City Attorney David Chiu

Court of Appeal allows San Francisco noncitizen voting program to continue for November election

Appellate judge grants San Francisco’s request to stay lower court decision on noncitizen voting

SAN FRANCISCO (August 31, 2022) — San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu released the following statement after the California Court of Appeal allowed San Francisco’s noncitizen voting program to remain intact and operational for the November 2022 school board election. Judge Mark B. Simons stayed an unfavorable lower court order that prohibited the City’s noncitizen voting program from moving forward.

City Attorney David Chiu
City Attorney David Chiu

“All parents should have a say in the direction of their children’s education, regardless of citizenship,” said San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu. “We have said time and time again that noncitizen voting is not only legal but beneficial to all of our communities. I am grateful the Court of Appeal has ensured this crucial program will remain in place for the November 2022 election.”

In 2016, San Francisco voters passed Proposition N, which created San Francisco’s noncitizen voting program allowing noncitizen parents and guardians to vote in local school board elections. Since then, San Francisco has conducted four elections under this noncitizen voting program. The most recent February 15, 2022, recall election saw the highest participation yet of noncitizen voters.

Despite the program being operational for four elections, it was challenged in March 2022. In July, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the program was unconstitutional and granted an injunction that prohibited the program from continuing. San Francisco appealed that decision to the California Court of Appeal, and today’s ruling stays the lower court’s injunction.

While the ultimate legality of the program will be decided by the Court of Appeal, that appeal process will be resolved months after November, leaving the program intact for the November 2022 election.

The case is James V. Lacy, et al., v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Case No. A165899. The order can be found here.