San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to permanently allow non-citizens to vote in Board of Education elections, updating a voter-approved ballot measure from five years ago.
In 2016, San Francisco voters passed Proposition N, which allowed certain non-citizens to vote in school board elections, making The City the first in the U.S. to allow immigrant parent voting.
The change, however, was only temporary and set to expire next year.
In addition to making immigrant voting for school board elections permanent, the newly approved ordinance, authored by Supervisor Connie Chan, also explicitly allows voting in school board recall elections.
“Growing up as a new immigrant student and now as a parent of a public school student, I was so honored to take the lead in reauthorizing this ordinance,” Chan said in a statement. “Now, as we make immigrant parent voting permanent, the hard work starts to educate and engage our immigrant families about their rights.”
Mirna Vasquez, a parent of three, echoed that sentiment.
“Whether the parent is a citizen or not should not be a factor to have a vote on who is a San Francisco board of education commissioner, said Vasquez, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth lead parent organizer. “I constantly encounter parents who want to do more to support their kids’ education and voting should be a right we all have as parents. Our immigrant families deserve the right to vote permanently in San Francisco; let’s be the example this nation needs.”
The San Francisco Unified School District includes some 13,600 students whose second language is English, while U.S. Census data shows over 34% of residents are immigrants.
If approved by Mayor London Breed, the ordinance could go into effect as early as December.
The change comes as The City is set to hold a special election in February to recall SFUSD Board President Gabriela Lopez, Vice President Faauuga Moliga and Commissioner Alison Collins.