We are seeing claims in social media that Puerto Rico has voted against statehood. Here are some examples:
We believe in free speech and are always happy to see different points of view. In this case, however, we are not talking about different points of view. We’re talking about facts. These commenters are mistaken.
Fact: Puerto Rico has voted for statehood in every referendum during this century
Puerto Rico has held status votes several times during the 21st century. Here are the results of those votes:
- 2012: 61% chose statehood from the viable options
- 2017: 97% chose statehood
- 2020: 52.52% chose statehood
The referenda were structured differently and the opposition chose different strategies to try to discredit the votes, but there was a clear majority in favor of statehood in each case.
Statehood supporters are happy to have more votes on the subject of Puerto Rico’s political status. It is clear that the majority favor statehood. Research has shown that people with more information are more likely to choose statehood. Statehood supporters have nothing to gain from sowing confusion.
Opponents of statehood have no other options: discrediting the democratically expressed preferences of Puerto Rico’s voters is the only strategy available to them.
Fact: Puerto Rico has officially requested statehood
The territory of Puerto Rico has officially requested statehood from Congress. There is currently a statehood bill in the House, as well as a general Puerto Rico Status Bill.
Puerto Rico has done what is required of territories that want statehood. Now it is up to Congress.
However, Puerto Rico has very limited representation in Congress. Rather than the four or five Members of the House and two Senators Puerto Rico would have as a state, the Island has just one representative. The Resident Commissioner, Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, cannot vote on the floor of the House. There are no representatives of Puerto Rico in the Senate.
For this reason, Puerto Rico needs the help of people living in the states. If you live in a state, please reach out to your representatives. Please ask your friends and family living in the states to do the same. Only with the voices of stateside voters can Puerto Rico expect to get the attention of Congress.