Washington, D.C. – Official election night results released by the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission show that (with 81% of vote counted) 52.4% of Puerto Rico voters favored statehood in a referendum held concurrent with the local general elections. After 122 years under the U.S. flag, for the first time in history, the majority of the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have voted for statehood in a simple “YES” or “NO” question.
“Today, a clear and undisputable majority of voters in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico said ‘YES’ to the island’s immediate admission as a state of the Union. These historic results show that the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico want equality through statehood and a seat at the table in Washington when deciding America and Puerto Rico’s future. Now Congress has a moral and political duty to respect the will of the people, and to begin advancing federal legislation to implement statehood for Puerto Rico,” said George Laws García, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Statehood Council.
After the vote Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives Hon. Jenniffer González-Colón stated, “I believe that the people of Puerto Rico assessed the importance of the statehood issue. The result is a clear mandate, so starting now I will push to move this in Washington.”
“As Washington begins to prepare for a new session of Congress next January, the issue of equality and full voting rights for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood has to be a high priority in the national agenda. Now, it’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ Puerto Rico will become a state, but ‘when’ it will become a state. For voters on the Island, the answer is simple, it should happen immediately,” concluded Laws García.
This vote marks the third time in less than a decade where the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have rejected the current territory status and called on Congress to grant them full equality and voting rights under statehood.
The last two votes were held in 2012 and 2017, both of which resulted in electoral victories for statehood among multiple status options. Tuesday’s plebiscite was different, however, asking “Should Puerto Rico should be immediately admitted into the Union as a State?” This gave everyone a chance to voice their opinion directly on the issue of statehood; those who oppose statehood, for any reason, had the opportunity to vote “No”, while those who favor statehood had the opportunity to vote “Yes.”
For more context regarding Tuesday’s vote, please refer to our Fact Sheet on the Historic Importance of Puerto Rico’s 2020 Plebiscite.
The Puerto Rico Statehood Council is a Washington, D.C. based, non-partisan, 501(c)4 non-profit issue advocacy organization. We are dedicated to advancing the goal of equality for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico through statehood. To learn more please visit our website at: www.PR51st.com.