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San Francisco appoints citizen of China to local elections commission

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(The Center Square) San Francisco appointed a non-citizen who is not legally allowed to vote to its elections commission, sparking national outrage. Appointee Kelly Wong, a Chinese citizen, works at Chinese for Affirmative Action, a group that supports affirmative action in employment and college admissions and opposes standardized testing.

“It’s unbelievable,” said U.S. Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Missouri, on Fox Business regarding Wong’s appointment. “These people view themselves as global citizens. They view our borders as arbitrary lines on a map.”

Wong is able to hold her position as the result of a 2020 vote-approved measure to allow non-citizens to serve on San Francisco’s boards, commissions, and advisory bodies. San Francisco has allowed non-citizens to vote in school board elections if they have a child in the district since 2016, a measure that was first struck down in a lower court but later upheld by a higher court.

Other cities in California are seeking to expand the ability for non-citizens to vote. In the November 2024 general election, voters in Santa Ana, located in Southern California’s Orange County, will decide whether or not to allow illegal immigrants to vote in all city elections. If voters approve the measure, Santa Ana would be the first city in the state to allow illegal immigrants to vote on a municipal-wide basis.

This week, New York state judges confirmed an earlier ruling throwing out the city of New York’s law allowing non-citizen legal residents to vote in municipal elections. Given that a California judge upheld San Francisco’s measure allowing non-citizens to vote in some municipal elections, it’s unclear whether California judges would support or shut down a measure like Santa Ana’s, if passed.