Plebiscite Bill Passes, Defining Options

A proposal to hold a status plebiscite vote on June 11, 2017 has been enacted into law in Puerto Rico.

The stated goals of the new law are to establish the “[i]mmediate decolonization of Puerto Rico,” and implement a 2014 federal law that provides $2.5 million to support a vote on status with options pre-approved by the U.S. Justice Department.  According to the 2014 law, those options much be “final, permanent, neither colonial nor territorial, compatible with the Constitution, laws and policies of the United States and with international law[.]”

The options on the ballot will be as follows, with the specified wording:

Statehood

With my vote, I reiterate my request to the Federal Government to immediately begin the process fro the decolonization of Puerto Rico with the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the United States of America. I am aware that the result of this request for Statehood would entail equal rights and duties with the other states, and the permanent union of Puerto Rico with the United States of America. I am also aware that my vote claiming Statehood means my support to all efforts towards the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the Union, and to all state or federal legislation aimed at establishing equal conditions, Congressional Representation and the Presidential Vote for the American Citizens of Puerto Rico. I am aware that Statehood is the only option that guarantees American citizenship by birth in Puerto Rico.

Free Association/Independence

With my vote, I make the initial request to the Federal Government to begin the process of decolonization through:

(1) Free Association: Puerto Rico should adopt a status outside of the Territory Clause of the Constitution of the United States that recognizes the Sovereignty of the People of Puerto Rico. The Free Association would be based n a free and voluntary political association, the specific terms of which shall be agreed upon between the United States and Puerto Rico as sovereign nations Such agreement would provide the scope of the jurisdictional powers that the People of Puerto Rico agree to confer to the United States and retain all other jurisdictional powers and authorities. Under this option the American citizenship would be subject to negotiation with the United States Government;

(2) Proclamation of Independence, I demand that the United States Government, in the exercise of its power to dispose of a territory, recognize the national sovereignty of Puerto Rico as a completely independent nation and the the United States Congress enact the necessary legislation to initiate the negotiation and transition to the independent nation of Puerto Rico. My vote for Independence also represents my claim to the rights, duties, powers, and prerogatives of independent and democratic republics, my support of Puerto Rican citizenship, and a “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” between Puerto Rico and the United States after the transition process.

The bill specifies that blank ballots, ballots with more than one option chosen, and ballots with notes or markings outside of the official area will not be counted.

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