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California judge rules that only citizens have the right to vote

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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On March 14, conservative KABC radio show host and attorney James V. Lacy filed a lawsuit against San Francisco with the aim to prohibit the counting of votes cast by persons who are not American citizens in San Francisco Unified School District elections. The lawsuit targeted a 2016 city ordinance (206-21) comparable to New York’s “Our City, Our Vote” measure passed in December 2021, which enabled 800,000 foreign nationals to participate in local elections.

Lacy’s lawsuit proved successful.

Superior Court Judge Richard B. Ulmer Jr. struck down the law on July 29, just as State Supreme Court Judge Ralph J. Porzio had New York’s noncitizen voting law on June 27.

Ulmer asserted that the city ordinance, which conferred voting rights to foreign nationals (including “green card holders, work visa holders, refugees” and illegal aliens), was “contrary to the California constitution and state statues and thus cannot stand.” As Fox News has highlighted, Ulmer questioned the now-defunct law's logic, which could have been cited to permit "children under 18 and residents of other states [to] vote in California elections."

In his ruling, Ulmer stated: "Even had California voters ceded to the legislature their 'authority to define voter qualifications' (they did not), statues enacted by the legislature also unambiguously reserve the vote to United States citizens."

Ulmer, appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in 2009, also issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the city from using the ordinance to allow foreign nationals to vote in future elections.

Lacy said that "this is an important case that reaffirms the core Constitutional notion that voting is a privilege of citizenship and that right cannot be diluted by allowing for noncitizen voting."

The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission noted its disappointment in the decision, arguing that "by taking way this right ... [the] decision denies immigrant parents the opportunity to have a say in the policies that shape their children's education."

Foreign-born residents represent at least 34% of San Francisco's population. An estimated 3.26 million illegal aliens live in California.

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