Call to delay election

The Supreme Court judges.

The RMI courts were asked Friday to either ensure that the postal absentee ballot system is used for next month’s national election or that the election be delayed to allow for an alternative system of voting to be used for the thousands of Marshallese voters living outside the RMI.

In an emergency motion filed last Friday, the Marshall Islands Supreme Court has been asked to revised its recently issued postal ballot ruling to eliminate its directive making the decision prospective after the November 18 national election, and to immediately return the matter to the High Court for action to ensure off-shore voters can vote next month.

Failing use of the postal absentee ballot system for the thousands of voters living in the US, plaintiffs Evelyn Konou and Anna Lehman said the High Court should delay the November 18 national election to allow for a system of voting that includes voters living in the United States.

They said it would be a “travesty of justice” if nearly one-third of all Marshallese voters are denied their constitutional right to vote in next month’s national election.

Konou and Lehman, through their attorney Tiantaake Beero-Sexton, filed an “emergency motion for rehearing/reconsideration” last Friday in Majuro.

The motion said that the Supreme Court’s determination that implementing postal ballots or some other system for off-island voters placed an unreasonable burden on government because the ruling came close to the election was an “untested proposition,” not based on evidence or facts.

They asked the Supreme Court to “remove the prospective applicability” of the recent decision and return the matter to the High Court for its determination of the RMI government’s ability or inability to conduct the November 18 national election using the postal absentee ballot system to ensure overseas voters are allowed their constitution right to participate in the election.

Read more of this story and related articles in the October 25 2019 edition.

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