Puerto Ricans narrowly vote for statehood

Although it won’t have an impact on the result of the presidential race, an important vote came out of Puerto Rico, the U.S. island territory in the Caribbean.

Puerto Ricans voted in a nonbinding referendum to become a U.S. state, by a margin of 52% to 48%. Although the vote does not have the power of law – indeed, the issue will be decided by lawmakers in Washington D.C. rather than the island’s capital of San Juan – it will give proponents of statehood a strong mandate to pursue their goal.

Puerto Rico’s antiquated status as a U.S. Territory is a relic of 19th Century colonialism, and has allowed U.S. politicians to neglect and abuse the islanders for over a century – most notably in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

If Puerto Rico were to become a state, it would likely change the balance of power in D.C. in the Democrats favor, especially as it would be entitled to two U.S. Senators.