Advocates Applaud San Francisco's Limited Voting Rights for Non-Citizens as City Addresses Fears of Federal Response
San Francisco officials began registering non-U.S. citizens to vote in school board elections this week, reasoning that parents whose children are educated there should have a say in how the schools are run—but fears about the federal government’s potential response to the new limited voting rights of non-citizens has led the city to enact a contingency plan.
“There’s a lot of concern regarding the federal government obtaining the personal information of voters who would register as non-citizens,” San Francisco Department of Elections Director John Arntz told KQED.
The city is responding to fears of the Trump administration targeting those with new limited voting rights by allocating $150,000 to the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigration Affairs for community outreach initiatives. The office will work with local immigration support groups to provide information and counseling to non-citizens who fear their participation in school board elections could be used against them.
San Francisco voters approved a ballot measure in November 2016, extending school board voting rights to all parents and guardians of children in city schools, provided they are not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction. The city’s Board of Supervisors adopted the new law earlier this year.
One in three students in the city’s schools come from immigrant families, according to KQED.
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