The Guam Election Commission commissioners gave themselves homework at the end of last night’s regular meeting — to read sections of Guam law and analyze the exact meaning of language on the political status plebiscite.
The assignment came in response to a discussion on Bill 154, which proposes changes to current law regarding the political status vote, and which prompted larger questions about the content and intent of current law as it relates to the plebiscite.
Guam law requires that the island’s native inhabitants vote on the three political status options — statehood, independence or free association with the United States.
The Commission on Decolonization was created in 1997 and given the task of creating a registry of Chamorro voters — defined by law as those living on Guam who were made U.S. citizens by the Organic Act in 1950, and their descendants — and holding a non-binding plebiscite vote on political status.
Bill 154, introduced by Sen. Judith Guthertz, attempts to get the plebiscite back on track by requiring that the Guam Election Commission hold a self-determination vote during the 2014 primary election. Ahead of the vote, the Guam Election Commission would be required to set up a registration system at all voting precincts during the mid-term election next year.
During the GEC meeting, board members expressed concern about both the cost and the logistical difficulty of registering people for the Decolonization Registry during the next primary and general elections.