CA Appoints Non-Citizen To Oversee Elections

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Kelly Wong, a Hong Kong native, was selected by San Francisco’s Department of Elections to serve on the city’s seven-member Elections Commission. Last Wednesday, she was sworn in by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin in a ceremony that was attended by numerous individuals who commemorated the event.

Wong, the inaugural non-native individual to serve on the commission, was characterized by the media outlet as “a champion for immigrant rights.” Had it not been for a city measure endorsed by the city’s residents in 2020, she would have been ineligible to hold a position on the Elections Commission.

However, voters concurred that citizenship was not a prerequisite for serving on boards and commissions in the Bay City, thus granting Wong the opportunity to be appointed to the commission. Peskin informed KQED that Wong’s dedication to advocacy and her efforts in engaging with voters served as a source of inspiration for him.

“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,” he said.

Upon being questioned by the media about her new position on the board, Wong expressed her initial feelings of nervousness. However, she also emphasized that her recent arrival in the country five years ago should not hinder her ability to supervise elections.

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

She expressed her aspiration to motivate other individuals from different countries to engage in public policy affairs.

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

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