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Hong Kong immigrant becomes first non-US citizen to serve on the San Francisco Election Commission

In 2020, San Francisco passed a measure that removed the requirement of being a citizen to serve on commissions and city boards. 

Published: February 19, 2024 12:09pm

San Francisco recently appointed non-U.S. citizen and Hong Kong immigrant, Kelly Wong, to serve on the city's election commission.

Wong is an advocate for immigrant voting rights and is reportedly "the first noncitizen appointed to the commission," according to local California outlet KQED.

In 2020, San Francisco passed a measure that removed the requirement of being a citizen to serve on commissions and city boards.

The seven members of the city's election commission are each appointed by a different city official, including the mayor and district attorney. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to appoint Wong.

“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,” Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said regarding Wong. 

Wong still cannot vote in elections, but she hopes her being appointed to the commission inspires other immigrants. 

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

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