California’s ‘Motor Voter’ System Yields Potentially Thousands of Cases of 2 Voter Registration Forms for 1 Person

A sign advertises a touch-screen machine, a new process for voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana in this undated photo. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A sign advertises a touch-screen machine, a new process for voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana in this undated photo. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California’s elections officials have found themselves with an unexpected headache ahead of the June 5 primary: potentially thousands of cases where two voter registration forms were created for one person, errors caused by the state’s “motor voter” program that launched last month.

But local and state officials said Wednesday they don’t believe the foul-up has resulted in actual mistakes in California’s voter database. The errors are being resolved one at a time in each county’s elections office, a lengthy process that coincides with one of the busiest periods of the year.

“We don’t have the time to be researching this, but we have to because we’re being thrown into it,” said Kammi Foote, registrar of voters in Inyo County.

State elections officials said a software error affected some 77,000 voter records generated at the Department of Motor Vehicles over the past month. Some of those records — how many remains unclear — resulted in two registration forms for a single voter, a problem reported in several county elections offices across California. Left unfixed, it could keep a voter from casting party-specific votes or, in the most extreme cases, cause two ballots to be issued to a voter.

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