In Advance of Midterms, Webseries Highlights 4 Million Disenfranchised Americans in U.S. Territories; National Press Silent as 165 MPH Storm Slams Pacific Territories

Untold America, a webseries by AJ+, just released a powerful new episode reminding the country that as the midterms approach, 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories continue to lack any voting representation in Congress and can’t even vote for President – even as these patriotic Americans serve in the military at rates exceeding any state. The episode explains how disenfranchisement in the territories is connected to issues like the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and restrictions on federal benefits provided to Americans in these communities, as well as a troubling history of racial discrimination against the residents of overseas territories.

“As the midterms approach, it’s important to remember that nearly 4 million Americans living in U.S. territories are completely disenfranchised when it comes to voting for President or voting representation in Congress,” said Neil Weare, President of Equally American, which advocates for equality for Americans living in U.S. territories. “This structural disenfranchisement has life and death consequences for Americans in these communities, whether it’s the insufficient federal response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma or artificial caps placed on federal healthcare spending in the territories.”

An earlier episode by Untold America told the story of Rodney Cruz, a veteran on Guam who believes that a lack of voting rights are one reason Guam veterans receive less medical spending per capita than in any state. Cruz leads Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific, a veterans organization that was represented by Equally American in Segovia v. United States, a federal lawsuit seeking to expand voting rights in U.S. territories that was recently denied review by the Supreme Court.

Super Typhoon Yutu Slams Two U.S. Territories, National Media Silent

Another under-reported story is that Super Typhoon Yutu, a category 5 storm with 165 mile per hour sustained winds, is currently slamming the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, two U.S. territories located in the western Pacific. While this is the strongest typhoon to hit these areas in 50 years, and is equally or even more powerful than any of the recent Hurricanes to hit the mainland United States, there has been little to no coverage by national media to date.

“Just as Americans in the territories are ignored when it comes to the right to vote and representation in the federal government, they are all too often ignored when it comes to natural disasters or other tragedies affecting their communities,” said Weare. “Our prayers are with the residents of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam at this time. Hopefully the federal government will learn from the shortcomings of its recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Maria and Irma to better serve the Americans in the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam impacted by Super Typhoon Yutu.”

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