New Federal Voting Rights Lawsuit In the Works
Celebrate July 4th by Taking the “Right to Vote” Survey!
For immediate release, July 1, 2014: Should the right of a U.S. citizen to vote for President be based on where you live? That is the question that will be taken up in a new federal lawsuit being developed by We the People Project, a non-profit that fights for the day residents of Guam and other U.S. territories are treated as full and equal members of We the People. The question has particular relevance as Guam prepares to commemorate July 4th and Liberation Day, two holidays that celebrate the importance of freedom and democracy.
“It’s simple – the right to vote for President should not depend on where you live. That’s not how democracy is supposed to work,” said Attorney Neil Weare, President and Founder of We the People Project. Weare continued: “Guam’s sons and daughters proudly serve in uniform to defend democracy overseas; they should have the right to fully participate in democracy at home.” Weare is a 1998 graduate of Southern High School and represented Guam in the 2004 Athens Olympics. His parents, Dr. William and Nancy Weare, have lived in Guam for the past 25 years.
People born in Guam have been recognized as U.S. citizens since 1950. Yet while approximately 10,000 veterans call Guam home, they are unable to vote for the Commander-in-Chief and are denied voting representation in Congress.
“So long as Guam is part of the United States and residents of Guam are U.S. citizens, we should enjoy equal rights, including the right to vote for President,” said Attorney Leevin Camacho, who is part of the team of attorneys working to develop the case. “This new federal lawsuit will argue for expanded voting rights while leaving open the question of Guam’s future political status and self-determination,” Camacho added.
We the People Project is putting out the call for residents of Guam and other U.S. territories who wish they could vote for President but can’t because of where they live.
“This July 4th weekend, celebrate freedom and democracy by taking our “Right to Vote” survey. It’s easy, quick, and will help make the case that the right to vote for President shouldn’t be based on where you live,” Weare said.
The “Right to Vote” survey is available online at http://www.equalrightsnow.org/rtv_survey_guam. Media outlets are encouraged to share the survey in order to help spread the word. Print outlets are especially encouraged to publish the survey in order to help make sure those without internet access are able to share their story and take part in this important effort (see digital copy attached and here). People without internet access or those who prefer to complete the form in person can also contact the Law Office of Leevin Camacho, 194 Hernan Cortez Ave., Ste 216, Hagåtña, GU, 477-8894/5.
Every resident of Guam is encouraged to take the survey, particularly those in Guam’s veterans and active duty service communities. Already more than 1,000 residents of Guam and other U.S. territories have completed the survey. We the People Project now hopes to reach 2,000 responses by the end of the summer so that it can file the case in the fall.
We the People Project is also recruiting current law students from Guam to help develop the case as Legal Fellows. Current college students or recent college graduates area also encouraged to apply to serve as Organizing Fellows. Interested students can sign up at http://www.equalrightsnow.org/volunteer or contact We the People Project President Neil Weare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising for the case is also a priority. Through pro bono partnerships with attorneys and law firms, We the People Project is able to leverage every $25 it receives in donations into over $250 of impact. Those interested in providing financial support for the case can do so by contributing online at www.equalrightsnow.org/take_action.
More details about the case will be released once the case is filed.
Interviews with Attorneys Neil Weare and Leevin Camacho available this week by request.