Lawsuit Targets Oakland’s Noncitizen Voting Measure

Two conservative organizations have filed a lawsuit to stop an Oakland ballot measure that would allow noncitizens to vote in school board elections.

The lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Court Tuesday by James V. Lacy and two organizations he leads – the United States Justice Foundation and the California Public Policy Foundation – according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The two groups recently prevailed in a similar lawsuit in San Francisco.

“The State of California has a long-standing requirement that voters must be United States citizens,” that lawsuit stated. “This requirement applies to every election in the state, even those conducted by charter cities, because determining voter qualifications is a matter of statewide concern where state law supersedes conflicting charter city ordinances. Therefore, the San Francisco ordinance authorizing noncitizen voting in elections for the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is unlawful and may not be implemented.”

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer agreed and overturned San Francisco’s ordinance last month. A permanent injunction was issued to stop San Francisco from processing noncitizen voting.

Oakland’s noncitizen voting measure was passed by the City Council on June 21 and is slated to appear on the ballot this November.

“Noncitizen parents are already doing the hard work to try to ensure that their children get a good education,” said Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, who co-authored the measure. “Many are already volunteering at their children’s schools. But what we’re hearing overwhelmingly is that these parents don’t feel heard... All parents of school-age children should be able to help decide who runs the school system.”