Puerto Rico Votes in Favor of Statehood
Via the Houston Chronicle: Puerto Rico votes on US ties and chooses governor
The two-part referendum first asked voters if they wanted to change Puerto Rico’s 114-year relationship with the United States. A second question gave voters three alternatives if they wanted a change: become a U.S. state, gain independence, or have a "sovereign free association," a designation that would give more autonomy for the territory of 4 million people.
With 243 of 1,643 precincts reporting late Tuesday, 75,188 voters, or 53 percent, said they did not want to continue under the current political status. Forty-seven percent, or 67,304 voters, supported the status quo.
On the second question, 65 percent favored statehood, followed by 31 percent for sovereign free association and 4 percent for independence.
Puerto Rico held non-binding referendums in 1967, 1993 and 1998, with statehood never garnering a clear majority and independence never obtaining more than 5 percent of the vote.
Now, what this actually means remains to be seen, but it does seem to suggest an important in Puerto Rican sentiment.
I must confess that I find the notion of citizens who lack key political rights (such as representation in the national legislature*) to be a bit odd, so see statehood as a good idea.
I have long thought, however, that statehood for PR as highly unlikely, because Republicans would likely see PR as a new Democratic state. However, the GOP clearly needs to find a way to cultivate Hispanic votes, and this might be a way. Beyond using it as a way to cultivate votes, the Republicans might have to worry about how opposition to PR statehood would play with other Hispanics already in existing states.
It would be interesting to watch for a variety of reasons.
h/t: Chris Lawrence’s FB page.
*That makes me think of something of significance in US history. Hmm, what was it?