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SAN JUAN (Reuters) - An official count of votes for Puerto Rico's plebiscite on Sunday showed overwhelming support for U.S. statehood, although adding another star to the U.S. flag would likely face an uphill battle in Congress.
A government website for the status referendum, Puerto Rico's fifth since 1967, showed 97 percent of roughly 485,000 votes counted so far in favor of becoming the 51st U.S. state.
Votes - Outcome - Puerto - Rico - Label
Votes were still being counted and the expected outcome is unlikely to change Puerto Rico's label as a U.S. territory, a move that would require an act of the U.S. Congress.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello campaigned for the island's 2.2 million eligible voters to select statehood as the best avenue to boost future growth for the struggling island.
Island - Debt - Poverty - Rate - Schools
The island has $70 billion in debt, a 45-percent poverty rate, woefully underperforming schools, and near-insolvent pension and health systems.
Puerto Rico's hazy political status, dating back to its 1898 acquisition by the United States from Spain, has contributed to the economic crisis that pushed it last month into the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Statehood - Armando - Abreu - Retiree
"I voted for statehood," Armando Abreu, a 74-year-old retiree, said after voting at the...
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