In March 2022, California attorney James Lacy filed a lawsuit against the city and county of San Francisco over a charter amendment allowing certain noncitizens to vote in school board elections, arguing that San Francisco residents have a clear interest in ensuring their school board elections follow state law, especially because state taxpayers partially fund school districts, the Globe reported.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer ruled in favor of Lacy et. al. in July, “A San Francisco law allowing noncitizen parents to vote in local school board elections was overturned Friday by a judge who said the California Constitution permits only citizens to vote,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Lacy explained to the Globe that the San Francisco law violates the California Constitution and Elections Code.
However, an Appeals Court just denied a request to expedite its decision on the appeal of Superior Court Judge Ulmer’s Order of July 29 in Lacy vs. San Francisco that the city’s noncitizen voting law is unconstitutional.
“As a result, the appeal of the case by the City cannot be resolved before November 8, and now San Francisco will allow votes that have been found by a Superior Court Judge to be illegal, to be counted in the election,” Lacy said.
“Judge Ulmer has ruled that noncitizen voting is unconstitutional (July 29), denied a request for a stay (August 12), and Alameda County Superior Court Judge Markman has said in open court that Ulmer’s ruling ‘is probably correct.’”
“It is very unfortunate that the Court of Appeals has not only ‘stayed’ Judge Ulmer’s ruling, but has now taken the additional step of denying our Motion to expedite appellate review in this important election integrity case. The net result is that what are highly likely illegal noncitizen votes will be counted in the upcoming school board election, and that these votes will unconstitutionally dilute the voting power of all citizen voters, including those of ethnic minority groups. It is a shame that in this time of heightened skepticism about the conduct of elections, that the Court of Appeals did not do the right thing and expedite its’ review before the election, so that there would not be a cloud on the results.”
“Nevertheless, we remain highly optimistic that when the appellate process is completed, however lengthy, we will win this case and stop the practice of noncitizen voting in California.”
The appeals court even acknowledged the importance of the case saying, “The Constitutional challenges raised by respondents are significant ones that are entitles to deliberate consideration.” Yet they refused to order an injunction in the case.
If this is judicial politicking from the bench, it only will serve to further undermine public confidence in our elections. The appeals court judges said they couldn’t make a decision before the November 8, 2022 Election Day, and refused Lacy’s request for calendar preference and an injunction.
In July, we reported Lacy noted that New York City’s identical law was recently struck down by a judge, which would have allowed 800,000 non-citizens to vote, setting an important precedent.
Superior Court Judge Ulmer said allowing non-citizens to vote “is contrary to the California Constitution and state statutes and cannot stand,” and told a lawyer for the city that the power of charter cities such as San Francisco’s to regulate municipal affairs “does not override the Constitution.”
Lacy’s lawsuit said “While section 5 of article XI of the State Constitution gives charter cities power over their own municipal affairs, this section does not authorize Ordinance Number 206-21 because voter qualifications for school board elections are not municipal affairs.”
Allowing non-citizens to vote dilutes the importance of citizenship and ends up normalizing illegal immigration. Some even argue that it also invites foreign nationals to interfere in U.S. elections.
San Jose is also considering whether to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.Certify (10)
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