Palau’s Congressional Reapportionment Commission is seeking a court ruling to delay this year’s general election scheduled for Nov. 1, stating that a postponement to Nov. 8 will guarantee absentee voters the opportunity to vote in the upcoming general election. Represented by their counsel Assistant Attorney General Allison Trout, the commission called for the postponement of the election through a motion filed Friday afternoon. The postponement, the motion stated, will give time for the election commission to send out absentee ballots and off-islands voters will be able to mail it back to Palau by election day. Disenfranchisement of overseas voters looms pending the appellate division’s ruling on the make-up of the 11- or 13- member Senate.
“The Palau Election Commission has stated that a one week postponement of the election would alleviate these concerns of timeliness. Appellant has taken the concerns of the PEC to heart and believes that it has a duty to bring these concerns to the court’s attention,” the motion stated. “Appellant believes that it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure this general is conducted in such a way that satisfies all aspect of the law,” it added.
The motion stated that the Supreme Court “has the power to postpone election.”
Also at issue is the potential constitutional violation if absentee ballots won’t reach outside voters in time for the Nov. 1 election, which will exclude a large segment of voters from exercising their right to elect their leaders. There are at least 3,000 voters off-island.