WASHINGTON, D.C.-Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) re-introduced yesterday legislation providing the full protection of federal election law to the Northern Marianas and other U.S. insular areas.
“The people of the Northern Marianas deserve to have their elections protected by the same laws that safeguard elections and voters everywhere in our nation,” Sablan said. “Voters in the Marianas deserve to be protected from intimidation, threats, or coercion, when they cast their ballots in elections. And voters deserve to know that elections for federal office will not be manipulated by public officials. My legislation would extend those federal laws that provide these protections.”
Among the six amendments to federal law in Sablan's bill is the inclusion of the Northern Marianas in the prohibition against aliens voting. A fine and imprisonment up to one year are the penalties for violating this federal law.
Sablan's measure also makes sure that persons employed in federal or territorial government offices are barred from using their official authority to interfere with the nomination or election process for any federal office. The penalty for violation is a fine or up to one year in prison.
The same bill was previously introduced in the 112th Congress, but no action was taken by the House committees on the Judiciary and House Administration, to which it was referred.
In this Congress there may be heightened interest in amending federal election laws. Sablan is an original co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, H.R. 12, which has significant support. President Obama also raised concerns about the voting process in his State of the Union address in February. (PR)