A petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking expanded voting rights in U.S. territories has received an important boost. Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands Bar Association, and leading voting rights scholars have each filed amicus briefs in support of Supreme Court review in Segovia v. United States. Last month, Luis Segovia, a veteran living in Guam, along with other former state residents living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, petitioned the Supreme Court to answer whether it is constitutional to deny absentee voting rights in these territories while allowing citizens living in other U.S. territories or even a foreign country to continue being able to vote for President and voting representation in Congress.
“We are thrilled with the support we have received for the idea that where you live should not impact your right to vote,” said Neil Weare, who represents the plaintiffs in Segovia v. United States and is president of Equally American, a non-profit organization that advocates for equality and civil rights for the nearly 4 million Americans who live in U.S. territories. “Most Supreme Court petitions do not receive support from a single amicus brief, so it says a lot that three briefs have been filed in support of Supreme Court review here.”
… Leading voting rights scholars argue in their brief that Supreme Court review is necessary to reverse the Seventh Circuit’s decision to apply a lower level of judicial scrutiny to the regulation of voting rights in U.S. territories than it would apply to similar laws impacting Americans in other parts of the United States.
The brief highlights several ways the Seventh Circuit’s decision conflicts with precedent from other federal courts. “Once a state legislature or Congress extends the right to vote to one group of people,” the brief explains “it cannot deprive another identically situated group of people of the right to cast a vote purely based on geography.”