Election Day marked the very first time that the great majority of Puerto Rican citizens, who also have US citizenship, cast their votes in favor of statehood during a nonbinding referendum. Voters cited the economic downturn and a shrinking population as the major reasons for their support, although it should be noted that 58% of Puerto Ricans are already living in the mainland United States, Mariano Castillo’s recent article on CBS states.
There were two primary components to the vote. Firstly, citizens voted to reject their present identification as a commonwealth of the United States by a margin of 54% to 46%. Secondly, when it came to a question regarding the alternative to this, 61% of voters opted for statehood, with 33% voting for sovereign free association and just 6% voting for independence.
“I think people just came to realize that the current relationship simply does not create the number of jobs that we need,” says the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico, Kenneth McClintock. “When you have a political status that scares away half of your population, it is time to reject that political status.”
A lot of voters have given their support to an Obama administration report that suggested non-colonial choices before choosing a different status, although that option was not on the ballot. The four million residents of Puerto Rico hold US citizenship but are not allowed to vote for President.