Santa Monica : No Citizenship, No Vote

The City Council turned down a request by Councilman Tony Vazquez to direct the city attorney to explore the legality of allowing residents who are not citizens to vote in local elections.

Vazquez said his primary interest was in getting parents who may not be citizens involved in decisions on issues that affect their children’s education.

There is a large Latino student population in the school system, and many of the students’ parents are not citizens.

Although some sentiment was expressed for opening the voting process for school board elections, there was little support for eliminating the citizen requirement for City Council or Rent Control Board elections.


City Attorney Robert M. Myers said that if the process were opened in one local election it would probably have to be opened for all local elections.

“I’m not going to ask the city attorney to spend time researching an issue that I don’t intend to support as a matter of policy,” Councilman Dennis Zane said.

Councilman Ken Genser was the only council member supporting Vazquez’s proposal. “I guess I misread them,” Vazquez said.