Politicians in San Francisco are hoping that a backlash to Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric will motivate local voters to move in the opposite direction and grant non-citizens the right to vote. An amendment to the city charter will be placed on the ballot in November to allow the parents and guardians of schoolchildren – citizen or non, documented or undocumented – to vote in school board elections, following a 10-1 vote by the board of supervisors on Tuesday. “San Francisco always goes against the grain when there are assaults on people’s liberties,” said supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the proposal. “This is about fairness and equity, providing an opportunity for all parents to have a voice.” This will be San Francisco voters’ third chance to approve such a measure, after unsuccessful efforts in 2004 and 2010.
This year, advocates are hoping that voter distaste with the vehement anti-immigrant stance of the Republican party will help push the city’s notoriously liberal electorate over the edge. “As Trumpist rhetoric continues to spew xenophobia, we have an obligation to stand up against that national tide and for inclusivity,” state assembly member David Chiu wrote in an op-ed supporting the measure.
“I think in a year where we are seeing so much vitriol against our immigrant communities at the national level, particularly from our Republican nominee for president, it is more important than ever for San Francisco to stand up and say that we support our immigrant community,” said supervisor Jane Kim.