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The Latest: Lawyer: Guam vote on US relationship symbolic

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on arguments in a lawsuit about whether non-native residents of Guam can participate in a vote on the territory’s future relationship with the United States (all times local):

1 p.m.

An attorney representing the government of Guam says a vote only for those considered native to the island is merely symbolic and not racially discriminatory.

Julian Aguon argued before a panel of U.S. appeals court judges Wednesday in Honolulu in a case involving whether non-native residents of Guam can vote on the territory’s future relationship with the United States.

Arnold Davis, a white, non-Chamorro resident of Guam, sued in 2011 after his application to participate in the vote was denied.

A federal judge last year ruled that limiting the vote to those who are considered native Guam inhabitants is unconstitutional. Guam appealed.

Davis’ attorney, Lucas Townsend, says Guam wants to hold a “tax-payer funded, government-sponsored,” race-based vote.

Aguon says it’s a symbolic gesture for those who suffered colonization, and their descendants, to have a say in their own future political status.

The choices would be independence, statehood or free association with the United States.

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8:15 a.m.

A panel of U.S. appeals court judges is in Hawaii to consider a question: Should non-native residents of Guam have a say in the territory’s future relationship with the United States?

Oral arguments are scheduled Wednesday in an appeal to a federal judge’s 2017 ruling that says limiting the vote to those who are considered native inhabitants of the island is unconstitutional.

Arnold Davis, a white, non-Chamorro resident of Guam, sued in 2011 after his application to participate in the vote was denied.

The ruling concluded that even though Guam has a long history of colonization and its people have a right to determine their political status with the United States, it’s unconstitutional to exclude voters simply because they “do not have the correct ancestry or bloodline.”

Associated Press

Associated Press

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