Local News Matters weekly newsletter
Start your week with a little inspiration. Sign up for our informative, community-based newsletter, delivered on Mondays with news about the Bay Area.
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an ordinance to ban all city-funded travel to states that have recently enacted laws restricting voting rights.
Under the new ordinance, authored by Board President Shamann Walton, the city won’t require or pay for any employees or officers to travel to a state on the prohibited list, although some exceptions could be made due to contractual obligations or for public health or safety reasons.
Additionally, the city won’t do business with contractors with headquarters located in states on the list.
Existing city law already prohibits city-funded travel and contracting with states and that have laws discriminating against LGBTQ people or those with anti-abortion laws. So far, 25 states are on the city’s ban list, including Georgia, Texas, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, among others. If the new ordinance is enacted, both Arizona and Wyoming would be added to the list.
“Throughout history, there have been recurring efforts to restrict votes of people of color and women in this country. These efforts to restrict the vote in 2021 is a threat to democracy as a whole and San Francisco is taking a stand to protect the rights of voters.”Supervisor Shamann Walton, ordinance author
“All of these states that are proposing and passing voter restrictions are making it clear that they want to make it harder for Black people, people of color, and low-income communities throughout the country to exercise their right to vote. It’s no surprise that these are the same states that have previously enacted anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ laws,” Walton said in a statement.
“Throughout history, there have been recurring efforts to restrict votes of people of color and women in this country. These efforts to restrict the vote in 2021 is a threat to democracy as a whole and San Francisco is taking a stand to protect the rights of voters,” he said.
The new ordinance specifically bans business with states have laws that do not allow same-day voting at polls where the voter is specially registered to vote at; prevent voters without IDs from voting and verifying their ID through another manner like a signed sworn affidavit; limit or prohibit local election departments from mailing absentee ballots or applications to all voters; prohibit pre-paid postage for mail-in ballots; and ban extending voting hours in the case of disruptions.
According to Walton’s office, the most restrictive laws have been enacted in Georgia. Restrictive laws there include eliminating ballot drop boxes, shortening time between regular elections and runoff elections, establishing stricter voter ID requirements, limiting access to voting by mail, and criminalizing providing food or water to voters waiting in line, among others.
Since the start of the year, at least 19 states have enacted 33 pieces of legislation that create more barriers to voting. In addition, at least 48 states have proposed a total of 389 more restrictive bills during the 2021 legislative session, according to Walton’s office.
Mayor London Breed has until Nov. 5 to sign the ordinance into law.