Tuesday, October 11, 2011

US Voting Rights?

Puerto Ricans chances of winning a right to vote in US elections are as close now as at any time in American history.

A First Circuit Court of Appeals decision has set up the conditions needed for the Supreme Court to review the possibility of voting rights for Puerto Rico's four million people.

The issue has arisen previously in the federal courts but never when there was a Supreme Court justice of Puerto Rican ancestry and presidential candidates were working so hard to win hispanic votes.

Puerto Ricans hold American citizenship and can vote in presidential primaries, but not in general elections. There is a Puerto Rican delegate to Congress now but he cannot vote on legislation.

President Obama has pledged to support "a clear decision" by the people of Puerto Rico on statehood. About half of Puerto Ricans support statehood. Most others prefer commonwealth status to protect their cultural identity.

Tom Ramstack for AHN

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