On July 10, the Guam legislature passed Bill 287, which moves the territory’s general election presidential vote from November, to the Guam primary. This year, the Guam primary is on Saturday, September 6. The Governor has until July 24 to sign or veto the bill. If it becomes law, it takes effect this year.
Guam has been voting for president in the general election starting in 1980. Because Guam has no electoral votes, the vote is merely a “straw vote”. Guam has been holding a general election for president in order to draw attention to the fact that the residents of Guam are U.S. citizens, and they must obey the laws passed in Washington, yet they have neither a voting member of Congress, nor any meaningful presidential vote.
The preamble to Bill Number 287 says that the U.S. media never report the Guam presidential vote, which is true. The bill’s preamble says, “It is therefore the intent of I Liheslatura to move the ‘straw poll’ for President and Vice-President from the general election to the primary election so that Guam’s choice for our nation’s highest leaders will be known in advance of the national general election, and draw attention to the continued disenfranchisement of the American citizens living in the American territory of Guam.”
Guam is the only colonial possession of the U.S. to have ever held a general election vote for president. The Puerto Rico legislature passed a similar measure some years ago, but the Puerto Rican Supreme Court ruled that the measure violates the Puerto Rico Constitution.
Presidential candidates get on the Guam general election presidential ballot by showing that they are on the ballot in at least one state, and by writing a letter to the Guam Election Commission. In 2004 the only candidates on the Guam ballot were Bush, Kerry, Nader and Badnarik.