The question before a panel of U.S. appeals court judges: Should non-native residents of Guam have a say in the territory’s future relationship with the United States? Three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were at the University of Hawaii’s law school Wednesday to listen to arguments in an appeal of a federal judge’s 2017 ruling that says limiting the vote to those who are considered native inhabitants of the island is unconstitutional. Voters would have three choices: independence, statehood and free association with the United States similar to island states that allow the U.S. exclusive military access to their land and waters while their citizens have the right to live and work in the U.S.Full Article: Guam pushes for native-only vote on US relationship.
Articles about voting issues in Guam.
The Guam Election Commission will not be conducting another recount, and will therefore not be conducting a hand count of ballots. The commission was responding to multiple requests for a hand count, including one from the gubernatorial team of Sen. Frank Aguon Jr. and Alicia Limtiaco – the presumptive second place finishers in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Ken Leon-Guerrero and Andri Baynum also requested a hand count. The men are initiating a write-in campaign for Aguon-Limtiaco in the general election. Last Saturday’s recount was automatically initiated after a newly adopted formula showed there was a 2 percent difference between Aguon-Limtiaco and the Democratic gubernatorial team of Lou Leon Guerrero and Josh Tenorio.Full Article: Election commission denies requests for another recount | Guam News | postguam.com.
Guam: Voting rights case gets support from US Virgin Islands, constitutional scholars | The Guam Daily Post
The U.S. Virgin Islands and two constitutional law scholars have filed briefs in support of a voting rights case filed by Guam resident Luis Segovia, a member of the Guam Army National Guard, which has now reached the Supreme Court. The case could decide whether 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories can vote in presidential elections. Segovia, who previously lived in Illinois and served in the state’s National Guard, has served two deployments to Afghanistan and provided security during the 2005 Iraqi elections.Full Article: Guam voting rights case gets support from US Virgin Islands, constitutional scholars | Guam News | postguam.com.
Additional costs and other factors such as the implementation of the Real ID requirement in June could affect the implementation of the automatic voter registration process proposed in Bill 234-34. The concerns were expressed by Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan, who testified during Wednesday’s public hearing on the legislation. Bill 234 proposes to implement automatic voter registration for eligible U.S. citizen residents of Guam.Full Article: Automatic voter registration discussed | Guam News | postguam.com.
The Guam Legislature and the Guam Election Commission want to give residents a chance to kill two birds with one stone at the Department of Revenue & Taxation. Talks of automatic voter registration were up for discussion at today’s Mayors Council of Guam meeting. Both parties are hoping to gain support from local village mayors in their effort. Senator Regine Biscoe Lee and GEC Director Maria Pangelinan made an appearance before the Mayor’s Council special meeting today to discuss an important topic of the year – voter registration.Full Article: Voter registration online or at DMV debated - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security now considers U.S. elections a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The DHS is now offering the Guam Election commission technical assistance to help with election security. In fact, GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan just returned from a meeting in Washington D.C. where DHS officials briefed election officials on the services they are offering. Pangelinan says Homeland Security is offering assistance with assessing the cyber security and physical security needs of the GEC. Pangelinan says that Guam’s election system is relatively safe from cyber-attacks because the system is not internet based and the island no longer uses electronic voting booths.
A proposed law supported by Democrats and Republicans would implement a streamlined voter registration process for all eligible U.S. citizen residents of Guam with the choice to opt out, was introduced yesterday by Sen. Régine Biscoe Lee. Sens. Wil Castro, Fernando Esteves, Tommy Morrison, Joe San Agustin and Mary Torres co-sponsored Bill 234-34. The measure would register eligible citizens as voters upon their registration for an ID card or driver’s license with the Motor Vehicles Division at the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The registration will happen automatically unless the registrant checks a box to opt out.Full Article: Bill combines voter registration, driver's license process | Guam News | postguam.com.
Bill 45-34, a piece of major election reform intended to eliminate primaries on Guam, has again failed to pass the Legislature. Discussion in session revolved around the technical ramifications of the measure. Early in session, Sen. Joe San Agustin, the bill’s author, stated that a Nov. 29 letter from the Guam Election Commission acknowledged that the understanding of a majority vote was 50 percent of votes plus one. However, San Agustin said the code of law the election commission cited made reference to all other votes except candidate elections. Elections only require a majority in terms of the most votes, San Agustin said.Full Article: Election reform measure fails to pass | Guam News | postguam.com.
