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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

San Francisco is about to become the largest U.S. city to allow noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants, to vote in school board races, reports the AP.

The backstory: Voters approved a proposal in 2016 to allow noncitizens with children in the city's school district to vote in local school board elections. Supporters say it would give immigrant parents a voice in how the city's public schools are operated.

The details: As of Monday, the registration deadline, only 35 noncitizens have signed up to do so, per the AP, citing the San Francisco's Department of Elections. State law allows people to register and vote on Election Day. The policy requires them to provide their address and date of birth to register.

The backdrop: Noncitizens are prohibited from voting in federal and statewide elections under federal law, but states and municipalities can set their own policies.

  • In Chicago, noncitizens are also allowed to vote in school board elections. 
  • College Park, Md. will allow noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants and student visa holders, to vote in local elections starting next year, per the Washington Post.
  • Ten other municipalities in Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George’s counties also allow noncitizens to vote in local elections, per the Baltimore Sun.

Flashback: Forty states had allowed noncitizens to vote in local and federal elections from 1776 until the 1920s, according to Ron Hayduk, a political scientist at San Francisco State University.

Go deeper

Updated 30 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.

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