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Should Commonwealth Be on the Ballot?

Puerto Rico held status votes in 1967, 1993, 19982012, and 2017, which gave Puerto Rican voters the choice over whether their Island should remain a U.S. territory or change its relationship with the U.S.

A new status vote has been scheduled for November 3, 2020.

A thread runs through all discussions of Puerto Rico plebiscites: should “commonwealth” be on the ballot?

What’s a commonwealth?

A “commonwealth” option was on the ballot in 1967 and 1993, and this choice won a majority of votes in 1967. The problem is, the meaning of “commonwealth” is and always has been unclear.  In fact, the definition has changed over time.

The “commonwealth” ballot option had a different meaning in 1967 than it did in 1993, and influential decisionmakers in Congress, as well as Republican and Democratic Presidents, have all indicated that “commonwealth” – often called “Enhanced Commonwealth” or “Developed Commonwealth” – is dead on arrival for Constitutional and practical reasons.

See original text from the 1967, 1993 and 1998 ballots here.

The 1967 and 1993 ballots defined identical “commonwealth” options differently, and the 1998 ballot did not include “commonwealth” at all but did include Puerto Rico’s current status as a U.S. territory.  The territory option received .1% of the vote and a nebulous “none of the above” option received over 50% of the vote.

In the 21st century, the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) – also known as the Commonwealth Party – has been unable to come up with an agreed-upon definition of “commonwealth” to include on ballots. In fact, the PDP released its most recent version of its “Commonwealth” platform in 1998, the same year that only .1% of voters indicated that they would like for Puerto Rico to remain a territory.


7 thoughts on “Should Commonwealth Be on the Ballot?”

  1. NO, Commonwealth should NOT be on the ballot or any other ballot!! Commonwealth is a solve nothing choice.
    In my opinion there are really only two sensible answers to this question: Independence or Statehood. Any other choice does nothing to improve the status of the Island. Independence would be the hardest on the Island and Statehood would be the easiest. The heritage of the people cannot be taken away so that is not a justifiable excuse. The language should not be an issue since most people here are bilingual to some extent or other.

  2. I was born in humacao, Puerto Rico. Raised in New York. I feel that all PuertoRicans should be concerned with Puerto Rican status. Puerto Rico should become the 51st state of the Union. There should be no option. Puerto Rican’s have fought in all American wars & conflict Even while still being Spanish subjects. PuertoRicans are part of the American fabric. And if born in Puerto Rico should have the right to vote as per the status of their birth place.

  3. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and “emigrated” to the USA in 1960 and presently reside in New Mexico.
    According to your article the puerto rican citizens residing in the island, have voted 5 times, since 1968, to resolve the status of Puerto Rico. Now, I hear that there will be another status vote in 2020 !! This is ridiculous !!!!
    Why hasn’t any action taken place ? What’s going on ? Legislators need to stop playing politics with people’s lives and come to a quick and final decision. It’s been way too long.

    1. The PPD. That’s the problem.

      It’s a parasitic party of separatists who favor indefinitely keeping PR an unincorporated territory, refuse statehood, lobby dumb gullible US Senate Republicans into fearing a Puerto Rican state as being “all blue” , while simultaneously lobbying Democrats against statehood, reminding them Pueryo Rico is heavily pro-life,Christian (Catholic) & not “LGBT friendly”. They warn Dems PR will be purple or red.

      Only 5% of Puerto Ricans want independence.
      95% want permanent union & US birthright citizenship.

      The US Constitution makes clear statehood is the only way.
      The PPD deceivingly argues otherwise…EXCLUSIVELY IN SPANISH, so Americans don’t pick up on their conniving lies.

      The PPD eagerly participated in referendums until 1993, when they knew “Commonwealth” would win.

      Commonwealth FAILED to win a majority in 1998.
      PPD now REFUSES to recognize or participate in referendums, ESPECIALLY now that statehood won in 2012 & again in 2017.

      They now want a “constitutional assembly” where party leaders get toghether behing closed doors & come up with a consensus on status.

      GIVE ME AN F*** BREAK!!

      Independence hardliners will never agree on a statehood consensus, and Statehood supporters will never agree to pursue independence or free sovereign Commonwealth in association.

      Before 2016, when the governor was Alejandro Garcia Padilla and the PPD, the governing PPD test about having a state hunt yes / no referendum confident they would Crush statehood.

      The PPD is now running to court to seek an injunction to kill the statehood yes/no vote! Why not simply vote no?

      The PPD are Latin American style commie leftists seeking to deny Puerto Ricans a vote on status, bc Boricuas may not vote the PPD’s way!

      1. I stated previously the PPD is a separatist party but I digressed.

        The PPD has always been separatist, but fully aware PuePuerto Ricans reject Independence, they believe in doing everything possible to prevent statehood, trash the US as “racist against statehood ” while LOBBYING Congress against statehood, then demanding Congress treat PR equally in all Federal Programs WITHOUT Federal Taxes.

        As you can see, the PPD is all about “landbanking” Puerto Rico, HOPING for the day Congress cuts PR loose.

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