A judge has struck down a San Francisco law that allowed non-U.S. citizens to vote in school board elections. The law permitting noncitizen parents of school-age children to vote in school board races was approved in 2016, took effect in 2018 and was extended indefinitely last year
The law was challenged by California attorney James Lacy in March of this year, with numerous groups joining the lawsuit, including the California Public Policy Foundation and the U.S. Justice Foundation.
The plaintiffs argued: ”The State of California has a long-standing requirement that voters must be United States citizens. This requirement applies to every election in the state, even those conducted by charter cities, because determining voter qualifications is a matter of statewide concern where state law supersedes conflicting charter city ordinances.”
The suit also argued that since the San Francisco Unified School District receives money from state taxpayers, the whole state has an interest in its voters’ qualifications and that the board is elected in accordance with California law. In addition, it argued that the city does not have the authority to redefine who is eligible to vote, which would override the California Constitution.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer agreed, stating in his ruling that ”transcendent law of California, the Constitution … reserves the right to vote to a United States citizen, contrary to [the] San Francisco ordinance.”
A similar ordinance in New York City was overruled in June.
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