San Francisco Defends Immigrant Parents’ Right to Vote in School Board Elections

Christopher Gil
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
(415) 282-3334 ext. 152


San Francisco Defends Immigrant Parents’ Right to Vote in School Board Elections
 One-third of San Francisco students have a noncitizen parent who should continue to have a say in their child’s education

SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2022This Thursday, July 28, there will be a court hearing for the lawsuit challenging San Francisco’s noncitizen voting ordinance, which allows immigrant parents to vote in school board elections. The ruling is expected to happen a few days after.

San Francisco is part of a larger movement permitting noncitizens to vote in local elections, including in New York and Vermont. In November 2016, San Francisco voters passed a ballot measure that allows noncitizens to vote in local school board elections. That right was extended indefinitely in December 2021. Since 2016, there have been four elections in which noncitizens could vote.

This lawsuit coincides with a larger effort across the country, which includes more than 500 bills introduced since the 2020 elections, to engage in voter suppression tactics such as expanding voter identification, limiting voting options and increasing voter roll purges. If this lawsuit succeeds, it would discourage many and prevent some immigrant voters from having their voices heard on important matters that impact their children.

The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) has been involved in this work since 2016 – and this work remains important to this day. As lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood community anti-poverty education initiative, we believe immigrant inclusion is vital for our democracy. We live in a longtime Sanctuary City, and the value of equity San Francisco espouses must be reflected in all of our families having a say in their child’s education. That includes the one-third of parents who are noncitizens.

Immigrant rights advocates know that this ordinance is lawful and the City of San Francisco should ultimately prevail in Court. Qualified voters who would like to learn more about the right to vote should consult with a trusted community-based organization, such as MEDA. The Department of Elections also has multilingual material available for noncitizen voters.


About Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
Rooted in San Francisco’s Mission District, MEDA is advancing a national equity movement by building Latino prosperity, community ownership and civic power. We envision generations of Latino families choosing where to call home, thriving economically, succeeding in learning opportunities, and leading policy and social change toward a more equitable society.

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