Bill 45-34, an act to remove the primary election from the Guam Code Annotated was sent back to committee during session yesterday. Speaker Benjamin Cruz ordered that the bill, also known as the “Election Reform Act of 2017,” be sent back after several issues were raised about the provisions of the bill. “With these issues, we may need to completely restudy the whole bill,” he said. Prior to the decision, lawmakers deliberated on a bill provision concerning the election of the public auditor following Sen. Joe San Agustin’s motion to amend the bill to remove the provision that refers to a runoff election.Full Article: Primary election bill sent back to committee | Guam News | postguam.com.
The amended version of Bill 45-34, a measure from Sen. Joe San Agustin seeking to eliminate primary elections on Guam, was moved to the voting file during session yesterday. Lawmakers debated the provisions of the bill, with San Agustin emphasizing the cost-saving goal of the bill, noting that the primary elections are paid for by the public through appropriations made to the Guam Election Commission. Eliminating the primary elections would generate savings, he said. The Legislature’s Committee on General Government Appropriations convened a public hearing for the bill in August, during which Sen. Michael San Nicolas, committee chair, estimated the cost of holding a primary election at around $400,000. San Nicolas added that the 2016 primary resulted in about 2,000 spoiled ballots, which came to an estimated cost of about $32,000.Full Article: Lawmakers to vote on bill eliminating primary elections | Guam News | postguam.com.
The governor may be the determining signatory on which two competing pieces of legislation being debated in the Guam Legislature would become law. Bills 156-34 and 45-34 attempt to legislate election reform related to primaries. While Bill 156 intends to change the date of the primary election and the date of filing candidate nomination papers – to ease the burden on the Guam Election Commission – Bill 45 would eliminate the primary entirely. Sen. Mary Torres introduced Bill 156, while Sen. Joe San Agustin introduced Bill 45.Full Article: Election reform may depend on governor | Guam News | postguam.com.
Guam residents who register to vote through a volunteer registrar get into the Guam Election Commission’s database faster than applicants using the agency’s online registration service, according to GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan. Prospective voters are advised when they click on the online registration link on GEC’s website that the application process requires about 12 minutes, giving the “illusion that the process is entirely automated,” according to Pangelinan. The process, however, is anything but. After applicants fill out the form, which requires them to input either their driver’s license or Guam ID information, the data is then printed onto a paper spreadsheet and sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles for validation.Full Article: GEC head: Streamline voter registration | Guam News | postguam.com.
The nuclear conflict with North Korea that has made Guam the target of a threatened attack has led to new calls to change the government of the Pacific island whose inhabitants are American citizens but have no say in electing the president or the use of military force. Guam is a U.S. territory where many of its 160,000 residents have long advocated for a different form of government; they just can’t agree on what they want. Some want to become the 51st state, or at least have more say in the government. Others want independence from the U.S. Another faction wants to eliminate the heavy American military presence on an island where 7,000 troops are stationed and the main thoroughfare is called Marine Corps Drive. The feud between President Donald Trump and North Korea has upset some residents, given their lack of voting power in presidential elections.Full Article: North Korea spat renews push to change Guam’s government - The Washington Post.
Rodney Cruz was born an American citizen. He did a tour in Iraq during 10 years in the Army, and was wounded on the battlefield three times, eventually suffering a traumatic brain injury. His enlistment followed in the footsteps of many of his relatives, an unbroken line of military service. Five successive generations of his family have put their lives on the line for the country, but like four million other Americans in the U.S. territories, Cruz, as a resident of Guam, is constitutionally barred from voting in federal elections. But with some help from a brand-new legal platform, Cruz intends to change that. As the founder of the Iraq-Afghanistan Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific, Cruz is one of the lead plaintiffs in the Segovia v. Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners’ case, a lawsuit seeking to challenge the prohibition on residents of U.S. territories voting in federal elections. The suit is one of several recent legal challenges around the issue of voting rights, sovereignty, and citizenship in the U.S. territories. After the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled against the plaintiffs and denied a motion for summary judgment last year, the plaintiffs and a nonprofit voting-rights organization called We the People Project turned to crowdfunding to finance an appeal to the U.S. Seventh Circuit court.Full Article: Crowdfunding a Century-Old Fight for Voting Rights - The Atlantic.
