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San Francisco to challenge court ruling that bars noncitizen voting in school board elections

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu attends the gathering on McAllister Street in front of San Francisco Superior Courthouse before the start of Lacy V. CCSF Hearing on Thursday, July 28, 2022 in San Francisco. | Ekevara Kitpowsong

San Francisco will challenge a court decision that blocks non-citizens from voting in the city’s school board elections.

City Attorney David Chiu revealed on Aug. 15. that his office is filing an appeal to reinstate the rights for eligible immigrants without U.S. citizenship.

“We believe that allowing non-citizen parents to vote in school board elections is not only legally permissible, but strongly beneficial to our communities,” Chiu said.

In 2016, San Francisco passed a Charter amendment with 54% approval to allow non-citizen parents—including permanent residents (green card holders), other visa holders, refugees and undocumented immigrants—to vote in Board of Education elections.

Earlier this year, a record-breaking 238 non-citizen parents voted in the high-profile school board recall elections.

But Orange County lawyer James V. Lacy filed a lawsuit against the city over the voting rights. The right-wing radio pundit and author of the book “Taxifornia” won his fight at the San Francisco Superior Court in July. 

The ruling also includes a permanent injunction prohibiting the city from using the ordinance to allow non-citizen voting in future elections.

School board elections will appear on the ballot this November. It remains to be seen whether the decision to block non-citizen voters will be reversed.