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The Marshall Islands Government has welcomed the Supreme Court Opinion, and looks forward to working with the future Cabinet, Nitijela and stakeholders of the Marshall Islands to address any necessary technical clarifications in the existing law, as well as to evaluate practical policy options to ensure appropriate measures for overseas Marshallese citizens, which both meet the court’s criteria, and also achieve effective election security.
The Supreme Court has clearly found that there is no constitutional right to a postal ballot or any other specific measure of voting for qualified voters residing overseas. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court determined that the existing amended election law, as passed by Nitijela, is unconstitutional and that additional steps are needed to address overseas registered voters - without requiring any particular “method” of voting, in order for them to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
The Supreme Court also stated that its decision will not affect the19 November election. As a result, the November election will proceed as planned, based on the current law and with existing restrictions on postal ballots, a government statement said.
The Marshall Islands Supreme Court issued its “opinion on removed question” in Civil Actions 2019-46 and 2019-69, commonly known as the “postal ballot” cases. These matters have been sent back to the High Court for further proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion. These cases are not appeals, but rather the referral from the High Court to the Supreme Court to address questions sent to it. The statement represents the Government’s initial response, even as lawyers continue to review the details of Supreme Court’s opinion.
SOURCE: MARSHALL ISLANDS GOVT/PACNEWS
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