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Voting in Guam

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Voting in Guam

Voting rights of citizens in Guam differ from those of United States citizens in each of the fifty states. District of Columbia residents do not have voting representation in the United States Senate, but D.C. is entitled to three electoral votes for President. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Guam is entitled to a delegate, who is not allowed to vote on the floor of the House, but can vote on procedural matters and in House committees.

The United States Constitution grants congressional voting representation to the states, of which Guam is not one. Guam is a federal territory ultimately under the complete authority of Congress. The lack of voting representation in Congress for residents of Guam has been an issue since the foundation of the federal district.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is a United States federal law dealing with elections and voting rights for United States citizens residing overseas. The act requires that all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands allow certain U.S. citizens to register to vote and to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.[1] The act is Public Law 99-410 and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 28, 1986.[2]

U.S. Citizenship

Guam is not an outlying possession, rather an unincorporated United States Territory, therefore those born on Guam are "U.S. [citizens] at birth on the same terms as persons born in other parts of the United States."[3] If a U.S. citizen born on Guam were to move to the mainland, they would be able to participate in all elections any other U.S. citizen can participate in. They are completely equal.

History

On August 1, 1950, President Truman signed into law the Northern Mariana Islands. However, the federal government rejected the version of a commonwealth that the government of Guam proposed, due to it having clauses incompatible with the Territorial Clause (Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2) of the U.S. Constitution. Other movements are also in existence that advocate becoming a U.S. state, union with the state of Hawaii, union with the Northern Mariana Islands as a single territory, or independence.

Guam's Government

Guam is governed by a popularly elected governor and a unicameral 15-member legislature, whose members are known as senators. Guam elects one non-voting delegate, currently Democrat Madeleine Z. Bordallo, to the United States House of Representatives. U.S. citizens in Guam vote in a straw poll for their choice in the U.S. Presidential general election, but since Guam has no votes in the Electoral College, the poll has no real effect. However, in sending delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions, Guam does have influence in the national presidential race, though these convention delegates are elected by local party conventions rather than voters in primaries.[4]

2008 Election

The 2008 Congressional election for the Delegate from Guam's At-large congressional district was held on November 4, 2008. The non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives from Guam is elected for two-year terms. Incumbent Democrat Madeleine Bordallo ran unopposed and is now serving in the 111th Congress from January 4, 2009, until her term of office expires on January 3, 2011.[5] The election coincided with the 2008 U.S. presidential election. There were 26 candidates seeking the 15 seats in the Legislature of Guam.[5] The Democratic Party gained full control of the legislature with 10 seats, while the Republican Party gained only five seats.[6]

References

  1. ^ "Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (as modified by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2005). U.S. Department of Justice; Civil Rights Division; Voting Section. December 31, 1987. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17.". Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Coleman, Kevin J. "Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues." Congressional Research Service. 2003.
  3. ^ http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86756.pdf
  4. ^ Rogers, Robert F. (1995). Destiny's Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.  
  5. ^ a b "Candidates Page – 2008 Candidates List: NON-VOTING DELEGATE TO THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES". Guam Election Commission. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  6. ^ "Candidates Page – 2008 Candidates List". Pacific Magazine. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
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