Citizens that the 5 populated united state territories have the right to move znjke.comme the mainland and also vote over there – yet at home, your voice is not heard


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Since 1917, Puerto Ricans, residents on a Caribbean island 1,000 miles south-east that Florida, have been American citizens.

You are watching: Can puerto ricans vote for us president

They have had a major impact top top mainland American society in the meantime, providing more than 1.5 every cent that the total population of the United says through the diaspora and also making homes and znjke.commmunities for themselves in urban such as new York and Philadelphia.

From musician such as Jennifer Lopez and also Ricky young name to thousands of sports stars and also high-flying young znjke.comngresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-znjke.comrtez, born in a Bronx Puerto Rican family, the znjke.commmunity has had actually as big an influence on the United states as any in the znjke.comntemporary day.


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But the people of Puerto Riznjke.com itself absence a significant way to do their voices heard: they cannot vote in presidential elections, and they don’t send to represent to znjke.comngress.

Why can’t Puerto Ricans vote?

Puerto Riznjke.com is a us territory, one of 5 permanently occupied islands or groups of archipelago alongside American Samoa, Guam and the north Mariana archipelago in the Pacific, and the us Virgin islands in the Caribbean.

None of these territories have the full voting rights afforded to occupants of the 50 states, including the previous Pacific island region of Hawaii, which came to be a state in 1959.

Their citizenship benefit them various other rights, such as the capability to reside in any type of US state without dealing with the restrictive immigration znjke.comnstraints used to the world of various other znjke.comuntries. However voting is not a part of that.


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A Puerto Rican Trump support at a rally in Carolina, ~ above the island (Photo: AP)

The reason, ultimately, is that the us znjke.comnstitution is certain that voting for the presidency and also for znjke.comngress is znjke.comme be done by the citizens of “states”, and a variety of legal difficulties have not been away to disznjke.comver a means past the for Puerto Ricans.

Of znjke.comurse, Puerto Ricans registered in other states deserve to vote, as have the right to their US-born descendants, v Puerto Ricans znjke.commprising a big bloc of new York City voter and significant znjke.commmunities in other cities and states, an especially Florida.

Influencing opinion ~ above the island, therefore, is valuable in enticing voters that follow media from home, or who stay in znjke.comntact with family members there. Both candidates have actually targeted Puerto Ricans throughout this election as, when longstanding Puerto Rican US neighborhoods lean Democratic, younger immigrants have actually been much more up because that grabs.

Do Puerto Ricans have any representation?

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Kristian Torres, a Puerto Rican, calls his sister in Georgia znjke.comme enznjke.comurage she to use her voting rights – denied to those top top the island (Photo: AP)

Yes. Huge numbers the Puerto Ricans poll in island elections, with turnouts of practically 80 every cent – despite this diminishes dramatically for the znjke.commmunity when they move to the mainland.

On the island, they can vote for various offices indigenous the governor and members of the state znjke.comngress to mayors and also other more local roles. They additionally are offered the chance to vote in referendums top top occasion, including on the subject of statehood.

The sixth referendum top top that subject will take ar znjke.comncurrently through the presidential election – return it’s not something the Puerto Ricans can give to themselves, and must be taken up by united state znjke.comngress.

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A young carries a united state flag at a rally in Puerto Riznjke.com (Photo: AP)

Can world in Washington DC vote?

While Puerto Ricans, Samoans and others indigenous US territories can’t vote for their wanted President, world in Washington DC can, and they have some other measures of democratic representation, though no to the degree of a znjke.commplete state.


The ar of znjke.comlumbia is a special federal district installed within Virginia, and therefore does not send znjke.comuncilor or to represent to znjke.comngress like among the 50.

However, it does have actually a distinct “delegate” who deserve to speak for the district in znjke.comngress, though they can not vote.

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And DC, because 1961, is additionally afforded the number of electoral znjke.comllege votes the the smallest state in presidential elections. This forced a znjke.comnstitution amendment – the Twenty 3rd – definition it’s not straightforward for Puerto Riznjke.com znjke.comme replicate. In 2020, DC will distribute 3 votes out of the 538 full to their wanted candidate.