Noncitizens Voting? Judge Takes Stand on San Francisco Ordinance

A judge in San Francisco recently ended a law that permitted noncitizens to vote in state school board elections. The law originally went into effect in 2016, allowing for noncitizen parents of children in the school system to vote in the school board races.

However, James Lacy, an attorney in California, recently decided to challenge the lawsuit. He had plenty of support from different groups, most notably the California Public Policy Foundation and the U.S. Justice Foundation.

The attorney’s case read, “The State of California has a long-standing requirement that voters must be United States citizens. 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.”

While it makes sense for students’ families to be involved as much as possible, the laws might say otherwise. This law tries to redefine who can vote. Fortunately for the people of California and the United States citizens, the law has been overturned.

Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer ultimately agreed with James Lacy’s argument. Ulmer’s reasoning for throwing out the law in San Francisco centered around the “transcendent law of California” and the trickle-down effect on cities and states that felt the negative influence.

A judge in New York City threw out a similar law just a week ago. New York City reported almost 800,000 noncitizens voting in the school board race. The numbers have yet to be clarified in the San Francisco setting, but many noncitizens expect to sit out the coming votes.

The New York Law Department commented on the matter. It said, “This is a disappointing court ruling for people who value bringing in thousands more New Yorkers into the democratic process.”

Judge Ralph Porzio echoed Ulmer saying, “The New York State Constitution explicitly lays the foundation for ascertaining that only proper citizens retain the right to voter privileges. It is this court’s belief that by not expressly including noncitizens in the New York State Constitution, it was the intent of the framers for noncitizens to be omitted.”

Both of these rulings could bring light to a problem with the current immigration system in the United States. However, the government has yet to talk about changes to the system.