Lacy v. City and County of San FranciscoAnnotate this Case
In 2016, San Francisco voters amended their city charter to authorize voting in local school board elections by noncitizen parents and guardians of school-age children. In 2018, the Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance implementing Proposition N, including provisions requiring the City’s Department of Elections to develop a noncitizen voter registration form for school board elections. In 2022, after multiple school board elections in which noncitizens voted, this lawsuit was brought alleging the charter amendment violated the California Constitution. The trial court granted found the effective ordinance void and unenforceable
The court of appeal reversed and awarded the city costs. Neither the plain language of the Constitution nor its history prohibits legislation expanding the electorate to noncitizens. The relevant constitutional provisions authorizing home rule permit charter cities to implement such an expansion in local school board elections. This authority is consistent with the principles underlying home rule and permits the voters of each charter city to determine whether it is good policy for their city or not.