The rights of those who live in the states can differ from the rights held by residents in the territories. That’s one argument Guam’s attorney general’s office is making in a case challenging the island’s long-awaited political status vote. Guam resident Arnold Davis in 2011 challenged the island’s pending plebiscite after he wasn’t allowed to register for it. The plebiscite is a non-binding vote, intended to measure the preferred political status of Guam. Davis’ legal counsel said the plebiscite violates his fundamental right to vote. In a response filed Dec. 4, the AG states “even if the right to vote is fundamental in the several states, it does not follow that it is necessarily so in the territories.”Full Article: AG argues rights in territories, states can differ.
Articles about voting issues in Guam.
The City of Chicago’s board of election commissioners Friday filed their response to an ongoing voting rights lawsuit filed by territorial residents. The suit is challenging laws that gives some overseas citizens and military members the ability to participate in federal elections, while others cannot. Neil Weare, an attorney in the case, said the case is also part of a broader effort to raise awareness about the issue of voting rights in the U.S. territories. Weare is a former Guam resident. Six former Illinois residents, all now living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed the case in Illinois’ federal court.Full Article: Chicago responds to territory voting rights dispute.
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.
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.Full Article: Guam group files voting rights lawsuit.
We’re less than a year away until the 2016 primary election, and the Guam Election Commission is taking steps to ensure every voter including individuals with disabilities can cast their vote independently with the use of new technology. While they continue to make progress, the GEC is still not fully compliant with federal accessibility requirements. “We have assistive technology packets throughout all the 21 polling places at every precinct, but we still don’t, if a person who cannot see, comes into vote, they still cannot vote independently,” said executive director Maria Pangelinan. She says that may change as the commission is currently looking into using a new ballot marking device to help people cast their vote privately and independently. It’s called the Election Systems & Software’s AutoMark system.Full Article: Assistive technology coming for island elections - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
The head of the Guam Election Commission on Thursday morning appeared before the legislative Committee on Appropriations to request supplemental funds for the fiscal 2016 budget. The GEC, according to the governor’s budget request submitted to the Legislature in January, is seeking more than $1.56 million for the next fiscal year, which begins in October. The agency also needs an additional $610,531 for other expenses. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan told lawmakers funds from the initial appropriation will be used to pay for costs associated with the Primary Election in August 2016. The commission plans to purchase 70 voting booths and 116 privacy curtains.Full Article: GEC seeks more funds for online registration, debts.
More than $246,000 in legal services and $12,500 in commissioner stipends is among the debt the Guam Election Commission hopes to wipe clean. The commission last month requested an appropriation of about $371,000 for the coming fiscal year that would go toward paying debt accrued in prior years. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said she recently reached out to Sen. Rory Respicio to follow up on the request, but the senator is off island. Respicio is chairman of the committee that oversees the commission.Full Article: GEC seeks funds to clear debt.
The Guam legislature passed a law that allowed only “native inhabitants of Guam” to vote in an upcoming plebiscite concerning Guam’s political relationship with the United States. The plebiscite would ask native inhabitants to vote on whether Guam should seek statehood, independence, or a continued “association” with the United States. Arnold Davis is a resident of Guam, but was unable to register for the plebiscite because he was not a native inhabitant. Davis challenged the law as unconstitutional under the Fifth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The catch with this case was that the plebiscite would only occur once 70% of eligible native inhabitants registered to vote in it, and, in all likelihood, this 70% figure would never be reached. Thus,Guam argued that the case was not ripe and that Davis did not have standing to challenge the law because he could not show how he was being injured.Full Article: Challenge to Guam's race-based plebiscite will go forward - PLF Liberty Blog.
Just as the Guam Election Commission prepares for a special election next month, they’re also preparing for future elections and ways to improve the voting system on Guam. GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan says her goal has always been to provide fair and honest elections locally. And next week, she’ll be attending a national conference to help do just that. “One of the other things I want to do while I’m there is to see how other states conduct the election, and with all the research and all the people that will be there, it’s a great way to network and learn what everyone else is doing,” she said.Full Article: GEC looking at upgrading voting experience - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
Gov. Eddie Calvo enacted several bills into law yesterday including legislation updates, prison contraband regulations and reforms to Guam’s voter registration laws. … In her first act as an island lawmaker, freshman Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, R-Santa Rita, authored three voter registration reform bills aimed at modernizing and streamlining the process. Two of the measures — Bills 23 and 24 — were deliberated and passed during the March session, but she agreed to send Bill 25 back to committee. “We’ve seen that democracy is so dependent on participation,” Torres said. “There’s a steady decline of participation in the voting process, we felt incumbent to do something to enable people to have better access to online voter registration.”Full Article: Calvo signs prison, voter bills into law | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
Due to a recent episode of John Oliver’s political satire HBO series “Last Week Tonight,” there has been renewed discussion about how the American president is elected. The episode’s premise, a premise supported by many on Guam, is that U.S. territories are not equal to the U.S. mainland because U.S. citizens in the territories are denied the right to vote for president. That premise is completely wrong and needs to be corrected. When it comes to voting for president, Guam is very much equal to the U.S. mainland in that even citizens on the mainland do not have the right to vote for the president. The U.S. Constitution has never given the people at large the right to vote for president. The only people in the U.S. who possess the constitutional right to vote for president are the people chosen to be electors (see the U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 1, clause 2, and the 12th Amendment ratified in 1804).Full Article: Only electors have a vote for the president | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
