Bill levels playing field for independent candidates

Senator James Moylan (file photo)

With the intent of creating a level playing field for those individuals seeking to run as an Independent Candidate for a partisan office, Senator James C. Moylan introduced Bill 254-35 on Tuesday.

The legislation proposes some sweeping changes to amend archaic laws that create many challenges for any individual who opts to run under an independent designation, particularly with emphasizing that any Independent Candidate should not be categorized as a candidate under a Recognized Political Party from an organizational perspective. Bill 254-35 proposes to:

* Define an “Independent Candidate” as an individual(s) who has elected not to run under the affiliation of a Recognized Political Party, therefore would not be subject to fulfill the requirements that such political parties must file with the Guam Election Commission. This includes having a specific percentage of votes in the previous general election to maintain their status as a recognized party;

* An Independent Candidate who fulfills all the general requirements requested of candidates running for that specific office shall have the right to place their name on the ballot under an independent designation. Further, a column shall be established on a ballot for any official Independent Candidate; and

* An Independent Candidate or group, will not be categorized as a Political Party, hence would not be subject to the requirements set forth for groups attempting to form a new party.

Minimum vote requirements

Independent Candidates who are on a ballot would be subject to the same minimum vote requirements as those in a Recognized Political Party. Presently an independent designated individual would be required to attain a minimum of 20% of the total votes cast, versus their counterparts in the Democrat and Republican parties, who are required to attain just 4%.

“Personally, it seems that our laws have been created to deny an Independent Candidate from advancing to the General Election, which is why we introduced Bill 254, so that there is a level playing field for individuals carrying different ideologies,” stated Senator Moylan. “We live in an era where entering public service should not necessarily be about which political party you follow or wish to follow, but it should be about what you offer or want to bring to the table. Parties play a valuable role in our society, but an individual who seeks to run without a political affiliation should be afforded the same rights to advance in an election as one who runs as a Republican or a Democrat,” added Senator Moylan.

Senator Moylan has stated that he will proudly continue to run as a Republican in the 2020 election, but hopes this bill, if passed, would encourage those individuals who are not comfortable in running under the banner of a political party to run as Independent Candidates.

“We are optimistic that this legislation will attract a number of great candidates for future elections,” added Senator Moylan.