Report 2012-112 Recommendation 5 Responses

Report 2012-112: Office of the Secretary of State: It Must Do More to Ensure Funds Provided Under the Federal Help America Vote Act Are Spent Effectively (Release Date: August 2013)

Recommendation #5 To: Secretary of State, Office of the

To ensure the State complies with the NVRA, the Office should take all necessary steps, including seeking any necessary legislative changes, and work with the DMV to modify the driver's license application so that it may simultaneously serve as a form for voter registration.

1-Year Agency Response

While the status reflected above is "Will Not Implement," the SOS views this as a recommendation that it is unable to implement. The SOS continues to work closely with state and local NVRA agencies to ensure the State complies with the NVRA. A copy of the SOS' NVRA Accomplishments & Next Steps document detailing those efforts was provided as part of the SOS' six month response. However, the DMV is not a department under the purview or control of the SOS. That is why the United States District court for the Northern District of California, in its 1995 order in Wilson v. United States, approved procedures allowing the DMV to incorporate a voter registration form with the driver license application, known as the DL 44, making the DL 44 a two-page form. The SOS has worked closely with the DMV to: (1) simplify and shorten the voter registration portion of the DL 44; (2) ensure seamless electronic transfer of all change of address data; and (3) speed the forwarding of completed voter registration forms from the DMV to county elections offices. The SOS will continue to work closely with the DMV and make recommendations to further improve that department's implementation of the NVRA.

  • Response Date: August 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Will Not Implement

Although the Secretary of State (SOS) does not have control over the DMV, we would have expected the SOS to have engaged in discussions with the DMV or sponsored legislation to modify the driver's license application. Doing so would have promoted the full implementation of the National Voter Registration Act. We discuss this issue on pages 31 and 32 of our audit report.


6-Month Agency Response

The SOS continues to work closely with state and local NVRA agencies to ensure the State complies with the NVRA. A copy of the SOS NVRA Accomplishments & Next Steps document detailing those efforts will be provided to Grant Parks, Audit Principal, at GrantP@auditor.ca.gov.

With regard to the DMV specifically, as previously indicated, the DMV is not a department under the purview or control of the SOS. That is why the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, in its 1995 order in Wilson v. United States, approved procedures allowing the DMV to incorporate a voter registration form with the driver license application, known as the DL 44, making the DL 44 a two-page form. The SOS has worked closely with the DMV to: (1) simplify and shorten the voter registration portion of the DL 44; (2) ensure seamless electronic transfer of all change of address data; and (3) speed the forwarding of completed voter registration forms from the DMV to county elections offices. The SOS will continue to work closely with the DMV and make recommendations to further improve that departments implementation of the NVRA.

  • Estimated Completion Date: August 2014
  • Response Date: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The SOS does not appear to be taking steps towards fully implementing our recommendation. We recognize that the SOS would need to coordinate with the DMV in order to change the driver's license application as we state in our recommendation. However, the SOS has yet to provide any evidence that it has had such discussions with the DMV.


60-Day Agency Response

As previously indicated, the DMV is not a department under the purview or control of the SOS. That is why the United States District court for the Northern District of California, in its 1995 order in Wilson v. United States, approved procedures allowing the DMV to incorporate a voter registration form with the driver license application, known as the DL 44, making the DL 44 a two-page form. The SOS has worked closely with the DMV to: (1) simplify and shorten the voter registration portion of the DL 44; (2) ensure seamless electronic transfer of all change of address data; and (3) speed the forwarding of completed voter registration forms from the DMV to county elections offices. The SOS will continue to work closely with the DMV and make recommendations to further improve that department's implementation of the NVRA.

  • Estimated Completion Date: August 2014
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2012-112

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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