San Francisco, CA— The San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously adopted an ordinance to strengthen the implementation of non-citizen voting for the upcoming school board elections this fall.
November 2018 will be the first time that non-citizen voting will occur in San Francisco, as required when voters passed Proposition N in 2016. The community-driven initiative will now enfranchise one-third of the families currently enrolled in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), along with any non-citizen parents, guardians, or caretakers of children under the age of 19 who are eligible to enroll in SFUSD.
The new ordinance will strengthen existing law by providing the San Francisco Department of Elections guidance on how to enhance language access, mitigate risks of voter error, and provide immigrant rights-related protections, especially in light of the unpredictable political climate facing immigrants. Given the ongoing attacks against the immigrant community by the Trump Administration, the implementation of Prop must be executed well. New voters will be able to register with the Department of Elections starting July 16, 2018.
“The implementation of Prop N will enable working immigrant families to address K-12 education equity issues through the power of the ballot,” said Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of CAA. “For more than a decade immigrant families and parents leaders have fought hard to make Proposition N a reality, and the Department of Elections is now clearly tasked and given direction on how to implement Prop N despite the challenges of the current political climate.”
The ordinance was authored by Supervisor Norman Yee and co-sponsored by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and Supervisor Hillary Ronen. CAA worked closely with these Supervisors and other advocates and applaud the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors for unanimously adopting the implementation ordinance on May 22, 2018.
“Our goal is to safeguard and ensure that immigrant families are able to make an informed decision in November. We will continue to partner with the Department of Elections to address concerns around language access, cultural competency, and immigrant rights. This is a necessary and positive step forward for civil rights and immigrant rights,” says Hong Mei Pang, Director of Advocacy at CAA.
CAA is a member of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multilingual citywide coalition to conduct community education for new non-citizen voters. The coalition seeks to ensure that community members newly eligible to vote are aware of their voting rights, can fully assess their risks, and are able to access immigrant protections in San Francisco.
Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) is a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco. Our mission is to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial injustice.