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Sat Dec 31, 2016, 09:47 AM

US Virgin Islanders Should Continue Fight For Full U.S. Citizenship In 2017

As the U.S. Virgin Islands commemorates 100 years as part of the United States, and its residents U.S. citizens, Virgin Islanders should be able to vote for President and have voting representation in Congress. In 2017, one of our New Year’s resolutions during this centennial year should be to fight for recognition of the right to vote, wherever you live.

Together, over 4 million U.S. citizens live in the Territories, a population greater than nearly half the States. Yet while these Americans have a proud history of military service, pay billions in federal taxes, and are required to follow restrictive federal laws, the only political participation that is afforded is in the form of non-voting Delegates to Congress.

Failure to advance the issue of voting rights for residents of the Territories during this centennial year would be a tremendous missed opportunity.

A bi-partisan consensus is beginning to form in support of territorial voting rights at a national level. The 2016 Republican Platform declares: “We welcome their greater participation in all aspects of the political process and affirm their right to seek the full extension of the Constitution with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.” And the 2016 Democratic Platform provides: “All Americans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws, just as they should be treated equally. And all American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the President of the United States.” President-elect Donald Trump has also made a powerful statement to Americans in the Territories, saying it is time to “restore equality and fairness to all citizens, especially those that have been ignored for too long.”

Read more: http://viconsortium.com/top-stories/us-virgin-islanders-should-continue-fight-for-full-u-s-citizenship-in-2017/

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