Among all of the re-election cries of both joy and concern, the media overlooked one very important vote. Puerto Rico’s vote on the referendum for statehood. Since 1898 Puerto Rico has been part of the Commonwealth of the United States. This allows for a small delegation in congress without voting privileges.
The relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States has sparked debate nationally and even globally. The issue revolves around whether Puerto Rico should remain a U.S. territory, become a U.S. state, or break off and form an independent nation.
On Tuesday their ballot contained two questions regarding the current “territory” status of Puerto Rico. The first question asked if they favor the current status of Puerto Rico. Fifty-four percent of voters responded no, signifying their discontent. The second question gave voters three choices statehood, independence, or “sovereign free association,” which would give the 4 million island residents more independence. Only 1.3 million voters chose to answer this final question. Of those, sixty-one percent chose statehood. Although this is a majority response, 500,000 voters chose to leave this question blank. With such a great number of voters refusing to make the choice, did statehood really win? Congress will have to react to the election results themselves, but for the first time a 51stseems like a great possibility.