Puerto Rico Statehood Vote Could Make Territory 51st State
Both Republicans and Democrats will be focused on one result of the election this year that will not include the two men running for office; instead, their focus will be concentrated on the vote to see if Puerto Rico will become the 51st state.
This is not the first time that the U.S. territory has voted on statehood, but it is been given much attention due to the change it can bring to the congress. The statehood votes that failed in the past happened in 1967, 1993, and 1998.
Should Puerto Rico be voted into the union, then they would bring along with them two senators and at least one representative, which could shift the balance of the congress one way or the other.
The constitution does not really specify exactly how a territory becomes a state, but in Article IV, Section 3, power is given to congress to decide to bring a measure that would put the issue of statehood to a vote.
Puerto Rico residents are American citizens with every right inherently given except two: the right to vote and the right for voting representation.
"The question that everyone in America should ask themselves is, if these American men and women having actually contributed in so many ways, including with their lives to our nation," said Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico's Governor, according to ABC.
But this particular vote is not exactly straightforward; the vote is divided into two parts. The first part asks voters if they want to remain a U.S. territory. The second part then asks voters to choose which three options they prefer: do they wish to remain a territory, do they want to become an independent country or do they want to become the 51st state.
Whatever the outcome, Fortuno feels strongly that the people of Puerto Rico have earned the right to decide for themselves.
"Don't they deserve to express themselves and tell us whether they want to remain a territory or become an independent republic or become a state with all the obligations and benefits of American citizens residing elsewhere," Fortuno said.
The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6.