Thousands of customers walked into the California Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday unable to have their transactions processed.
The embattled agency confirmed 68 offices experienced connectivity problems due to “an issue with a router.”
Cullen Grant, manager at a Los Angeles DMV field office, said he was unable to even log onto his email because network connectivity was unavailable.
“I couldn’t even log on to check my email into the system, let alone a technician being able to process a transaction,” Grant said. “The only thing available (for customers at field offices) was a driver’s test and self-service terminal.”
Grant said the systems started to come back up after about two and a half hours. The DMV confirmed power was restored around 10:45 a.m.
“The DMV worked with the vendor to fix a router issue that was affecting some field offices,” said Jessica Gonzalez, a DMV spokeswoman. “It was not a statewide outage. The affected offices are now processing customer transactions. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
The DMV has a history of technology issues causing customer delays. Between January 2017 and mid-August 2018, the DMV experienced 34 IT outages, including six statewide office system outages. Outages ranged anywhere from 15 minutes to nine hours.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, has been a vocal critic of the department and said he will “continue to be a thorn in the flesh of the DMV” until a comprehensive audit is approved by the Legislature. With Democrats’ help, the DMV narrowly dodged an audit last month.
“This is another example that the DMV simply cannot be trusted to fix the problems that they have created. … They are incompetent,” Patterson said.
It was the second black eye this week for the embattled DMV. On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported that a problem with "motor voter" registrations was worse than originally believed.
DMV officials said Wednesday that an additional 3,000 people were mistakenly signed up to vote during the rollout of the state’s new “motor voter” program.
The Los Angeles Times reported that although the number of registration errors between April and August remains the same — about 23,000 — the new find more than doubles the instances in which customers could not opt out of registering to vote, the DMV said.
“We have completed our review of records and already have new and improved processes in place to ensure this error doesn’t occur again,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said in a written statement to The Times.
The 3,000 newly discovered registrations will be canceled, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.
Since the problems were first reported, elections officials have urged those who used the DMV’s services to check the status of their voter registration at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.
Two weeks ago, DMV officials disclosed that a series of “administrative processing errors” were made when the department’s employees failed to properly clear customer information from computer screens between appointments. In most cases, the errors involved details about the person’s voter preferences — their political party affiliation and whether they wanted to receive a ballot in the mail, for example.
At the time, a smaller number of the errors — about 1,600 — affected people who did not intend to register. Wednesday’s disclosure brings that total number to about 4,600, or one of every five reported mistakes.
DMV officials said they completed their review of the 23,000 customer errors last week. Customers who were affected by the issues are being notified by mail.
Distributed by Tribune News Service. The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.