Puerto Ricans in November face a simple ballot question: “Should Puerto Rico be immediately admitted into the Union as a state?”
The island territory, whose statehood has long been the subject of debate, has put the question on the ballot six times since 1967, but the movement has not garnered significant support. Proponents of the latest ballot question, which would trigger a nonbinding resolution whose language is unapproved by the Justice Department, hope that its straightforward wording will produce a different outcome.
The referendum comes after a 2017 vote on the same question, which, although it netted 97% support for statehood, only drove a 23% turnout. The result was contested because the Popular Democratic Party, the second-largest faction in Puerto Rico’s legislature, encouraged a boycott, claiming the vote was rigged by the New Progressive Party in favor of statehood.
Then-Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in a speech after the 2017 vote that the results show “the federal government