property taxes on their cars, and identifying vehicles and vehicle owners as living in the wrong town.
O’Neill said the DMV computer glitches falsely claimed every resident in the town of Warren, Connecticut, had not paid their vehicle tax. He added that police incorrectly ticketed many motorists for unpaid car taxes.
But the automatic voter registration system is not new, just an expansion of an online system in place for two years, said Patrick Gallahue, spokesman for Merrill.
“With regards to the glitches, that has nothing to do with the way our systems will communicate,” Gallahue told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “We’ve had 100,000 register online and we are coming up on 200,000 transactions. Most of this is already built. For the DMV, it just means it won’t be paper based.”
Gallahue said the state has “a two-year timeline to iron out any problems.”
Still, the track record demonstrates why the DMV should not have more responsibility, said Zachary Janowski, director of external affairs at the Yankee Institute, a conservative state policy think tank in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Assigning property taxes to the wrong town is relevant to new voter registration,” Janowski told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “The worse case scenario is that people will fill out the form, show up to vote, and they aren’t registered to vote—or they’re registered to vote in the next town over.” He added:
The state should follow the federal requirements, but the DMV spent tens of millions of dollars and years implementing software to become a better DMV, and became a worse DMV. The idea of giving them more responsibility could end up being a distraction and counterproductive in continuing to fail in its fundamental role of registering motor vehicles and driver’s licensing.
Merrill’s office contends that Delaware established a similar system of voter registration and managed to save about $200,000 per year.
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation who is an authority on election laws, said he doubts the cost-savings argument of DMV registration.
Von Spakovsky said he believes the DMV registration is part of a broader Democratic effort to register more voters regardless of their eligibility. Connecticut has other means to comply with the threat of the Justice Department lawsuit, he said.
“The DOJ has no authority under any federal statute to require automatic voter registration,” von Spakovsky said. “There better be an ironclad system to prevent duplicate registration, should someone register at a welfare office and again at the DMV.”