The Guam Election Commission will begin removing inactive voters next month in line with public law, reducing current voter registration numbers of more than 51,000 down to about 46,000. Local law requires the cancellation of inactive voters’ registration after voters fail to participate in the two most recent general elections, in this case the 2014 and 2016 general elections. Guam Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said there are approximately 5,318 names of voters on the current list that will be purged by Feb. 24.Full Article: Election commission to purge 5,318 inactive voters | Local News | postguam.com.
An appellate court decision in a voting rights case in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands may weigh heavily on a similar lawsuit here at home on who can vote for Guam’s political status. “This is basic civics; this is fundamental civics that everyone regardless of race has a right to vote,” proclaimed Dr. Ron McNinch of the University of Guam. Shortly before the new year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision on CNMI resident John Davis’ case against the Commonwealth Election Commission. Davis filed a lawsuit alleging a CNMI law “unconstitutionally limit(s) voting on the basis of race.” McNinch broke it down, saying, “The Davis CNMI case, the Davis v. The CEC case is a case about voting over land issues in the CNMI, and the CNMI developed kind of like Guam developed, its own kind of resident, traditional resident only voting process where if you didn’t fit a certain category of voter, you couldn’t vote.Full Article: Appellate court decision could greatly impact Guam voting rights - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
A legal battle to gain equal voting rights for residents of the U.S. territories was dealt a setback after a federal judge in Illinois this week ruled that former Illinois residents who live in the territories, including Guam, do not have the right to cast absentee ballots in Illinois. Six U.S. citizens, who all are former Illinois residents now living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, jointly filed a lawsuit in Illinois’ northern district court last November with the nonprofit groups Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific and the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands. Under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and Illinois’ Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment law, former Illinois residents have the right to vote for president and Illinois’ Congressional representation, provided that they live in the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or a foreign country. The group argued that the statutes allowing them to vote in particular areas but not certain U.S. territories are a violation of their equal protection rights, according to court documents.Full Article: Guam residents lose voting rights case.
Starting next week, island residents can begin in-office voting. And for the first time, the Guam Election Commission will be utilizing a new machine that will help voters with disabilities vote independent and privately. “It’s a long time coming and to finally have it here on Guam, it’s overwhelming,” expressed Mangilao resident Gerard Cruz may be blind, but this coming election, he’s looking forward to casting his vote. “Freedom – that’s the only way I can describe it to come in to vote independently and privately on my own without the assistance of somebody reading to me the ballot and then marking it down for me, I can do everything on my own as I did when I was sighted before.”Full Article: Voters with disabilities able to use new technology - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
If you’re a teenager looking to be involved in politics, this is your lucky year. The Guam Legislature recently passed Substitute Bill No. 279-33, which grants individuals who are 17 on the date of a primary election the ability to vote in that primary, as long as the individual will be 18 on the date of the general election that immediately follows. “I think this bill is a great idea,” says Shania Spindel, a Guam Youth Congress representative. “It will be our generation that will be experiencing what the next representatives have to offer.” The new bill will be applied to Guam’s upcoming primary on Aug. 27.Full Article: Small change, big impact: Some 17-year-olds can vote.
The federal government is asking an Illinois federal judge to throw out a case challenging how voter rights are extended to the territories, saying the plaintiffs’ issue should be with the state, not the feds. Guam resident and National Guard Staff Sgt. Luis Segovia and five others — plus two veterans groups — filed a lawsuit in November 2015 saying they were unconstitutionally deprived of their rights to participate abroad in Illinois elections. All of the plaintiffs are former Illinois residents. They have targeted the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and the Illinois Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Those laws allow military members and overseas citizens to participate in Illinois elections even if they live outside the United States. However, the law defines the United States to include the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.Full Article: Feds ask judge to dismiss voting case.