With San Franciscans getting ready to vote in an election that could see the recall of three Board of Education commissioners, the Immigrant Parent Voting Collaborative said it’s continuing efforts to engage and inform noncitizen voters.

In 2016, San Francisco voters passed Proposition N allowing noncitizens the right to vote in school board elections.

Although the change was only temporary and set to expire this year, in October Supervisor Connie Chan authored an ordinance to make noncitizen voting in school board elections permanent, and to also explicitly allow noncitizen voting in school board recall elections.

The Feb. 15 election will be the first school board recall election since the ordinance was approved. Voters will be asked whether to recall Board of Education President Gabriela Lopez, Vice President Faauuga Moliga, and Commissioner Alison Collins.

Chan and city leaders joined the Immigrant Parent Voting Collaborative, or IPVC, on Thursday to encourage noncitizen parents to participate.

“Voting is one of the most fundamental building blocks of participating in a civic society,” said Supervisor Myrna Melgar, who immigrated to San Francisco from El Salvador as a child.

“I remember so clearly having to translate for my parents at school so that they would understand what was going on and the decisions that were being made by the administration on their behalf,” she said. “I think it’s a basic right.”

Chan, who is an immigrant from China, said, “Our vote is our voice and it’s critical for us to push forward to make sure that everyone has a voice.”

The collaborative is made up of several community groups that work directly with immigrants, including the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, La Raza Community Center, Carecen San Francisco, African Advocacy Network, Coleman Advocates, Mission Graduates, and the Mission Economic Development Agency. Each organization is conducting outreach in several different languages to help register voters and encourage parent engagement in school issues.

IPVC estimates the combined effort has help reach over 53,000 families with children enrolled in San Francisco Unified School District schools.

According to Eve Pena Avila with the San Francisco Department of Elections, as of last week 123 noncitizen voters had registered. Of those, 33 already had cast their vote for next month’s election.

“Here in San Francisco, for us, it’s a continued commitment to our community, to our eligible voters to have access to the ballot box. So, not only will voters be able to have their vote by mail ballot if they’re registered in time, but there’s ample opportunity to participate in the upcoming election even through Election Day,” she said.

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