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ELECTION BRIEFS: SF Prop N - Non-citizen voting in school board elections

"Day 36/366.....I Voted," by Flickr user Denise Cross Photography. Used under CC BY 2.0. Cropped and overlaid with text.

Do you think voting should only be the right of citizens? Prop N would give non-citizen families the right to vote in certain elections — San Francisco school board elections — as long as they have a kid in the public schools.

More than half of the city’s public school students have at least one immigrant parent. Prop N would allow all of those parents to have a say in who gets elected to the school board, and by extension, what happens in the schools their children attend.

Supporters of Prop N, like the Mission Economic Development Agency, say allowing non-citizens the right to vote will increase parental involvement for students who sorely need it. Right now, the school board oversees the district’s school curriculum, sets the district budget and appoints the district superintendent. Supporters say that giving non-citizen parents the right to have a say could give them a greater feeling of control over their kids’ education.

But opponents like the San Francisco Republican Party say that voting is a right of citizenship, and that the ballot measure does not distinguish between non-citizens who are here legally and those who are here illegally. They also cite the fact that this measure has come up twice in the past 12 years, but voters have rejected it both times.

Now it’s before San Francisco voters again. If you think parents should be able to vote in school board elections regardless of their citizenship, vote "yes." If you think non-citizens should not vote for the school board, vote "no."

Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this post. Our call-outs are part of our community reporting project.