A federal lawsuit involving the inability of residents of Guam and other U.S. territories to vote for president has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court typically hears about 80 cases out of the thousands of petitions it receives each year. It announces its docket in early October. In November 2015, six U.S. citizens, who all are former Illinois residents now living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, filed a lawsuit in Illinois’ northern district court with the nonprofit groups Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific and the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands. The group argued that the laws allowing them to vote in particular areas, but not certain U.S. territories, including Guam, are a violation of their equal protection rights, according to court documents.
The two Guam plaintiffs in the case are Luis Segovia, who is in the Guam National Guard, and Anthony Bunten, a Navy veteran and Piti resident who moved to Guam in 1997.
They lost their case in August 2016 when a federal judge ruled that former Illinois residents who live in the territories do not have the right to cast absentee ballots in Illinois. There is no fundamental right to vote in the territories, the judge stated, citing U.S. Supreme Court decisions called the “Insular Cases.”