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.
A group of military veterans living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are crowd-funding their appeal to challenge federal voting laws that deny U.S. citizens living in the territories the ability to vote in presidential elections. Americans in the U.S. territories follow the same federal laws, pay billions in taxes and have some of the highest rates of enlistment in the U.S. military, but they say their equal protection rights are being violated based on where they live. People born in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are all U.S. citizens. “I don’t feel that I am a complete person as an American,” said Rodney Cruz, a disabled veteran who served multiple tours in Iraq before his injury in 2008. “I went over, I took a bullet, I did everything that was required of me, but when it comes to electing our commander in chief every four years I’m told, ‘You can’t because you’re a nonvoting citizen.’ ” A native of Guam, Cruz is the sixth generation in his family to serve in the U.S. military. The nonprofit he founded to help veterans with mental health issues – Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific – is a plaintiff in the case. Every election year while Cruz was deployed, he said, he felt frustrated watching fellow soldiers cast their absentee ballots.Full Article: Veterans in US territories crowd fund the legal case for voting rights | McClatchy DC.
American Samoa: How Many Delegates Does American Samoa Get? The US Territory Gets A Say In The 2016 Primaries, Too | Bustle
Super Tuesday is the biggest voting day of primary season. A total of 14 states and territories will cast their votes on March 1st, and it’s a diverse roster: Texas, Vermont, Georgia, Colorado and Oklahoma are amongst the states that will head to the polls on Super Tuesday. And then there’s American Samoa, the tiny US territory 2,500 miles from Hawaii that will also hold a caucus on March 1st. How many delegates does American Samoa get? In the Democratic contest, American Samoa gets 10 delegates. Six of them are regular pledged delegates, while the other four are superdelegates who can vote for whomever they please at the national convention over the summer. Republicans in American Samoa will select a candidate on March 22nd, with nine delegates at play.Full Article: How Many Delegates Does American Samoa Get? The US Territory Gets A Say In The 2016 Primaries, Too | Bustle.