Should Noncitizens Vote in Oakland School Board Elections? Voters Will Decide.

Should non-citizens be able to vote on school board elections that impact the schools their children attend? That question will be put before Oakland voters this November.

The Oakland City Council voted last Tuesday to place Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Treva Reid’s Noncitizen Voting Measure on the November 8th general election ballot. The measure would allow noncitizen parents, legal guardians, and legal caregivers of eligible Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) students to vote for school board trustees.

“Noncitizen parents are already doing the hard work to try to ensure that their children each get a good education. Many are already volunteering at their children’s schools. But what we’re hearing overwhelmingly is that these parents often don’t feel heard...” said Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb.

“As City leaders, we must uplift and deliver on our values of equity, inclusion, and access for Oakland families, including opportunities that empower the voice and vote of all parents and legal guardians in their students' educational journey,” added Reid. “This Noncitizen Voting Measure will ensure families—including many immigrants and refugees from Africa, Asia, and South America—with over 17,000 students are seen and heard at the voting polls to improve academic outcomes for all students within Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). It is our responsibility to promote pathways to provide increased quality resources, educator and family support, and mental health services that will advance equitable academic and life outcomes for all students to thrive.”

San Francisco voters passed a similar noncitizen voting measure for school board elections in 2016. The law was made permanent in November.