Undocumented immigrants could be able to vote in Santa Ana municipal elections under a policy being considered by the city council.
Council members discussed the proposal Tuesday, which would add a measure to the November 2024 ballot. The item was brought by Jonathan Hernandez and Benjamin Vazquez.
“While all residents regardless of citizenship status contribute to the local economy and are subject to local laws, many are unable to participate in the elections of local lawmakers who shape the local policies they must abide by, including local tax policies,” Hernandez and Vazquez said in a memo.
Santa Ana is considering the proposal in light of a recent appellate court decision. In August, the First District Court of Appeal reversed a lower ruling, which held that noncitizen voting in San Francisco school board elections was unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, in nearby Huntington Beach, officials are considering a charter amendment that would further restrict voting to those who can present a photo ID. HBC leaders also want to monitor ballot drop boxes — an effort that critics have described as voter intimidation.
Santa Ana, however, has a very different demographic makeup than Huntington Beach. According to Hernandez and Vazquez, it is home to the largest noncitizen population among Orange County cities.
In 2018, noncitizens contributed an estimated $10.5 billion in taxes.