Puerto Rico will vote on whether to seek statehood or independence in November, the latest ballot measure posing a fundamental question about the future of American democracy.
The outcome of the referendum will compel the island's government to negotiate with Washington the details of one of those options for ending a system in place for 70 years: Puerto Ricans are American citizens who are exempt from federal income taxes and have significant local autonomy, but in return they get much less federal aid than the states and have no electoral votes or voting members of Congress.
The referendum is ultimately non-binding because Congress and the president would have to agree to end Puerto Rico's current commonwealth arrangement. But the result will still send a signal about the desires of Americans now lacking full democratic rights – and could intensify or deflate momentum for statehood in Washington, D.C.
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Voters in almost half of Florida must have access to Spanish-language ballots in time for the 2020 presidential primary next March, a federal judge has ruled.
District Judge Mark Walker on Friday ordered state election officials to offer election materials and assistance to the growing Spanish-speaking population in the nation's most populous politically competitive state. In a close contest at a critical juncture in the primary Democratic season, a bigger turnout by Latinos (who find their access to the ballot box has been made easier) could prove decisive in propelling one candidate toward the nomination.