Judge overturns SF ordinance permitting non-citizen voting in local elections

In a pivotal decision out of California, a judge struck down a San Francisco ordinance that permitted non-citizens to vote in local school board elections, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer overturned the law, which took effect back in 2018, and held that the state constitution in California grants voting rights to citizens only.

The ordinance at issue was passed by voters in 2016 and was subsequently granted an indefinite extension by the city’s Board of Supervisors.

According to the measure, non-citizens, such as those with green cards as well as illegal immigrants, were given the ability to cast ballots in school board elections, provided they were parents or guardians of school-age kids and had not been convicted of a felony.

In finding that the ordinance as written “cannot stand,” Ulmer also granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the city from permitting non-citizen voting in the future.

The lawsuit responsible for producing the aforementioned outcome was brought by conservative radio host James V. Lacy and other concerned organizations, according to KABC, and in the wake of the decision, the media personality expressed his gratitude for the result.

“This is an important case that reaffirms the core Constitutional notion that voting is a privilege of citizenship and that right cannot be diluted by allowing for non-citizen voting. Today, the Court rendered a verdict in favor of election integrity in California,” Lacy said.

The California ruling comes on the heels of a New York state judge’s decision striking down a provision that would have permitted upwards of a million non-citizen residents of the Big Apple to vote in municipal elections, such as those for the offices of mayor, comptroller, public advocate, council member, and borough president, as Fox News reported at the time.

In encouragingly similar fashion to his West Coast counterpart, Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio explained, “[t]he New York State Constitution explicitly lays the foundation for ascertaining that only proper citizens retain the right to voter privileges” and that [i]t is this Court’s belief that by not expressly including non-citizens in the New York State Constitution, it was the intent of the framers for non-citizens to be omitted.”