A petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking expanded voting rights in U.S. territories has received an important boost, according to a release issued by Equally American, a nonprofit organization that advocates for equality and civil rights for the nearly 4 million Americans who live in U.S. territories. Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands Bar Association, and leading voting rights scholars have each filed amicus briefs in support of Supreme Court review in Segovia v. United States. Last month, Luis Segovia, a proud veteran living in Guam, along with other former state residents living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, petitioned the Supreme Court to answer whether it is constitutional to deny absentee voting rights in these territories while allowing citizens living in other U.S. territories or even a foreign country to continue being able to vote for President and voting representation in Congress.
“We are thrilled with the support we have received for the idea that where you live should not impact your right to vote,” said Neil Weare, who represents the plaintiffs in Segovia v. United States and is the president of Equally American. “Most Supreme Court petitions do not receive support from a single amicus brief, so it says a lot that three briefs have been filed in support of Supreme Court review here.”
Puerto Rico’s brief challenges the view presented by the Seventh Circuit that ruling in favor of the Segovia plaintiffs would create so-called “super citizens,” also addressing how continued disenfranchisement impacts the daily lives of Puerto Ricans and others in U.S. territories.
“The Supreme Court should reject the Seventh Circuit’s idea that providing Puerto Ricans the same voting rights as other Americans would turn them into ‘super citizens.’ This is about equality – people who move to Puerto Rico should enjoy the same voting rights as those who move to other territories or a foreign country. That is why we continuously advocate for Statehood, in order to end once and for all any unequal treatment” said Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló.