Fact Check-Noncitizens cannot vote in California congressional elections

By Reuters Fact Check,
November 9, 2022


Noncitizens are not eligible to vote in California congressional elections, despite the claim resurfacing online ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Social media users shared a graphic online with text that reads: “Now that California is registering non-citizens to vote and has refused to cooperate with the Federal Election Integrity Program, all votes from California should be nullified and Federal Representatives from the state be removed from Congress.”

Examples of the claim shared online can be found (here), (here), (here).

- - - - - - - - - - 

Eligibility requirements can be found (here). To be eligible to register in California, an individual must be a U.S. resident, a resident of California, aged 18 or older on election day and not currently serving a state or federal prison term for a felony.

“In San Francisco, voters passed an ordinance in 2016 allowing non-citizen parents of children in schools to vote in school board elections,” Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation told Reuters by email.

The measure, titled “Local Measure N” to allow non-citizens to vote in school board elections was approved by voters after the question was posed on the ballot in 2016 (here), (here).

The measure just applies to schoolboard elections and does not make noncitizens eligible to vote in any other local, state or federal election, Matthew Selby, Campaign Services Division Manager and Custodian of Records at the San Francisco Department of Elections told Reuters.

In July, a San Francisco Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of challengers to the ordinance, stating that it is “contrary to the California constitution and state statutes and thus cannot stand” (here), (here), (here).

In August, the California Court of Appeal allowed the program to remain operational for the November school board election. The Court of Appeal will then ultimately decide the legality of the program (here).

“Non-citizens who are eligible to register and vote in local school board elections use a different voter registration form and separate ballot,” Alexander said (here).

There have been instances of noncitizens being inadvertently registered, Rick Hasen, professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles told Reuters. (Full Story)