As part of a ruling handed down this past Friday, a judge officially kicked out a new San Francisco city ordinance that would allow even non-citizens within the city to cast their vote for school board elections.
The ordinance, which would let the non-citizen parents of children that are enrolled in public school have the power to cast votes in the school board elections, was first approved back in 2016 and took effect as of 2018, and was given an indefinite extension in 2021. The law in question was officially challenged by various groups, including both the United States Justice Foundation and the California Public Policy Foundation.
“The State of California has a long-standing requirement that voters must be United States citizens,” stated the arguments of the plaintiffs. “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.”
And it seems that the court system agrees with them.
“Transcendent law of California, the Constitution … reserves the right to vote to a United States citizen, contrary to (the) San Francisco ordinance,” explained one San Francisco Superior Court Judge, Richard Ulmer, via a statement about his ruling that will result in prohibiting the city from taking into account any votes that are cast by non-citizen residents regarding any official ballots.
The lawsuit also made the argument that due to the fact that the San Francisco Unified School District makes use of any state taxpayer money whatsoever, the entire state must show an interest in the legal qualifications of any casting a vote in any political sense and that the city does not possess the power to grant itself unlimited autonomy to redefine who is legally eligible to cast a vote.
A law from New York City that is in the same vein, which would have given the power to over 800,000 non-citizens to vote in all city-based elections, was also slapped back down by the courts in June.
The city of San Francisco has not yet indicated whether or not it plans to try and issue an appeal to the case.