Puerto Rican referendum: 97% vote in favor of becoming 51st US state

In a referendum held in the US territory of Puerto Rico, 97.2% of voters elected for the island to become the 51st US state. However, the symbolic and controversial referendum must first pass Congressional approval.
Low voter turnout for Puerto Rico’s referendum Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

A shocking majority of Puerto Rican voters elected last night (Sunday) for the US territory to officially become the 51st US state. Nevertheless, the symbolic and controversial referendum must first pass Congressional approval before the vote can be enacted.

97.2% of Puerto Rican voters were in favor of becoming the 51st state, 1.5% voted to gain independence from the US, while 1.3% preferred to uphold the island’s current situation. However, the extremely low voter turnout of a mere 23% following a boycott of the referendum explains the extremely high levels of support.

As a result of Puerto Rico’s hard recession and rising unemployment rate and the fact that the island’s residents also hold US citizenship, 1 in 10 Puerto Ricans have moved to the US mainland over the past decade. The territory’s crisis reached its peak a month ago when Puerto Rico officially filed for bankruptcy in the wake of its increasing debt.

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