San Francisco can allow noncitizen voting in school board races, court rules
Noncitizen parents in San Francisco have a right to vote in local school board elections under a ballot measure approved by the city’s voters in 2016, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday. The ruling would also apply to a similar measure in Oakland endorsed by voters last November.
Oakland Voters OK Noncitizen Voting in School Board Races, but the Measure Might Never Go Into Effect
Oakland voters have passed a Measure that will enable the Oakland City Council to allow non-citizen voting in school board elections. Should the City Council pass this ordinance as expected, USJF will file suit in Alameda County to block this unconstitutional law. An Alameda County judge already stated that USJF’s legal victory in San Francisco County, which stopped non-citizen voting, was probably correct, and USJF will bring the same case against the City of Oakland.
SF’s Noncitizen Voting Law for School Board Was Struck Down. What’s Next?
Noncitizen voting isn’t a brand new idea. White, landowning, noncitizen men were once allowed to vote in 22 states. Today, a handful of cities have granted noncitizen residents the right to vote in various local elections.
Until recently, San Francisco was one of them: in 2016, voters approved Proposition N, which granted the vote to noncitizen parents of SF Unified students in school board races.
San Francisco Superior Court Revokes Non-Citizen Parents’ Right to Vote in School Board Elections
San Francisco’s Superior Court revoked the right to vote in school board elections from non-citizen parents on Friday in response to Orange County lawyer James V. Lacy’s lawsuit against the city over three months ago.
Superior Court Judge Richard B. Ulmer ruled that the 2016 ordinance that gave voting rights to non-citizen parents—including green card holders, work visa holders, refugees and undocumented immigrants—is “contrary to the California constitution and state statutes and thus cannot stand.”
Oakland allowing non-citizens to vote in school board races
OAKLAND, Calif. – A conservative legal organization is trying to block a measure that Oakland voters approved, allowing non-citizens to vote in school board races. The US Justice Foundation sued Oakland over Measure S, passed by voters in last month’s elections. They argue that the Constitution does not allow people who are not US citizens to vote. The group also sued over San Francisco’s decision to allow non-citizens to vote in local school board elections, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Legal analysts say both cases will probably end up before the state supreme court.
Ventura County Text Voter Suppression Matter
United States Justice Foundation Files Complaint against the City of Oakland in Superior Court
On Thursday, December 15, 2022, the United States Justice Foundation filed a Complaint against the City of Oakland in the Superior Court of Alameda County, asking the Court to enjoin a Charter Amendment allowing noncitizens to vote in elections for Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) board members. USJF took this step after voters in the City of Oakland passed Measure S on November 8, 2022. Measure S amended the City Charter by adding section 1107 to article XI to “allow noncitizen residents, who are the parents, legal guardians, or legally recognized caregivers of a child residing in Oakland, to vote for the office of school board director on the Oakland Unified School district Board of Education.”
The United States Justice Foundation brought this action because the California Constitution is clear: to vote in California one must be over 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States. The City of Oakland cited the City of San Francisco’s similar measure, however, San Francisco’s ordinance allowing noncitizens to vote in school board elections was ruled unconstitutional and invalidated in Superior Court in July of 2022. USJF asks the Court to declare that section 1107 of Article XI of the Oakland City Charter is unconstitutional, and that the City of Oakland be prohibited from implementing section 1107. Such a ruling will ensure fidelity to the California Constitution and protect election integrity in California.