Puerto Ricans favor statehood in 2012 vote - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Puerto Ricans vote in favor of statehood

Could San Juan (pictured) become a state capital city? Puerto Ricans voted to become a state in the 2012 election. (Source: TripAdvisor/wieserj) Could San Juan (pictured) become a state capital city? Puerto Ricans voted to become a state in the 2012 election. (Source: TripAdvisor/wieserj)

(RNN) – While all eyes were on the U.S. mainland during Election Day 2012, the small U.S. territory of Puerto Rico voted in favor of statehood, according to election results.

While the referendum was non-binding, it marks the first time Puerto Rico rejected its current commonwealth status.

The referendum was a two-part question. The first part asked voters if they wanted to change the island's current relationship status with U.S. or leave it as is – a commonwealth. In a 54-46 margin, Puerto Ricans voted to change their current status with the U.S. The second question asked what Puerto Ricans would prefer: statehood, greater autonomy or complete independence. With 93 percent of the votes counted, statehood received 61 percent of the vote. Greater autonomy received 33 percent and independence garnered only 5 percent, according to The Associated Press.

Puerto Rican officials plan to present this information to President Barack Obama and Congress, with the latter making the decision on whether or not to grant Puerto Rico statehood.

While Puerto Ricans are considered U.S. citizens, use U.S. currency and are able to serve in the military, they cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections and have only one non-voting delegate for representation.

Double-digit unemployment and a shrinking population are blamed for Puerto Ricans' change of heart on the statehood issue. Similar referendums in previous years were consistently rejected.

"I think people just came to realize that the current relationship simply does not create the number of jobs that we need," Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock told CNN.

Despite the referendum's results, critics say it is not an accurate picture of what Puerto Ricans want because roughly one-third of the votes cast left the optional choice question blank. And in a strange twist, Puerto Ricans' new governor-elect is reportedly anti-statehood.

If Puerto Rico is granted statehood, the island would reportedly receive five seats in the House of Representatives and two seats in the Senate. It would also receive roughly an extra $20 billion a year in funds from the federal government, according to The Associate Press. Citizens of the would-be state would also start paying federal income taxes, and companies there would have to start paying corporate taxes.

Puerto Rico has been under American control since Spain conceded it to the U.S. following the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Ocean Springs man arrested for growing marijuana in home, officials say

    Ocean Springs man arrested for growing marijuana in home, officials say

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 3:22 PM EDT2018-05-22 19:22:22 GMT
    Joseph C. Hines was arrested after agents found thousands of dollars in marijuana in his home. (Photo Source: WLOX)Joseph C. Hines was arrested after agents found thousands of dollars in marijuana in his home. (Photo Source: WLOX)
    Joseph C. Hines was arrested after agents found thousands of dollars in marijuana in his home. (Photo Source: WLOX)Joseph C. Hines was arrested after agents found thousands of dollars in marijuana in his home. (Photo Source: WLOX)

    A man was charged with growing thousands of dollars worth of marijuana inside his Ocean Springs home, authorities say.

    More >>

    A man was charged with growing thousands of dollars worth of marijuana inside his Ocean Springs home, authorities say.

    More >>
  • Business leaders are betting on sports wagers

    Business leaders are betting on sports wagers

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 3:04 PM EDT2018-05-22 19:04:38 GMT
    The State Gaming Commission could vote to approve sports betting inside casinos at the next meeting on June 21st. (Photo source: WLOX)The State Gaming Commission could vote to approve sports betting inside casinos at the next meeting on June 21st. (Photo source: WLOX)
    The State Gaming Commission could vote to approve sports betting inside casinos at the next meeting on June 21st. (Photo source: WLOX)The State Gaming Commission could vote to approve sports betting inside casinos at the next meeting on June 21st. (Photo source: WLOX)

    Coast business leaders are keeping close tabs on the potential impacts of sports betting on the local economy. This was the topic of discussion at Tuesday’s Gulf Coast Business Council meeting. This comes just one week after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the doors for sports betting in Mississippi and other states.

    More >>

    Coast business leaders are keeping close tabs on the potential impacts of sports betting on the local economy. This was the topic of discussion at Tuesday’s Gulf Coast Business Council meeting. This comes just one week after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the doors for sports betting in Mississippi and other states.

    More >>
  • Vancleave celebrates state championship baseball team

    Vancleave celebrates state championship baseball team

    Tuesday, May 22 2018 2:15 PM EDT2018-05-22 18:15:30 GMT
    The Vancleave High School baseball team just won the first-ever state championship in school history, and the whole community is celebrating their accomplishment. (Photo source: WLOX)The Vancleave High School baseball team just won the first-ever state championship in school history, and the whole community is celebrating their accomplishment. (Photo source: WLOX)

    A big celebration took place Tuesday morning in Vancleave to honor a history-making athletic achievement. The high school baseball team just won the first-ever state championship in school history.

    More >>

    A big celebration took place Tuesday morning in Vancleave to honor a history-making athletic achievement. The high school baseball team just won the first-ever state championship in school history.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly