Legislation in US Congress to allow vote for president by US territories
Another move is afoot in the US Congress that would give residents of the US territories, including American Samoa, the right to vote for the President of the United States in national elections held every four years.
The latest action is through federal legislation, H.J. Res. 91, sponsored and introduced Mar. 23 in the US House by US Virgin Island Congresswoman Stacey E. Plaskett, according to Congressional records.
The measure, assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary, seeks to amend the US Constitution regarding Presidential election voting rights for residents of the US territories.
Speaking at a ceremony last weekend marking the Virgin Islands’ 100-year relationship with the U.S., Plaskett said the bill she introduced, if approved, would give Virgin Islanders and other residents of U.S. territories the right to vote for president, reports the St. Thomas Resource publication.
Central to the issues raised by Plaskett, American Samoa is the only place in the U.S. where citizenship is not granted to people at birth if neither of their parents is already a citizen. In the other four unincorporated territories, including the Virgin Islands, people born in the territory automatically become a citizen, according to the publication.
Samoa News notes that persons born in American Samoa are US nationals.
Among the dignitaries at the Centennial celebration was American Samoa’s Congresswoman Aumua Amata, who read a congratulatory statement to Virgin Islanders, from US House Speaker Paul Ryan.
While American Samoa and other US territories cannot vote in national election for the president, residents however, have a voice when it comes to selecting a presidential candidate. For example, last year caucuses were held in the territories to select the Republican and Democrat candidates.
In American Samoa, the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won, and for the Republican, it was Donald J. Trump, who is now President, after defeating Clinton in the November election.