For more than 30 years we registered voters on Guam, who cannot vote in the U.S. presidential election, have nonetheless found the names of the major party candidates on our ballot every four years.
This November 6th will be no exception. We’ll be able to select Democrats Obama, Barack and Biden, Joe; or Republicans Romney, Mitt and Ryan, Paul; or even Libertarian Party candidates Johnson, Gary and Gray, James. Johnson is a former Governor of New Mexico. The Libertarian Party has managed to get his name on almost all of the ballots in the 50 states as well as ours.
When it comes to the candidates of the major parties we actually have a very good track record. With one notable exception in the first year we did this, we’ve given a majority of our votes to the eventual winners every time. We favored Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in 1984, George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle in 1988, Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1992 and 1996, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in 2000 and 2004, and in 2008 we went for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
There is actually a good publicity reason for having this straw poll. We’re so far ahead of the rest of the country that if we count our straw votes expeditiously and send the outcome to the national media quickly, we can beat Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, whose dozen or so residents vote at midnight on Election Day to try and be the first in the nation to vote.
That’s three o’clock in the afternoon of the following day here on Guam. We’ve got a reasonable shot at getting our name and story in newspapers and television newscasts if we just package our result with a paragraph or two about Guam, and why we cannot actually vote for President, and send out the release right away, a few hours after our polls close. The story of how, although we’re American citizens, we have no say in the national election will get coverage. The story will resonate with media organizations everywhere.
It could backfire, of course, if we don’t go with the eventual winner. In 1980, the first year for our straw poll, we supported James E. Carter and Walter F. Mondale in their bid for re-election to a second term. Ronald Reagan ultimately defeated Jimmy Carter 49 states to one, causing the wry slogan: As Guam goes, so goes Georgia!
Nobody knows how it will go this year. The race is pretty tight, according to most polls, and that’s probably the case here as well. But if we go for Obama and Biden again, and Romney and Ryan go on to win nationally, we could look a little foolish. On the other hand, any publicity is good publicity when calling attention to our status and exclusion from the actual vote. So be sure to mark your ballot on November 6th for the President and Vice-President of the United States of America. Gary Johnson really needs your help.