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Will California auto-register illegal aliens to vote beginning in April? Here's the truth.

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Many websites have claimed California will begin auto-enrolling undocumented immigrants who get driver's licenses to vote starting in April. However, the claim proves to be false. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Several news sites claimed in recent days that California will begin registering undocumented immigrants to vote in April. But the claims appear to be far-fetched, if not completely untrue.

What was claimed?

The World Net Daily reported on Sunday that California will begin auto-enrolling undocumented immigrants to vote when they go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a license in April. WND claimed:

California will take the next step in blurring the lines between citizens and non-citizens beginning April Fool’s Day when the state complies with a court order to begin automatically registering to vote all those who are granted driver’s licenses.

The state has long provided driver’s licenses to all who simply claimed, without proof, that they were citizens of in the country legally. There were no checks made or documentation required. But beginning April 1 every person who gets a California driver’s license will be automatically entitled to vote.

The claim was further promoted by far-right websites and even mainstream outlets.

"New California policy opens door to illegal immigrant voting," Fox News claimed.

"California law will automatically register people to vote," a story at the Daily Mail, which has since been deleted, said.

"New California Law Will Automatically Register Illegal Aliens to Vote," the New American claimed.

But what's the truth?

The premise of the claim centers on two California laws. First, under California Assembly Bill 1461, eligible voters who go to the DMV to receive or renew a driver's license or state-issued ID will have their information automatically sent to the secretary of state's office, where their information will be verified and their name added to the voter rolls. Residents can opt out of the program, but they must meet federal and California voting eligibility requirements before they are added.

A recently settled lawsuit also allows eligible voters to register via mail when they renew their licenses through snail-mail. The lawsuit also pushed up the date when AB 1461 would fully be implemented to April  2018 from January 2020.

Then there's California Assembly Bill 60, the controversial law that allows any California resident, regardless of immigration status, the ability to obtain a driver's license. Indeed, all an undocumented immigrant has to do is prove their California residency and pass a series of tests to be granted a driver's license.

However, the law also instructs non-citizens to not complete the voter registration portion of the registration.

So no, neither law in question automatically registers undocumented immigrants or non-citizens to vote. The Fox News story noted that many in California fear many non-citizens may slip through the cracks, but the state has said there are "safeguards" in place to prevent that. Still, the fear that something may happen isn't enough to make bogus claims.

Although it's not clear what safeguards have been put in place, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the Los Angeles Times in 2015: "We’ve built the protocols and the firewalls to not register people that aren’t eligible. We’re going to keep those firewalls in place."

Fact-checking website Snopes also fact-checked the claim and concluded:

While it’s true that undocumented residents living in California can obtain driver’s licenses, the state has not passed any laws that also provide them the right to vote. The New Motor Voter Act was passed in an effort to improve voter turnout, and while this law does automatically register citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver’s licenses, that action only applies to citizens who have already attested and/or documented an eligibility to vote.

(H/T: The Weekly Standard)

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