Thursday, March 12, 2015

John Oliver on why U.S. territories don’t have full voting rights

Link to article/video

John Oliver and his news team have done their homework on this issue, and he presented it in his "Last Week Tonight" on Sunday.

Oliver explained that the 4 million people that live in American territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas) are Americans, but they can't vote in presidential elections and don't have a voting representative in Congress.

The reason cited for their lack of voting rights is the same reason given from the 1901 court decision, which basically said that the native people of these islands aren't capable of understanding white people's laws, so the Constitution doesn't really apply to them. This ridiculously outdated principle is still cited today.

So do you think restricting their voting rights is fair? What about representation in government? Currently territories are allowed one non-voting member in the house of representatives and no senators. Which issue do you think should be prioritized, if any?

1 comment:

Angelia Fontanos said...

Well, if people in the US territories are subject to US law, I think that it would be unfair to restrict their rights, since they are affected by our laws. Same thing with government representation. If the government is going to subject the US territories to federal law, they should have representation in government so that the territories have some say in what we turn into laws.
If voting rights or representation had to be prioritized, I would go with prioritizing voting rights. Yes, representation is important too, but if representation for the territories were to happen, it would be fifty (more populated) states against five territories. I think prioritizing voting rights for the people of these territories is a better idea.