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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.