San Francisco Begins Registering Non-Citizens To Vote In Local Elections

The San Francisco Department of Elections issued voter registration forms for non-citizens, including undocumented migrants, who are now eligible to vote for members of the SF Board of Education during the November elections, making the city the first in the state to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.

The measure to allow non-citizens over the age of 18 to vote narrowly passed in 2016 in a vote of 54-46 percent following two failed attempts. In order to cast their ballot, however, non-citizens must also be city residents and have at least one child under the age of 19.  

Prospective voters can request a non-citizen voter registration form in-person at the Department of Elections, online or by phone. The deadline to register is October 22nd. Those who miss the deadline can visit the City Hall Voting Center to register and vote under conditional voter registration. -ABC7

“This is no-brainer legislation,” Hillary Ronen, a San Francisco supervisor, told the Chronicle. “Why would we not want our parents invested in the education of their children?”

“We want to give immigrants the right to vote,” Norman Yee, also a county supervisor, told KGO.

RNC member Harmeet Dhillon disagrees with the measure. 

“The reason I voted against it is that I think the right to vote is something that goes along with citizenship and should be,” Dhillon told KGO, adding that the school board is already obligated to look out for the interests of all children in the city. 

"I don't think that people who have otherwise tenuous ties to San Francisco given their lack of legal residence should be making long term decisions about that structure and process," said Dhillon.

The measure allowing non-citizen voting expires in 2022 unless it is renewed by the board of supervisors. 

Boston too?

Last week, the Boston City Council discussed the the idea of voting rights for non-US citizens living in the country legally.

The hearing called by Council President Andrea Campbell is aimed at a discussion on how to make city elections "more inclusive" for the roughly 190,000 foreign-born residents of the city, who would be allowed the right to vote in municipal races. 

That could include legal permanent residents, visa holders and those on Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. -Boston.com

Foreign-born residents account for around 28% of Boston's population according to Campbell's order, which claims non-US citizens paid $116 million in local and state taxes, while generating over $3.4 billion in spending according to a 2015 city report.