Definitions

Voting rights in Puerto Rico

Voting rights in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an insular area — a United States territory that is neither a part of one of the fifty states nor a part of the District of Columbia, the nation's federal district. Insular areas, such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, are not allowed to choose electors in U.S. presidential elections or elect voting members of the U.S. Congress. This grows out of Article one and Article two of the the United States constitution, which specifically mandate that electors are to be chosen by "the People of the several States". In 1961, the 23rd amendment to the constitution extended the right to choose electors to the District of Columbia.

Perceptions of disenfranchisement in Puerto Rico

Any U.S. citizen who resides in Puerto Rico (whether a Puerto Rican or not) is effectively disenfranchised at the national level. Although the Republican Party and Democratic Party chapters in Puerto Rico have selected voting delegates to the national nominating conventions participating on U.S. Presidential Primaries or Caucuses, U.S. citizens not residing in one of the 50 States or in the District of Columbia may not vote in Federal elections.

Both the Puerto Rican Independence Party and the New Progressive Party outright reject the status quo that permits disfranchisement (from their distinct respective positions on the ideal enfranchised status for the island-nation of Puerto Rico). The remaining political organization, the Popular Democratic Party, is less active in its opposition of this case of disfranchisement but has officially stated that it favors fixing the remaining "deficits of democracy" that the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations have publicly recognized in writing through Presidential Task Force Reports.

Various scholars (including a prominent U.S. judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) conclude that the U.S. national-electoral process is not fully democratic due to U.S. Government disenfranchisement of U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico.

The appeals court decision in 2005, on appeal of the decision in the third filing of the case, reads in part:

Judges Campbell and Lipez concurred in the decision. Judge Torruella dissented, opening his dissent as follows:

References

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