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Puerto Rico votes on US ties and chooses governor

Posted by The Agonist on November 7th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

AP, By Danica Coto, November 6

San Juan,PR — Puerto Ricans faced a fundamental question on Election Day: Should they change their ties with the United States?

Citizens in the U.S. island territory cannot vote in the U.S. presidential election, but many were excited to participate in a referendum on whether to push the territory toward statehood, greater autonomy or independence.

Car horns blared and party flags waved after polling stations closed following what election officials said was a high voter turnout. During the day, many voters carried umbrellas against the blistering tropical sun as temperatures neared 90 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius).

The two-part referendum first asked voters if they wanted to change Puerto Rico’s 114-year relationship with the United States. A second question gave voters three alternatives if they wanted a change: become a U.S. state, gain independence, or have a “sovereign free association,” a designation that would give more autonomy for the territory of 4 million people.

With 243 of 1,643 precincts reporting late Tuesday, 75,188 voters, or 53 percent, said they did not want to continue under the current political status. Forty-seven percent, or 67,304 voters, supported the status quo.

On the second question, 65 percent favored statehood, followed by 31 percent for sovereign free association and 4 percent for independence.

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