Should Puerto Rico Become the 51st State? Follow the Vote As It Comes In.

Voters tell Congress what they want for their future.

Ricardo Arduengo/Zuma

Puerto Ricans head to the polls Sunday for a plebiscite intended to chart a course for the island’s future. At issue is whether voters favor beginning the process of asking the US Congress to allow Puerto Rico to become an actual state; if voters want to ask for greater independence; or if voters want to carry on with the current colonial relationship that exists today.

To many, the political status of Puerto Rico is at the heart of the territory’s ongoing debt crisis; it’s facing more than $120 billion in outstanding debt and pension obligations. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was elected last fall on a pro-statehood platform, saying in his inaugural address in January that “there is no way to overcome Puerto Rico’s crisis given its colonial condition.”

Many on the island plan to boycott the election, arguing that since Puerto Rico cannot compel Congress to comply with voters’ wishes, it’s meaningless. “They are spending $8 millionw holding this vote, and yet will the US Congress take any notice of it? No, they won’t,” Juan Collazo, 22, told the Guardian. “This is just another attempt to divide and conquer us.”

The polls close at 3 p.m. EDT. Follow the election results here, courtesy of the Decision Desk HQ


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.