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NMI, other territories should be able to vote in US presidential elections, says governor

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THE U.S. president is chosen by an electoral college whose members are selected by voters in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

U.S. citizens who are registered voters in territories cannot  vote in presidential elections, but that could change in the future, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said during a press briefing on Friday.

All qualified American voters, even if they live and reside in the CNMI or the other territories, should be able to vote for their presidential candidate of choice, he said. 

“At the end of the day, we would like to have our voice and our vote counted in U.S. [presidential elections],” he added.

He said this is one of the reasons why the CNMI does participate in the national Democratic and Republican conventions on the mainland U.S.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres delivers his remarks during a groundbreaking ceremony in As Perdido on Friday. Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

In a separate interview, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said, “I think that after 42 years of being part of the American family, the Commonwealth’s U.S. citizens should be given the privilege to vote for the president of…our nation.”

He added, “That’s the same sentiment we hear from the other territories: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

He hopes that one day, the U.S. Congress can “get that done.”

Guam, for its part, has been holding a non-binding straw poll for president on the day of the U.S. general elections.

Some CNMI voters interviewed by Variety are hoping that they could participate in a similar straw poll.

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