Speed Reads

election day

Puerto Rico votes on statehood, status quo, or independence

Puerto Ricans vote Sunday on whether their island, currently a U.S. territory, should become the 51st American state. The referendum is not binding; should the vote for statehood win, it would still require approval from Congress and President Trump to move forward.

The vote takes place on the 100th anniversary of Puerto Ricans obtaining U.S. citizenship, and along with statehood and maintaining the status quo, the ballot also offers voters a chance to endorse national independence. Past votes have failed to produce a clear majority for any one option.

Puerto Rico is suffering a decade-long economic depression which many attribute to its territorial status and which some believe makes statehood less likely. "Statehood hasn't come in the past 120 years," said Miriam Gonzalez of San Juan. "Why would Donald Trump want to make this bankrupt island a state now? It will be another 120 years before that happens."