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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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County

City and County of San Francisco
Proposition C - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

226,148 votes yes (54.1%)

191,898 votes no (45.9%)

Shall the City amend the Charter to remove the requirement that people serving on City boards, commissions and advisory bodies be registered voters and U.S. citizens, and continue to require those people be old enough to vote in City elections and be San Francisco residents?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by League of Women Voters of San Francisco

The Question

Shall the City amend the Charter to remove the requirement that people serving on City boards, commissions and advisory bodies be registered voters and U.S. citizens, and continue to require those people be old enough to vote in City elections and be San Francisco residents?

Note: This Pro/Con information is also available in Chinese and Spanish.

The Situation

The City government includes many boards, commissions, and advisory bodies (City Bodies), which are created through either the City’s Charter or an ordinance. City Bodies may make recommendations and influence decisions on policy matters that impact the daily lives of all San Francisco residents.

 

Currently, the people allowed to serve on City Bodies must be both:

 

1.     Registered to vote in San Francisco, unless:

  • The Charter sets a different rule for City Bodies created through the Charter. (For example, people below voting age may serve on the Youth Commission.)
  • For City Bodies created by ordinance, the public official appointing members may waive the San Francisco residency requirement because a qualified San Francisco resident cannot be found.

2.     U.S. citizens, whether the City Body is created by Charter or ordinance.

 

San Francisco is home to people from many different, diverse backgrounds, with immigrants making up as much as 35% of our population.

 

In 2008, San Francisco voters approved a City Charter amendment that required commissions and boards to reflect the diversity of San Francisco’s population and that appointing officials be urged to support these candidates. An analysis in 2019 evaluated the representation in City Bodies of women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and veterans. The results showed:

 

 Although people of color make up 62% of San Francisco’s population, only 50% of appointees identify as a race other than white.

 The representation of people of color has gone down over the last few years.

 Latinx and Asian groups are underrepresented. Latinx individuals are 14% of the population

but make up only 8% of appointees. Asian individuals are 31% of the population but make up only 18% of appointees.

 

In 2019, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 225 into law, allowing all Californians, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, to serve on state commissions, boards, and advisory bodies. This law allowed more Californians to be considered for public service based on ability not based on immigration or citizenship status. The State law does not extend to local boards.

The Proposal

Proposition C is a Charter amendment that would make all San Francisco residents old enough to vote in City elections eligible to participate on local boards, commissions, and advisory bodies, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, by removing the requirement that a person be a registered voter and a U.S. citizen to serve on any City Body.

 

Proposition C would continue to require that people serving on City Bodies be old enough to vote in City elections and be San Francisco residents, unless the Charter or ordinance sets a different rule for a particular City Body.

 

For City Bodies created by ordinance, Proposition C would continue to allow these requirements to be waived if a person meeting them cannot not be found.

 

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to amend the City Charter to remove the requirement that people serving on City boards, commissions, and advisory bodies be registered voters and U.S. citizens, and continue to require that people be old enough to vote in City elections and be San Francisco residents.

 

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want to make this change.

Fiscal effect

Controller's statement: sfelections.sfgov.org/sites/default/files/Documents/candidates/2020Nov/Prop%20C%20-%20Removing%20Citizenship%20Requirements%20for%20Members%20of%20City%20Bodies.pdf

Supporters say

 Proposition C would align San Francisco law with the 2019 California state law.

 Expanding eligibility could help the City to better deliver services, as more residents with different life experiences advocate for public policy that supports and protects all people.

 People who are not citizens who live in San Francisco are required to pay taxes but are currently not allowed to participate on City Bodies addressing issues that could impact their daily lives (for example, the Immigrant Rights Commission). Proposition C would give all residents, including people who are not citizens, the opportunity for better representation and equal rights if they are allowed to serve on boards, commissions, and advisory bodies in San Francisco.

Opponents say

All members of City boards, commissions, and advisory bodies should be legal residents. Removing the citizenship requirement opens the possibility of people without legal status to join City boards, commissions, and advisory bodies.

San Franciscans are best able to influence and benefit from San Francisco public policy if they are U.S. citizens.

This measure may require undocumented residents to disclose more information about their immigration status, which may put themselves and their families at risk.

Details — Official information

YES vote means

A "YES" Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to amend the City Charter to remove the requirement that people serving on City boards, commissions and advisory bodies be registered voters and U.S. citizens, and will continue to require people be old enough to vote in City elections and be San Francisco residents.

NO vote means

A "NO" Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want to make this change.

Summary

Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The City government includes many boards, commissions and advisory bodies (City Bodies). In general, City Bodies are created through either the City Charter (Charter) or by ordinance.

People who serve on City Bodies created through the Charter must be registered to vote in San Francisco, unless the Charter sets a different rule.

People who serve on City Bodies created by ordinance are required to be registered to vote in San Francisco, unless:

• The Board of Supervisors has removed the requirement for that specific City Body; or

• The public official making the appointment to a City Body waives the San Francisco residency requirement because a qualified San Francisco resident could not be found.

People who serve on all City Bodies, whether created through the Charter or ordinance, must be U.S. citizens.

The Proposal: Proposition C is a Charter amendment that would remove the requirement that a person be a registered voter and a U.S. citizen to serve on any City Body. Proposition C would continue to require that people serving on City Bodies be old enough to vote in City elections and be San Francisco residents, unless the Charter or ordinance sets a different rule for a particular City Body.

For City Bodies created through ordinance, Proposition C would continue to allow these requirements to be waived if a person meeting them cannot be found.

Financial effect

City Controller Ben Rosenfield

Should the proposed charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would have a minimal impact on the cost of government.

The amendment would allow non-citizens to serve on policy bodies, such as boards, commissions, and advisory bodies. Members of these policy bodies would be required to be residents of San Francisco and of voting age, except in certain circumstances.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

More information

News (2)

Proposition C - November 3, 2020 — October 6, 2020 San Francisco Public Press
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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Proposition C

Organizations (3)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Proposition C

Organizations (2)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

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