IMMIGRANT VOTING RIGHTS IN CALIFORNIACONTACT INFO:
initiatives are listed below in reverse chronological order
Proposition F, which would allow all parents of children in the San Francisco school system to vote in school board elections regardless of their immigration or citizenship status, was narrowly losing, as final votes were being tallied. "No" had a 7,000 vote lead with about 17,000 provisional ballots outstanding and few thousand absentees left to count.
Considering that just a few months ago, noncitizen voting rights were a somewhat shocking, new idea to many San Franciscans, it is notable that approximately 49% of voters were in favor of the initiative.
Friday, June 25, 2004
SF Coalition for Immigrant Voting Rights Emerges
The San Jose Mercury News
Posted on Mon, Jun. 21, 2004
S.F. may give non-citizens school board voting rights
May 2004 - San Francisco Board of Supervisors Matt Gonzalez announces a ballot measure to allow noncitizen parents of schoolchildren to vote for School Board members.
for press release click here
The San Francisco Examiner
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
School board choice: Gonzalez wants immigrant parents to have say in votes
By Adriel Hampton
After years of debate, a November ballot measure may give San Francisco's noncitizen parents the right to choose the leaders of the schools their children attend.
Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez today plans to introduce an initiative that would allow noncitizens with children enrolled in public schools to cast votes in School Board elections -- a tenant of his failed mayoral bid last year.
"This is not a new idea," Gonzalez said. "Our founders and many cities and states throughout American history adopted the idea that the integration of immigrants in the democratic system is an investment in our democracy."
Nearly 16 percent of San Franciscans are not naturalized. READ MORE
December 2003 -UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center report, authored by UCLA law professor Joaquin Avila, calls for an amendment to the California State Constitution to allow California's 4.6 million non-citizen adults the rights to vote in local elections. www.sscnet.ucla.edu/csrc
September 2003 -Matt Gonzalez, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and mayoral candidate, asks the City Attorney to draft a charter amendment to allow non-citizens with children in city schools to vote in municipal school board elections. Gonzalez argues that as a charter city, San Francisco has the right to set its own local voting rules. Approximately 16% of San Francisco residents are not citizens. Gonzalez argues that allowing them to vote is a vital step to further democratizing American society. More discussion on the proposal at http://pub96.ezboard.com/fsfpolifixfrm8
September 2003 - A naturalized Mexican American uncovers documentation that City Council members in Lynwood, a Los Angeles community of 70,000 residents, have had their hands in the city till up to their elbows, enjoying six-figure incomes and lavish foreign trips including a dance show in Rio. One of the county's poorest cities, the city is home to a large immigrant population, with the result that many residents cannot vote and thus cannot hold the city government accountable for its mishandling of residents' money. The radio show, "Which Way LA," raises the possibility that allowing resident non-citizens to vote could have helped prevent such a debacle.
1998 - Amid a contentious effort to recall a city councilman in Los Angeles' 1st District, a Los Angeles Times article points out that two of three adults in the district are not citizens so cannot vote. The article details how difficult this reality has made the political process and questions the arrangement's fundamental fairness. "How democratic is a system that excludes by definition more than half of the population?" asks Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.
1996 -Mabel Teng and a citizens group seek to allow non-citizens to vote in San Francisco school board and community college board elections. State Superior Court Judge William Cahill rules that any change in voting rights must be done by the state constitution since Article II, Section 2 of the California Constitution specifies that "A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this state may vote." Teng estimates that the proposal would affect 20,000 to 30,000 legal noncitizens, increasing voter rolls by at least 10 percent. "These people work and pay taxes, and just because they have not passed the legal requirements for citizenship, we should not disenfranchise them," Teng told The San Francisco Chronicle. "I think if these people start voting in school elections because of this legislation, they would also be motivated to become citizens so they could vote in other elections."
1993 -The Bell Gardens City Council in Los Angeles, suggested by council members Josefina Macias and Rodolfo Garcia, considers a resolution to call on state lawmakers to permit non-citizens the right to vote in local elections. Mayor Frank B. Duran and Councilman George T. Deitch also support the resolution.
Early 1990s -The
San Francisco school board under Board President Tom Ammiano floats a
proposal for resident voting for school board supervisors.
San Francisco Examiner
Bernardino County Sun