Driven by a string of controversies and frustrations surrounding the San Francisco Board of Education, a record number of San Francisco green card holders, visa holders, refugees and undocumented immigrants have taken advantage of a San Francisco law allowing noncitizen parents to vote in the Feb. 15 school board recall election.
“For someone like me to get involved in something like this, that shows how terrible the situation is,” said Siva Raj, an immigrant from India who is here on a work visa as he awaits permanent residency.
Raj is one of 74 noncitizen residents of San Francisco to have filed to participate in the upcoming recall election.
While that’s still a relatively small number, it’s more than the total of noncitizens who registered for the school board elections in 2018 (65 registered) and 2020 (36 registered), the first two times noncitizens with children in public schools could vote thanks to passage of a 2016 charter amendment, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections.
At the end of 2020, Raj moved to San Francisco with his kids from the East Bay. Soon thereafter, he and another parent launched the school board recall effort, accomplishing something that hadn’t been done since 1983, the last time a recall qualified for the San Francisco ballot.