Controversy surrounds Puerto Rico statehood vote

Controversy continues to swirl over the results of last month’s referendum in favor of Puerto Rico statehood, which members of the Democratic and Republican national committees also support, according to national news reports. 

Ninety-seven percent of voters who cast ballots in the nonbinding plebiscite held on the island June 11 chose statehood. However, there is a controversy surrounding the differing reports on voter turnout and whether there is a widespread support for statehood. The Puerto Rico State Commission on Elections reported there was a 23 percent turnout, while other sources — including Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress — have reported the turnout at more than 30 percent. 

According to a press release from González-Colón (http://bit.ly/2sn0RjO), the voter turnout for the plebiscite was similar to voter participation in U.S. presidential and congressional elections in recent years. She also noted that lower percentages of voters ratified statehood for such states as Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska. 

Tom Peréz, the first Latino chairman of the Democratic National Committee, recently announced his support of statehood for Puerto Rico, according to information at The Puerto Rico Report (http://bit.ly/2tGafNg). The Republican platform also supports statehood as long as Puerto Rico residents fully support it, according to the website.

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