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News Update

Judge throws out S.F. law allowing non-citizens to vote in school board elections

A judge has thrown out San Francisco’s practice of allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in school board elections.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer, in a decision released Friday, found that noncitizen voting violated the state constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. He struck down a city ordinance that allowed it.

“Transcendent law of California, the Constitution … reserves the right to vote to a United States citizen, contrary to (the) San Francisco ordinance,” Ulmer said in a ruling that prohibits the city from enforcing the ordinance or counting noncitizens’ votes, the Chronicle reported.

The ordinance, the first of its kind in the state, was approved by city voters as Proposition N in 2016 and took effect in 2018.  The Board of Supervisors extended it indefinitely in 2021. It allows noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants and legal residents, to vote for school board candidates if they are a parent or guardian of a school-age child and are not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

The ordinance was challenged by conservative groups.  There was no immediate word on whether the city would appeal.

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