2017 Puerto Rican Status Referendum, Explained

Written By Yuge Politics - March 19th, 2017

The political situation of Puerto Rico has once again led to the question of the territory’s status. Puerto Rico is once again going to head to the polls and vote for its status on June 11th, 2017 (See Update). This will be the fifth referendum held on Puerto Rico’s Status, with the latest being held in 2012. The options on the ballot are either Statehood or Independence/Free Association. Puerto Rico has been an unincorporated territory since 1898, and since then their has been many movements to either join the union or become an independent nation. If Puerto Rico whats to have statehood then they might want to make the questions less confusing and more straight-forward.

2012 Wasn’t Straightforward.

In 2012 Puerto Rico had a referendum on status, and on the ballot asked two questions. The first was whether or not Puerto Ricans would like to continue being a territory of the United States, which ended with 54% of the population not wanting to remain as a territory and 46% wanting to. The second question asked the political status that they would prefer if they voted to not remain a territory, and the results showed that of the people that voted in the second question that 61.11% preferred statehood, 33.34% preferred free association, and 5.55% preferred independence. This result was seen by illegitimate by Congress because almost half a million ballots were blank. The congress did however provide funds for a future referendum to be held. So their having another referendum, but why would Puerto Ricans even want statehood?

Money.

Main Points

Sources

Salon (1)

Politico (2)

The Hill (3)