Puerto Rico Votes for Statehood

On Sunday, Puerto Ricans went to the polls with a three-option vote – remain a territory try to independence or try to statehood. The vote for statehood was overwhelming at 97%. It’s far from a done deal and it’s possible that the Republican-controlled Congress could block the move since Puerto Rico is largely Democrat and making them a state would add more Democrats to both the Senate and House.

On Sunday, the people of Puerto Rico went to the polls and cast their ballots for change.

Sunday’s ballot gave voters three options:

  1. Everything stays the same. Puerto Rico remains a territory of the United States and the people of the territory continue to receive most of the rights and benefits of being Americans, without being asked to pay federal income tax. Also, while Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico cannot vote for President and do not have “voting” representation in Congress – they are actually U.S. citizens and if they move to the mainland they do get to vote and they are asked to pay federal income tax.
  2. Puerto Rico asks for Independence. This would see Puerto Rico sever ties to the United States and the island would become an independent nation.
  3. Puerto Rico asks for statehood. This last option would see Puerto Rico push for statehood, making the island the 51st American state. Puerto Rico leans left and would likely offer the Democrats 2 more Senators, plus a few Congressmen (the population of Puerto Rico means they would be entitled to about 5 Representatives to the House).

The vote was overwhelmingly won by supporters of the 3rd option. 97% of the Puerto Ricans who voted on Sunday, voted for their island home to become the 51st American state. It was a huge victory for statehood supporters, but sadly, it comes with a pretty big caveat

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Another huge problem with allowing Puerto Rico to become a state is that they are in severe financial trouble and becoming a state would mean the federal government would have to send millions, perhaps billions of dollars to bail them out, whereas they don’t have to be as financially supportive to a territory. In the long run, making Puerto Rico a state will be costly to Republicans and to the United States.

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