John Oliver sheds light on voting rights of US territories - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

John Oliver sheds light on voting rights of US territories

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Image courtesy: YouTube, HBO Image courtesy: YouTube, HBO

Just as a federal lawsuit is in the works for residents of the US territories to vote for the President of the United States, a late night talk show is shedding light on an issue many Americans are probably not aware of.

"American Citizens in living in US island territories do not get to vote for president," asserted John Oliver. "And that's the kind of unsettling facts that deep down you probably knew but choose not to think about." That's the cold hard truth the Last Week Tonight host shared to America on a segment about voting rights in the US territories. From Puerto Rico to American Samoa to Guam, Oliver noted that more than 4 million people live in the US territories and are restricted from voting for the president, each with their own history that makes the matter even harder to justify.

"There is nothing not to love about Guam," he continued, adding, "it is a beautiful island in a strategically important location for the US military, so much so that their bases currently occupy more than a quarter of Guam's land. And yet the residents of Guam have no say in general elections for their commander in chief."

He says this fact is even harder to swallow given his research that shows one in eight adult Guamanians is a veteran - among the highest percentage of all United States and territories. "At this point, the American flag should just be a guy from Guam waving an American flag," he said.

The segment meanwhile has caught the attention of several people living on Guam, including local attorney Leevin Camacho, who is part of the legal team working to develop a federal case as part of the We the People Project. "I think in the short term I've been involved in We the People Project I have a lot of people walking up to me saying 'I want to be able to vote for president' but people are struggling with how to make that happen, what is the best way to fix the problem? I think that's one of the questions that was left open and John Oliver's piece was great in pointing out that there are these territories, there are millions of US citizens living on US soil denied that right," he told KUAM News.

He says over 500 people have already filled out a survey by We the People and they are trying to identify plaintiffs that can help with the filing of the lawsuit in the next few months. He added, "I think when you try to add a little humor to it people may be a little bit more receptive because it is kind of startling to say we have 140,000 people that live on the island and we have no right to vote for the president who makes huge decisions where our friends and family who are in the US military when and where they get deployed to, decisions like the buildup, we have no say in these things that have such huge impacts on the island."

In the meantime, Oliver notes that the people of Guam do cast their vote for president, however it's only a straw poll. "And their registered voter turnout is higher than that of the rest of America, and to misquote the words of the great philosopher Lil Jon - TURN OUT FOR WHAT???"

You can fill out the We the People Project survey and make your voice heard.  Also make sure to tune in tomorrow night to The Buzz with Jess Lujan as Attorney Camacho will be our guest.

Also commenting on the matter, Governor Eddie Calvo plans to share the clip about voting rights for US territories to all his cabinet members. He tells KUAM he found the segment very interesting, saying, "There's a way to put humor but it was biting humor and it was in a way done that simplifies it for the American people how much more simple can it be? And it is a simple concept, but sometimes when you get stuck in all this legal jargon and it sometimes happens when we have to deal with the federal authorities. This man put it simply - it was with so much simplicity. It was funny, it was biting and actually it was tragic, but with that by the responses you heard from the audience, you know they got a good education and they understood what it was all about."

He adds the manner of the segment could possibly reach more of the American people.  


 

 

Post by KUAM News.

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