San Jose moving mayor will decide election, undocumented vote

By the end of 2022, San Jose voters can move the city’s future mayoral elections to presidential years and potentially give city-dwelling non-citizens the right to vote on upcoming ballots.

In a 10-1 vote, San Jose City Council voted Tuesday night to move forward with a measure on the June 7, 2022 ballot that would allow voters to move the city’s mayoral race from midterm election years to 2024. The president will ask to move in election years. According to advocates, the move, which has been an ongoing effort for years, will help boost voter turnout and improve representation in the city’s mayoral contests.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said councilor Maya Esparza. “Our current system was designed to suppress votes – it was designed to suppress certain types of votes and enable other votes.”

City leaders also agreed to study possible additional ballot measures for November’s election, including a controversial proposal that the city expand voting rights for non-citizens to local castes, such as that undocumented immigrants and legal non-citizens who are green card holders or have the right to study or work in the US

Councilwoman Dev Davis voted against moving the election of the mayor and exploring the expansion of voting rights to noncitizens, saying she didn’t think it was “the right or right thing to do.”

If the June 2022 ballot measure is approved, San Jose’s next mayor, who will be elected this year, will initially serve a two-year term and then run for two additional four-year terms in 2024 and 2028. will be an option. Capacity up to 10 years in office.

Tuesday night’s city council decisions follow months of work and lengthy public meetings convened by the city’s Charter Review Commission, a group of 23 residents appointed by the city council to provide recommendations on possible changes to the city’s charter. Was. The commission was formed after Mayor Sam Licardo advocated – and then abruptly left – a “stronger mayor” measure that could potentially give him more power and two additional years in office.

The commission’s final report, which was presented on Tuesday night, included 17 recommendations, ranging from increasing the number of seats in city councils from 10 to 14 districts, to removing the citizenship requirement for board and commission members. Public safety reforms such as the creation of the police. To give summoning authority to the Commission and the independent police auditor of the city and full access to unmodified records.

The commission did not recommend that the city follow the “strong mayor” style of government. He did not discuss a proposal to give voting rights to non-citizens living in San Jose.

The council will hold two study sessions in the coming months to decide which recommendations will measure future ballots. One meeting will focus on the recommendations forwarded by the Charter Review Commission and the other will focus on expanding voting rights for non-citizens – a proposal that was wrapped up by Council members Magdalena Carrasco and Silvia Arenas following the commission’s work.

Across the US, more than a dozen municipalities currently allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. New York City earlier this month became the largest municipality in the country to allow legal residents who are not citizens to vote in all municipal elections, provided they are green card holders or have the right to work in the United States. be. In 2016 San Francisco voters approved a measure giving noncitizen parents the right to vote in school board elections.

Council members Carrasco and Arenas, who are advocating for San Jose to join those other cities, say it will give a voice to those who have long been put off from participating in the democratic process, but who play an integral role in the community including business owners. , essential workers and consumers.

“Some of these people have been here longer than our own council members,” Carrasco said. “… it’s a wonderful thing to allow our residents to have a say in their democratic process.”