The San Francisco’s Department of Elections announced it will be registering non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to vote for Board of Education members this November.
The decision was approved by a majority of eligible voters in San Fransisco, however, there were two attempts beforehand that failed according to Fox News.
“As a parent myself and a former member of the SF Board of Education it is critical that the voices of all parents are at the table, particularly those that have historically been denied a voice in the process,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer.
“One of the best things that a parent can do is to select leadership for their kids’ education,” she added.
“The best way to embrace democracy is to practice democracy and the best way to practice democracy is to vote,” Supervisor Norman Yee said. “We want to give immigrants the right to vote.
“This is no-brainer legislation. Why would we not want our parents invested in the education of their children?” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “We’re excited about this victory but we want every immigrant parent to reach out to community-based organizations to educate themselves on this law before they go out to vote.”
Not everyone was supportive of the change. Harmeet Dhillon, who is on the Republican National Committee, expressed why she disagreed with the decision.
“The reason I voted against it is that I think the right to vote is something that goes along with citizenship and should be,” Dhillon told KGO.
Other cities in the country are also moving toward giving limited voting rights to non-citizens, including Chicago and multiple cities in Maryland and Massachusetts.
The Boston City Council’s Committee on Government Operations also held a meeting earlier this month to allow legal immigrants to vote in local elections, according to The Hill.
While many celebrated the new voting rules, there are concerns that the registered voters’ information could be shared with the federal government and lead to deportation.
“The victory is that San Franciscans voted for this. In the face of what’s happening nationwide now, we stand strong … but there is also a risk. So we as San Franciscans have set aside a fund to make sure that these immigrant communities are fully educated on their rights, but also their risks in this time and place in our country,” Fewer said.
Fewer said she is unsure if the voters’ records could be kept private from the federal government since voting records are public.
“I think in this case in particular, what is very risky is that we don’t know where this president will go,” she added. “Are there risks involved? Absolutely. But quite frankly, there are risks involved for all of us with the Trump administration.”
The ordinance will expire in November of 2022 when city supervisors will take another look at the issue and decide whether or not to continue the practice.
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