Skip to content

Presidential Primaries in Puerto Rico

Residents of Puerto Rico cannot vote in presidential elections, but they do vote in presidential primaries. April 2024 brings both the Democratic and Republican primaries to the Island.

Primary elections send delegates to the national political parties’ conventions, where a single candidate is chosen for each party. That candidate will be the nominee for the party. In general, the delegates represent their state or territory, and vote the way their state or territory voted. The primaries give Puerto Rico voters a say in the choice of candidates for the presidential race.

Both Puerto Rico primaries are open. Any registered voter can vote in either of the primaries, though not in both.

The Republican primary

The Republican primary is scheduled for April 21st. Candidates on the ballot, according to Ballotpedia, are Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Donald Trump. Ron DeSantis has suspended his election campaign.

Puerto Rico sends 20 pledged delegates and 3 superdelegates to the Republican National Convention, for a total of 23 delegates. The pledged delegates must vote for the most popular candidate if he or she received 50% of the vote. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote, the pledged delegates’ votes are distributed proportionately.

The Democratic primary

The Democratic primary is scheduled for April 28th. Candidates, again according to Ballotpedia, are Joe Biden, Dean Phillips, and Marianne Williamson. Williamson has suspended her election campaign.

The leader of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party, Charlie Rodriguez, told El Nuevo Dia that the primary might be canceled. If Mr. Biden is the only Democratic candidate remaining by April 28th, he said, delegates might be chosen by an alternative method.

Puerto Rico sends 55 pledged delegates and five superdelegates to the national convention, for a total of 60 delegates. The pledged delegates must vote for the candidate with the largest number of primary votes.

Why can’t Puerto Rico vote in presidential elections?

The President of the United States is not elected in a direct popular vote. Instead, each state chooses electors and the electors choose the president.

The Electoral College and Puerto Rico

Basically, states vote for the president. Puerto Rico is not a state. Therefore, U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico cannot vote for president, even though they are subject to U.S. laws.  This is true for people born in states but have moved to Puerto Rico as well as for people born in Puerto Rico and living there. People born in Puerto Rico can vote in presidential elections if they move to a state. If Puerto Rico becomes a state, U.S. citizens living there will automatically get the vote.

In the meantime, the presidential primaries give Puerto Rico voters their only chance to influence presidential elections.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our Magazine, and enjoy exclusive benefits

Subscribe to the online magazine and enjoy exclusive benefits and premiums.

[wpforms id=”133″]