Puerto Rico’s Six Status Votes

2020 plebiscite results

Statehood clearly won the 2020 plebiscite, with over 52% of the vote: a clear majority of voters said “Yes” to statehood. Voters also had the option of saying “No” to statehood, and a minority of voters did so.

This was the sixth plebiscite. Statehood was also the winner in the 2012 and 2017 votes.

Let’s look at all six of the plebiscites.

Total votes

First, just consider the total number of votes for statehood each time. The graph below shows how many voters chose statehood in each referendum.

We can see that far more people voted for statehood in the 1990s than in 1967. This reflects an increase in the population as well as a rise in the popularity of statehood as it became clear that “enhanced commonwealth” was a fantasy rather than a viable option.

In 2012, even more voters chose statehood.

In 2017, the population had fallen (from 3.6 million to 3.2 million), there was a boycott by anti-statehood factions, and strong confidence that statehood would win even without full participation.  Naturally, the total number of votes was lower.

The most recent plebiscite shows almost 100,000 more votes for statehood than in 2017.

 

Percentages

The chart below shows the percentages of votes: what proportion of voters chose statehood in each referendum.

We can see that the percentage increased each time between 1967 and 2017. Since this is the percentage of votes for statehood, not the total votes cast, the population doesn’t affect these numbers. A growing awareness that “enhanced commonwealth” is a fantasy along with recognition that statehood provides equality led to increased support for statehood.

In 2017, 97 percent of voters chose statehood. Since the anti-statehood factions called for a boycott (and we all know that nobody boycotts a vote they can win), it is natural that few votes were cast for other options.

In this year’s referendum, with active campaigns for the “No” vote, statehood still got a clear majority. Every vote in the 21st century has shown that most Puerto Rico voters want statehood.

Statehood has won repeatedly in Puerto Rico. Talk of “self-determination” or “all options” is an effort to ignore the facts. The facts, as you can see here, show changes and complications over the years. Puerto Rico has not had an easy time of it, and we are not trying to oversimplify the situation. Instead, we are showing all the facts — and that shows that statehood is the choice of Puerto Rico.

The next step is for Congress to admit Puerto Rico as a state.

 

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