CA Contemplates A Bill That Would Drastically Change Voting Laws For 'Non-Citizens'

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Posted: Jun 29, 2019 9:40 AM
CA Contemplates A Bill That Would Drastically Change Voting Laws For 'Non-Citizens'

Source: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Legislators in Sacramento, California are contemplating allowing "non-citizens" to have a role in Democratic Party. Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill that would "allow non-citizens to become committee delegates, political activists who help shape policy for the Democratic Party of California," KCRA-TV reported.

“You can have somebody who is a Dreamer participate in the Democratic political party,” Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), a co-author of the bill, said. "The end goal is to allow people in our community, people who are working here, living here, to really become full participants in our process."

San Francisco currently allows non-citizens to vote in local elections because their children are in public schools. Democrats in the city felt parents should have a say in what's taking place in schools, regardless of a person's immigration status.

Sen. Wiener citied his city as a reason to move forward with this state legislation. So far, no one has successfully challenged San Francisco's voter laws that allow non-citizens to take part in local elections.

“In San Francisco, we have authorized non-citizens who have children in public schools to vote in school board elections,” Wiener told KCRA. “So, we are not restricted by the constitution."

Democrats are moving to make this change on the state level, even though it has to do with party politics, because their political party is governed by the state's election code. 

“The state election code creates that structure. And the Democratic Party does not have the ability to allow non-citizens to run absent a change to the elections code, and that’s what we’re doing," Wiener explained.

Republicans have expressed concern over the move, saying it can be a slippery slope for non-citizens voting in all elections.

“We just came out of a whole process of dealing with election investigations and worrying about foreign government influences impacting our elections,”  San Joaquin County Republican Party Chairman Dwight Williams said, referencing the Russia probe. “I think we ought to keep the laws kind of consistent."

The Assembly Elections Committee will vote on the bill next week.

Editor’s Note: an earlier version of the story incorrectly stated Assembly member Ting introduced the bill.