Judge Strikes Down Law Allowing Non-Citizens to Vote in San Francisco

A judge has struck down a law that allowed non-citizen residents in San Francisco to vote in local school board elections.

The controversial ordinance was approved in 2016, took effect in 2018, and was extended indefinitely in 2021.

Various groups, including the California Public Policy Foundation and the United States Justice Foundation, had challenged the law.

“The State of California has a long-standing requirement that voters must be United States citizens,” the plaintiffs argued.

“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.”

The court agreed with the arguments.

“Transcendent law of California, the Constitution … reserves the right to vote to a United States citizen, contrary to (the) San Francisco ordinance,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer said in a ruling.

Judge Ulmer’s decision will prohibit the Democrat-controlled city from counting non-citizen votes.

The lawsuit also argued that because the San Francisco Unified School District receives money from state taxpayers, the entire state has an interest in the qualifications of its voters.

The suit noted that the city does not have unlimited autonomy to redefine who is eligible to vote.

A similar law in New York City, which would have allowed up to 800,000 non-citizens to vote in city elections, was struck down in June.

San Francisco has not indicated whether or not it plans to appeal the case.

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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