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First Noncitizen Appointed in California

via KTSF Channel 26
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San Francisco appointed Kelly Wong, a foreign national from Hong Kong, to oversee its elections despite having no legal voting rights in the U.S. Wong, an immigrant rights advocate, became eligible due to a city measure allowing non-citizens on boards.

She aims to inspire others and believes her background should not disqualify her.

“I’m very impressed by her commitment to enfranchising people who rarely vote, to educating people about the voting process, and to bring in noncitizens and get them the tools they need as they become citizens,” San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said.

“There are always voices inside my head. Like, ‘You can’t do it. You’re not competent. You’re an immigrant,” Wong said. “This is not your country.’ That’s not true.”

“If I can do it, you can do it,” Wong said.

The Federal Election Commission prohibits foreign nationals from influencing election-related decisions but allows political activities not tied to elections.

San Francisco previously allowed foreign nationals to vote in local school board elections.

“Commission regulations prohibit foreign nationals from directing, dictating, controlling, or directly or indirectly participating in the decision-making process of any person (such as a corporation, labor organization, political committee, or political organization) with regard to any election-related activities,” the Federal Election Commission guidance states.

“Despite the general prohibition on foreign national contributions and donations, foreign nationals may lawfully engage in political activity that is not connected with any election to political office at the federal, state, or local levels,” they added.

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