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No US voting rights for USVI, PR & Guam, US Court rules

Plaintiffs will make a decision whether to appeal the Seventh Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks. They have until April 18, 2018 to petition the Supreme Court to review the case. Photo: VIC
VI CONSORTIUM

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St Thomas, USVI- Last Thursday, January 18, 2018 the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled against expanding territorial voting rights in Segovia v. United States, according to We The People Project, a non-profit that advocates for equal rights and representation in US territories.

The case presented an equal protection challenge by plaintiffs in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands (USVI) who would be able to absentee vote for president and voting representation in Congress if they lived in other US territories or a foreign country, but are denied such rights based solely on their ZIP code.

In a surprising move, the panel concluded that plaintiffs lacked legal standing to even challenge federal overseas voting laws, a potentially far-reaching conclusion that has previously been rejected by other courts. On the merits, the panel concluded that state overseas voting laws may constitutionally extend absentee voting rights to residents of American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands while withholding them from residents of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The panel also embraced the suggestion of the Trump Administration that even if a constitutional violation was found, the remedy would be to contract rather than expand voting rights in US territories.

Not about zipcode

“The right to vote should not depend on your zipcode or where you happen to live. We are disappointed the court found no issue with laws that extend absentee voting rights to citizens living in the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or a foreign country, while denying these same rights to citizens living in Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Neil Weare, President and Founder of We the People Project. “There is simply no basis for treating residents of one territory differently from those of another when it comes to something as basic as the right to vote.”

Plaintiffs will make a decision whether to appeal the Seventh Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks. They have until April 18, 2018 to petition the Supreme Court to review the case.

All case filings are available at http://www.equalrightsnow.org/segovia.

Luis Segovia, the lead plaintiff, is a member of the Guam Army National Guard, serving two deployments to Afghanistan. He also was deployed to provide security during the 2005 Iraqi Elections. Also serving as plaintiffs in Guam are Anthony Bunten, another Veteran, and the Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific. Attorney Leevin Camacho serves as local counsel.

In the US Virgin Islands, Plaintiffs include Pamela Colon, a criminal defense lawyer, Lavonne Wise, and the League of Women Voters for the Virgin Islands. Attorney Semaj Johnson serves as local counsel.

In Puerto Rico, Plaintiffs include Jose Antonio Torres, a disabled Vietnam-era Veteran who also served for 22 years in the US postal service, and Tomas Ares, another Vietnam-era Veteran.

5 Responses to “No US voting rights for USVI, PR & Guam, US Court rules”

  • jim crow (19/01/2018, 20:26) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    Very sad this is more separate and unequal
  • rock city (19/01/2018, 22:19) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Or, expect to be spit on, swept away and beat into submission from now on and forever by the Russian-backed, Russian-owned fascist anti-American republicons who hate everything American and are the lap dogs of their corporatist anti-American controllers.
  • Trump (20/01/2018, 00:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I nolonger need u all
  • Know thy Place (20/01/2018, 08:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    They always liked to show off because they are under US rule but they will understand now that they are property of the US and not US.
  • uncle charley (20/01/2018, 13:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    only thing us gov respects is charging as much money as you can get for anything. freedom and rights don't
    enter into the equation. soul sucking scum, like those creatures in the potter movie.


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