THE CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL upheld a San Francisco voting policy that permits noncitizen parents to participate in city school board elections, announced City Attorney David Chiu on Aug. 8.
The court determined that the noncitizen voting program in the city is legally sound under the California Constitution and San Francisco’s charter city authority.
In 2016, city voters approved Proposition N, which has since allowed noncitizen parents and guardians of school children to vote in five local school board elections.
Chiu’s office said the program was challenged after a February 2022 recall election brought in the “highest participation yet” of noncitizen voters. A San Francisco Superior Court judge later ruled that the program was unconstitutional.
Upon reversing the decision, the appeals court determined that the California Constitution cannot prevent cities from allowing noncitizen residents to vote in elections, and that it is entirely up to charter cities to determine how their school board members are elected.
“When more parents have a voice in the direction of our schools, it leads to better outcomes for all students and communities.”City Attorney David Chiu
San Francisco joins 13 other cities across the U.S. that permit noncitizens to vote in city elections.
“The Court’s decision is a wonderful victory for immigrant parents, who can continue to exercise their right to vote in San Francisco school board elections,” said Chiu.
“When more parents have a voice in the direction of our schools, it leads to better outcomes for all students and communities. We are pleased the Court agreed with our position that the program is legal under the California Constitution and San Francisco’s authority as a Charter city.”