Reeves v. United States (D.Hawaii)

The right to vote as an American should not depend on where you live—Reeves v. United States is a federal voting rights lawsuit that puts this principle to the test.

Under federal and state overseas voting laws, U.S. citizens living in certain U.S. territories or in a foreign country can vote for President and voting representation in Congress by absentee ballot. But citizens living in other U.S. territories cannot. Equally American has joined with six U.S. citizens  in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands to challenge federal and state laws that deny them absentee voting rights enjoyed by citizens literally anywhere else in the world (and even outer space!).  

Randy Reeves is an Air Force veteran who has lived in Guam for more than 20 years.  Randy was able to vote for President by absentee ballot while a civilian DOD contractor in Germany in the 1980s.  But later, when the Federal Aviation Administration transferred him from Hawaii to Guam, he lost his right to vote.  Yet other FAA colleagues who transferred from Hawaii to the Northern Mariana Islands can still vote for President by absentee ballot. Ben Borja, a Navy Veteran, served more than 28 years in the U.S. Armed Forces, yet cannot vote for his Commander-in-Chief simply because of where he lives.  Read more about Randy, Ben and other plaintiffs in the complaint.

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Under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and Hawaii's Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act (Hawaii UMOVA), a former resident of Hawaii who is now a resident of the Northern Mariana Islands or a foreign country can continue voting for President and voting representation in Congress in Hawaii by absentee ballot.  But plaintiffs – each former residents of Hawaii – have lost full enjoyment of their right to vote by virtue of living in Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The lawsuit is part of a broader effort to advocate for full voting rights for every U.S. Citizen, whether one lives in a State or Territory.

District Court Filings

October 8, 2020, Complaint, filed by the Reeves Plaintiffs.

Additional Resources and Advocacy Opportunities

  • Watch Senator Elizabeth Warren stand up for voting rights in U.S. territories and call the challenged discrimination "absurd" here.
  • Watch Equally American's President Neil Weare testify in support of territorial voting rights before Congress.
  • To show your support, sign our Equal Rights Petition now.
  • Learn about Equally American's previous voting rights case, Segovia v. United States here.
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