The question of whether off-island Marshallese would get to vote through some absentee ballot procedure was laid to rest Tuesday this week when the RMI Supreme Court rejected an “emergency motion for rehearing/reconsideration” of the Supreme Court’s decision in early October. The earlier opinion said although Nitijela Law 2016-28 is unconstitutional by eliminating postal absentee ballot rights, it was too close to the November 18 election for an absentee system to be reasonably implemented. The Supreme Court made the decision effective after the November 18 election.
Evelyn Konou and Anna Lehman, who had filed one of two lawsuits challenging the Nitijela ban on postal ballots earlier this year, asked the Supreme Court through their attorney Tiantaake Beero-Sexton to reconsider its decision to make the ruling “prospective” after November 18.
“Plaintiffs’ argument poses the wrong question, ignores the realities of the procedural posture of this case and further ignores foundational principles of separation of powers,” said the Supreme Court. “We reject plaintiffs’ argument.”
The Supreme Court said it was a common-sense observation that there was insufficient time for the RMI government to develop some system for absentee voting between the October 9 issuance of the Supreme Court ruling and the November 18 national election.
Read more of this story and related articles in the Marshall Islands Journal’s November 1, 2019 edition. Subscribe by going to the home page and clicking on the subscribe advertisement or go to PayPal and pay $57 using the editor’s email giff @ ntamar.net (no spaces).