About 2,000 Northern Marianas Descent voters who will decide on the land alienation rule have so far registered with the Commonwealth Election Commission. But CEC Executive Director Robert Guerrero in an interview on Wednesday said this does not mean that the CNMI has 2,000 NMD’s only.
Public Law 17-40, which was signed by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial last March, creates with the election commission a Northern Marianas Descent Registry “for the purpose of maintaining official listings and records of persons of Northern Marianas descent.”
The CNMI Constitution provides “that only persons of Northern Marianas descent can vote on constitutional amendments affecting the protections against alienation of land.”
The Senate is currently considering Senate Legislative Initiative 17-9, which seeks to extend the land lease term from 55 years to 99 years and change the definition of an NMD, and S.L.I 17-10 which will repeal the land alienation rule or Article 12 of the CNMI Constitution.
Guerrero said once these proposed constitutional amendments are placed on the ballot, the election commission will use its list of NMD voters as a guide to determine who can vote on those proposals.
He said until the court finds the NMD voting restriction unconstitutional, “we will follow the current law.”
Vice Speaker Felicidad T. Ogumoro, the author of the NMD Registry measure, is urging NMD’s to register now. She said she does not know exactly how many NMD’s the commonwealth has and that is why the registry is needed.
Full Article: 2,000 NMD voters register | local-news.