A key backer of San Francisco granting illegal aliens and non-citizens the right to cast ballots in school elections now wants the city to spend as much as $500,000 a year to warn undocumented residents that registering to vote could point the feds their way.
Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer was on the school board when she urged voters to pass Proposition N in November 2016, arguing that it would give immigrants more of a say in their children’s education. Its passage made San Francisco the first California city to give illegal aliens and non-citizens the right to vote in any election.
Of course, something else happened in that election — Donald Trump won the presidency. His anti-immigration policies are at the heart of Fewer’s switcheroo.
“Those who choose to vote should know some of the risks involved,” Fewer said.
The first election in which San Francisco’s approximately 44,000 noncitizens will be able to vote is in November. City elections Director John Arntz says his office is looking at creating a form for them that would require them to give their address before they could cast a school-board ballot.
Fewer worries that the feds could subpoena voter registration rolls, looking for illegal aliens, and “we would have to turn them over” — addresses and all.
Under guidelines being drawn up by the Board of Supervisors, warning notices to prospective voters would have to be translated into as many as 48 languages and circulated not just to schools, but also preschools and community resource centers.
The warnings would alert those thinking of signing up that the feds may have access to their personal information.
Fewer estimates that the city may need as much as $500,000 a year to keep everyone informed on the issue. That money covers everything from administrative costs and materials to grants for nonprofits to hire outreach workers.
But even her call for an initial $125,000 to get the ball rolling drew a less-than-enthusiastic response from Mayor Mark Farrell, who was opposed to the initiative from the start.
“If the Board of Supervisors believes another outreach program is needed, they should work with the Department of Elections,” he said.
Farrell was the lone supervisor to oppose putting Prop. N on the ballot in 2016, calling it a “slippery slope.”