Governor Vazquez Calls for “Yes or No” Referendum

Although she has said that statehood is not a priority for her government, Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced has also said that she favors statehood and will hold a new status vote if her party decides that should be done. A new plebiscite will include two choices: yes to statehood or no to statehood.

Vazquez favors statehood. “No people in the world deserve to be treated unequally,” she said.

Another referendum

Puerto Rico has held five status votes since 1967.  The independence option has never received more than 5.5% of the vote in any plebiscite.

The “commonwealth” option won in 1967, with 60.4% of the voters. This option had a plurality, though not majority, in 1993, with 48.6% of the votes. In 1998, the winning option was “none of the above,” which the “commonwealth” party took as a win. However, the U.S. government has consistently rejected the “commonwealth” option. The Department of Justice will not allow this option on any federally-funded plebiscite, because it is not a viable option under the U.S. Constitution. The “enhanced commonwealth” option has not been on the ballot since 1993.

As recently as 2018, the Department of Justice made this statement:”Presidential task force reports in 2005, 2007, and 2011 have likewise confirmed that Puerto Rico is not a sovereign and that it could become one only if it were to attain statehood or become an independent nation.”

Justice Department Explains Rejection of Plebiscite Ballot

Therefore, “commonwealth” is not an option, even if Puerto Rico voters want it.

In 2012, 54% of voters rejected the current territorial status, and 61% chose statehood from the viable status options.

In 2017, 97% of voters chose statehood.

Although it appears that Puerto Rico voters have chosen statehood, protesters have been successful in creating enough confusion and uncertainty about the 21st century plebiscites that many political leaders are calling for a new referendum.

Federal funds have been set aside to hold the plebiscite and to prepare educational materials for the vote.

Yes or no

Each plebiscite’s ballot has been quite different from the one before. One form of the vote has not yet been tried: a yes or no vote on statehood.

This is the type of vote taken in Hawaii and Alaska, the two most recent territories to become States. It is also the simplest choice.

The Department of Justice has taken the position that any ballot presenting options must include the current territorial option. This has created confusion in the past, since a vote for remaining a territory seems to some voters like a vote for “enhanced commonwealth.”

Since so few votes have ever been cast for independence and “enhanced commonwealth” has been rejected by the U.S. government, the real options are statehood or continuing as a territory. However, the “commonwealth” party and the Independence Party both demand a place on the ballot. Former Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla went so far as to claim that “commonwealth” supporters were “disenfranchised” when the imaginary “enhanced commonwealth” option was not on the ballot.

Governor Vazquez disagrees. She explained that a “Statehood: Yes or No” plebiscite would be democratic because, although the ballot will only present one status option, anyone who does not support statehood can vote “no.”

”Thus,” she said, “we will clarify the controversy.”

6 Comments

Dennis Freytes

2. Under the US Constitution, there are only four major ways of government under the sovereignty of the US-Federal Government– one for States, Territories, District of Columbia, and Indian Tribes. The US Congress can rescind any Laws it makes… But, it’s not above the US Constitution to create a new Status… “Commonwealth” or ELA-“Free Associate State” (Estado Libre Asociado”) are political distorted terms that are not found in the US Constitution; cause confusion and fool people as to the true PR Status which is–“US Territory”. However, the Federal Government can name or dress-up its Territories, but, this is not a Status, just a political name that hides the true Constitutional Status.

Bettencourt

I heard on a TV Show that “one” of the reasons why Alaska and Hawaii became states was because one was going to be Democrat and the other Republican to balance things out. PR is clearly a Democrat territory and DC is also Democrat- this is not going anywhere- INCORPORATE first
The Yes and No to statehood is a GOOD first move

generoman

You might want to recheck your historical records Sr./Sra. Bettencourt.

When I was reaching my graduate thesis, I discovered that one of the obstacles to statehood for Hawaii and Alaska was the threat to they posed to political control of the Senate and the House. The republicans feared that Alaska would elect only democrats and the Hawaii would elect a republican delegation to Congress.

What developed since their incorporation? Alaska has a republican delegation and Hawaii sends democrats to Washington.

I don’t believe that this is something that can be predicted.
Puerto Ricans have elected governors and congressional representatives who identified with both democrats and republicans on a national level. (Ferre, Cordova Diaz & Fortuno for the republicans and Munoz Marin, Rossello the father and son, and Corrada del Rio for the democrats.

And the the local legislature includes active members of both the democratic and republican parties.

If I can the link to the evidence describing the transition to full incorporation for Hawaii and Alaska, I will post it.

generoman

You might want to recheck your historical records Sr./Sra. Bettencourt.

When I was researching my graduate thesis, I discovered that one of the obstacles to statehood for Hawaii and Alaska was the threat they posed to political control of the Senate and the House. The republicans feared that Alaska would elect only democrats and the Hawaii would elect a republican delegation to Congress.

What developed since their incorporation? Alaska has a republican delegation and Hawaii sends democrats to Washington.

Puerto Ricans have elected governors and congressional representatives who identified with both democrats and republicans on a national level. (Ferre, Cordova Diaz & Fortuno for the republicans and Munoz Marin, Rossello the father and son, and Corrada del Rio for the democrats.

And the the local legislature includes active members of both the democratic and republican parties.

So, I don’t think you can predict the politics of a congressional delegation with any certainty.

If I can the link to the evidence describing the transition to full incorporation for Hawaii and Alaska, I will post it.

Bettencourt

Stand corrected, you guys know your history, but I feel that this will go on forever and none of these politicians (in PR or Mainland) are fully committed to the cause. I just dream of seeing PR as State or incorporated territory. Hope some day becomes a reality.

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