While serving in the U.S. Army, Yona resident Luis Segovia spent an 18-month tour in Iraq, helping provide security during the country’s 2005 elections. He also served a 12-month tour in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard and another 10-month tour in Afghanistan with the Guam National Guard. Although collectively serving his country in both conflict areas for more than three years, Segovia, a former resident of Illinois and current staff sergeant for the Guam National Guard, can’t vote in presidential elections as a resident of Guam. “On Veterans Day, it’s hard to be treated like I am good enough to risk my life defending democracy, but not good enough to vote for my Commander-in-Chief,” Segovia said in an email.
As the lead plaintiff in a new voting-rights lawsuit filed Wednesday, Segovia and five other individuals are challenging federal and state voting laws that have denied U.S. citizens living in the territories the ability to vote in presidential elections.
The six U.S. citizens living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands jointly filed a lawsuit in Illinois’ northern district court with the nonprofit groups Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific and the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands.
“One year out from the 2016 presidential election, this lawsuit highlights the injustice and absurdity that in 2015 Americans are still being disenfranchised because of where they live,” We the People Project President Neil Weare said in an email.
We the People Project is a nonprofit organization promoting equal voting and citizenship rights for U.S. territories.
Read More Group files voting rights lawsuit.