June Vote For Puerto Rico Statehood
Did you know that citizens of the United States of America have a vote coming up in June? That’s right, but nobody within the 50 states will be voting because this vote takes place in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
This vote is not simply to elect a politician into office or to get some additional stop signs at intersections. This vote is designed to find out do the people of Puerto Rico want to become a state within the Union of the United States or declare Independence/Free Association.
Here is why I am posting this with my baseball articles. Once Puerto Rico becomes a state and gets their finances in order, move a Major League Baseball Team to San Juan. By around 2020 there should be around 4 million people on the island (believing many individuals return) and we saw in the World Baseball Classic what size crowds that can be attracted.
There is no question players would be willing to go there and play. The island itself would have roughly the same population as Detroit. You would have Mardi Gras 81 days of the year. #Revenue!
I became interested in Puerto Rico during the World Baseball Classic and not knowing much about their situation I went on a quest for information. For years people in the United States have been feeling bad for Venezuela with their situation but doesn’t Puerto Rico hit closer to home?
This vote affects not only the citizens of Puerto Rico but citizens of the 50 states in the Union, District of Columbia, and the other U.S. Territories. It is pretty important and I had no idea the vote is happening in June, 2017. Did you know that Puerto Rico has previously voted to become a state?
So, What Is The Deal:
Puerto Rico has a serious financial problem going on, more than $70 billion of debt. Does this sound familiar? Combine government issued municipal bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, tax-exempt investments with some shady government officials, rising unemployment rate, corporations leaving the island, and people leaving the island at about 1% per year. What do you get? You get 3.5 million citizens ready to stop being a U.S. Territory. With debt like that they fit right in with some of the others.
Statehood or Independence in June:
The people of Puerto Rico voted for statehood in 2012 but can you imagine with technology we have available an important election not having a clear result? It all sounds too familiar doesn’t it? I’ll do the best I can to explain this but it is a bit complicated.
Do you want to continue to be a Territory, yes or no? Well that seems simple enough and the majority voted “No.” If you vote “no,” which of these options do you want: Statehood, Independence, or Sovereign Free Associated State? For this question the majority of responses went for Statehood.
Remember that “hanging chad” thing we had with one of our elections a couple decades ago. Well in Puerto Rico’s case many people that voted, did not make a selection for question two. For the people that answered the second question, 61% voted for statehood, 5% for Independence, and 33% for the third option.
In true political fashion it was ruled that since so many voters neglected to select what they wanted the vote was ruled invalid. I should add that some individuals wanted another option on the ballot. They’ve requested this before and the U.S. Constitution does not allow it. Basically they ask for the best parts of all three options without any of the bad stuff.
Thank God the U.S. Government is here to help them fix the problem by providing $2.5 million to fund the referendum. Now, for sure the vote can finally get done properly with no objections. We shall see.
Remember, we are talking about Washington, D.C. being involved. If you count the District of Columbia with the 50 states, D.C. has the 7th highest percentage of people under the poverty line. Its two neighboring states, Virginia and Maryland, sit 43rd and 45th. Sounds like a lot of political people must be commuting to work.
If Puerto Rico Becomes A State:
The people of Puerto Rico need to understand that voting for Statehood is a no looking back decision. Once yo
u are in the Union, you are always in the Union with all the benefits and responsibilities that come with it. There is a lot to be gained by moving from a Territory to Statehood and the island of Puerto Rico has
a great deal to offer. Its location alone is important for National Defense.
Vote against Statehood and become your own country, well…I don’t think you are in a good financial position to do that right now.
Contact your Congressperson if you have feelings one way or the other. Without a true voice in Washington, the island has to rely on the 50 states for help making progress.
By Scott Hortness March 29, 2017
Caribbean Map photo by paradise-islands.org
fountain in Fajardo photo by vxla https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
featured image by Reinhard Link https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/