A little over a month after the island effectively filed for bankruptcy protection, Puerto Ricans have voted overwhelmingly for statehood in a nonbinding referendum that was marred by low voter turnout.
Nearly half a million votes were cast for statehood, more than 7,600 for free association/independence and nearly 6,700 for independence, according to preliminary results. The participation rate was just 23 percent with roughly 2.26 million registered voters, prompting opponents to question the validity of a vote that several parties had boycotted, Fox News reported.
Level - Participation - Election - Puerto - Rico
It was the lowest level of participation in any election in Puerto Rico since 1967, according to Carlos Vargas Ramos, an associate with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York. He also said that even among voters who supported statehood, turnout was lower this year compared with the last referendum in 2012.
"Supporters of statehood did not seem enthusiastic about this plebiscite as they were five years ago," he said.
Vote - US - Congress - Say - Puerto
The vote is nonbinding: The US Congress has the final say on Puerto Rio’s status, and there’s little support for taking on the economically-troubled island as a full member of the union.
That reality was apparently lost on Gov. Ricardo Rossello, the island’s governor, who accused Washington DC of hypocrisy in not honoring the will of the Puerto Rican people as expressed through...
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