San Jose voters likely to approve city charter changes
San Jose City Hall is pictured in this file photo.

    Last updated 5 p.m. on Friday. The next update is expected at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

    As poll workers continue to tally ballots, Measure I appears to be on track to meet the majority vote necessary to pass.

    With 62% of ballots counted Friday afternoon, the San Jose measure has pulled in 57.4% of the vote, compared to 42.5% opposing the initiative.

    Measure I would amend the city charter—a document that regulates how the city is governed—to protect the local election commission from being disbanded without majority voter approval rather than a city council vote. The commission monitors compliance with election law and investigates alleged violations.

    The measure would also remove gendered language and citizenship requirements from some city commission positions, and will require the city to publish an equity statement of values.

    All San Jose commissions, except four, already allow non-citizens to serve on them. Those four are the Board of Fair Campaign and Political Practices (BFCPP), planning, civil service and salary setting commissions. Measure I would allow non-citizens to serve on any city commission, except the BFCPP.

    Proponents believe it will allow the city to operate more fairly and ethically. Others believe the measure should be more expansive.

    “I feel good,” said Huy Tran, a workers rights attorney and member of the Charter Review Commission, about the election outcome so far. The 23-member task force was created to improve San Jose’s governing style and recommended a series of changes to the city charter. Measure I incorporates a few of those recommendations. “A lot of the work that went into Measure I really came from a group of folks that wanted a San Jose that was equitable and inclusive and created space for all of our residents.”

    The Santa Clara County Republican Party has expressed concern with Measure I because it would allow non-citizens on all city commissions.

    “I think it’s a really bad idea to put race into our charter,” said Shane Patrick Connolly, chairman of the Santa Clara County Republican Party.

    The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters did not receive arguments opposing the measure. Elected officials and community leaders, including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Sacred Heart Community Service Executive Director Poncho Guevara, have voiced support for Measure I.

    San Jose Councilmember Sergio Jimenez said the measure is an important step toward stronger city governance.

    “I encourage residents to support this measure because it will strengthen the integrity of elections and campaigns,” Jimenez previously told San José Spotlight. “(It also) creates a more inclusive government that acknowledges the importance of our diversity and embeds equity in all we do, which is so vitally important.”

    This story will be updated.

    Contact Brian Howey at [email protected] or @SteelandBallast on Twitter.

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