School board OKs non-citizens to vote in school board elections, appeals court upholds decision

a person is casting a vote into a box by Element5 Digital is licensed under Unsplash
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In 2016, the San Francisco Board of Education opened the door to allow illegal immigrants in their city to vote in school board elections. That decision was taken to court in 2022, alleging that it violated the California Constitution.

On August 8th of this year, the California Court of Appeal upheld the decision by the board. In the 35-page opinion issued by the court, they provided the two reasons why they say that it does not violate the state’s charter.

“First, neither the plain language of the Constitution nor its history prohibits legislation expanding the electorate to noncitizens," the decision said. "Second, the relevant constitutional provisions authorizing home rule permit charter cities to implement such an expansion in local school board elections. This authority is consistent with the principles underlying home rule and permits the voters of each charter city to determine whether it is good policy for their city or not.”

It is the second reason that has many wondering whether the court’s ruling opened the door for San Francisco and other California towns to decide it is also “good policy” to allow illegal immigrants the right to vote in other elections at the local level. Does it usher in the “right” to vote in mayoral or city district attorney elections?

Another interesting caveat to the board’s election policy is that it allows any non-citizen resident who is the adult parent or guardian of children under 19 years old to participate in school board elections. It does not stipulate that the child(ren) must be enrolled in and attending a school under the purview of the Board of Education. 

In the appeals process, the City of San Francisco argued that the state Constitution only set “a floor for voter qualifications and does not prohibit expanding the electorate to noncitizens.”

They continued their arguing that the “Citizen Voter Provision’s identification of persons who ‘may vote’ does not, by its terms, preclude the expansion of the franchise to noncitizens. The City notes the provision could, but does not, state, ‘only’ a United States citizen . . . may vote.”

Plaintiff James Lacy, said in a press release obtained by the Epoch Times, “The Court of Appeals has twisted around the use of the word ‘may’ in the Constitution to mean it is not a mandatory limitation, and coupled with an expansive view of ‘home rule powers’ of Charter cities, which are a fraction of the cities organized in the state, that it is OK to let noncitizens vote in school board elections.

"Now, Chinese consulate diplomatic staff members in San Francisco, who may even be members of the Chinese Communist Party, are qualified voters in SF school board elections. That simply cannot be what the intent of our state Constitution’s founders intended.”

Despite the defeat at the state appellate level, Lacy has not ruled out the possibility of appealing at the federal level.
For corrections or revisions, click here.
The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
Sign in to comment


Powered by LET CMS™ Comments

Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Law Enforcement Today, Privacy Policy