The Guam Election Commission has continued to research programs suitable for the implementation of an online voter registration portal. That task began prior to the passage of two registration reform bills, which now await the governor’s approval. GEC Executive Director Maria Pangelinan said the commission has been researching programs since January when freshman Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, R-Santa Rita, introduced measures aimed at modernizing and streamlining Guam’s voter registration process.Full Article: GEC researching online voter registration | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s effort to reduce residency requirements for Guam’s governor, lieutenant governor, senators and mayors through an Organic Act Amendment is troublesome and gives rise as to its motivation. Residency provides confidence that aspiring candidates have good knowledge and understanding of the history of current community issues. This lack of knowledge and current connection, with the Guam community, was a Bordallo campaign issue when challenged by Karlo Dizon and Margaret Metcalf.Full Article: Maturity of Guam electorate questioned | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
After a full day of discussion yesterday, lawmakers placed one of three bills aimed at reforming Guam’s voter registration laws into the voting file. Freshman Sen. Mary Camacho Torres’ measure, Bill 23-33, proposes implementing a voter registration portal on the Guam Election Commission’s website, giving island residents another means to register. The Republican senator from Santa Rita said it’s important for Guam to keep up with evolving technology. “The bill is intended to modernize Guam’s voter registration, … this whole idea of modernizing is really the wave of today and tomorrow,” Torres said. Torres stressed that if the bill is passed, the option for residents who want to register in person with a registrar will still exist.Full Article: Voter registration bill to 'modernize' process | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” marches in Selma, Alabama, a time that fundamentally transformed the fight for civil rights in America. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, hundreds of extraordinary people were brutally attacked by Alabama state troopers as they marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to protest racial discrimination in voting. The events of “Bloody Sunday,” as it became known, led Congress to enact the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — one of the greatest pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed. But Selma’s promise remains unfulfilled for all Americans. U.S. citizens in Guam and the other territories still can’t vote for president. We have no representative in the Senate. Our representative in the house can’t vote.Full Article: Fulfill: 50 years after Selma, Guam and territories denied voting rights | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
In the last general election, only 71% of the voting electorate cast their vote – the lowest percentage for any gubernatorial election in Guam’s history. However, a trio of bills before the Guam Legislature is hoping to change that. Freshman senator Mary Torres hit the ground running introducing not one, but a trio of measures upon her first month in office. “I’ve introduced three bills to modernize and streamline voter registration on Guam,” she explained. Among the trio of measures include Bill 23 allowing for online registration. “And studies have shown that it saves tax payers dollars, it increases the accuracy of voter rolls, and it provides a convenience option for citizens who wish to register to vote,” she added.Full Article: Trio of bills promote online voter registration - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, R-Santa Rita, is leading a charge to increase voter turnout among island residents with multiple pieces of legislation aimed at amending voter registration laws. Last month, Torres introduced Bills 23-32, 24-32 and 25-32 to the Legislature with a public hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning. “What I’m trying to do is essentially facilitate the registration process,” Torres said.Full Article: Voter registration bills to be heard | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
A national civil rights group is preparing a lawsuit against the federal government in an effort to grant the millions of citizens living in U.S. territories the right to vote in presidential elections. We the People Project, a nonprofit organization advocating for equal voting and citizenship rights for U.S. territories, is developing its case and could file the lawsuit within the next few months. “At this point we have a legal team together; we’re looking to identify people interested in identifying with the case,” said WPP President Neil Weare, a civil rights attorney. “Once we’re able to identify the plaintiffs we’ll proceed to file the case over the next few months.”Full Article: Territories' voting rights lawsuit to be filed | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
Republican and Democratic Party representatives, working with the Guam Election Commission, yesterday, found two more improperly printed ballots during their ongoing review of the ballots from Saturday’s Primary Election. The ballots are supposed to be double-sided, with Republican candidates on one side and Democratic candidates on the other. Voters in the open primary were allowed to choose either the Republican or Democratic side, but nearly two dozens ballots were missing one side. Democratic Party officials have said the Democratic sides are missing, but Election Commission officials have declined to identify which sides are missing.Full Article: More bad ballots found | Pacific Daily News | guampdn.com.
Members of the Guam Election Commission spent nearly two hours yesterday scrutinizing the issues surrounding Saturday’s primary election, one of which was the discovery of misprinted ballots for the partisan election. The misprinted ballots were described as one-sided ballots on which voters could only choose candidates from one particular party. The other side of the misprinted ballots was blank. Correctly printed ballots were to have candidates of the Democratic Party on one side and Republican candidates on the other side. Voters were to vote only for candidates from one party. Joseph Mesa, GEC chairman, yesterday questioned the person in charge of printing the ballots in order to shed light on the issue. Program coordinator Joseph Eseke said that in producing the partisan ballots, the document ran four times in the printers. In setting up the printers, it was revealed that plates sometimes moved affecting the output. Eseke also mentioned the “sensitivity” of the printers in some elements in the ballot document such as the lines and ovals. He said GEC used one printer for the color and one printer for the text, which was black.Full Article: Marianas Variety - Guam election board scrutinizes ballot printing process, other poll issues.