Puerto Ricans Back Statehood in Referendum

But whether it will mean anything to Congress is still unclear

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 7, 2012 9:43 AM CST

(Newser) – Could Puerto Rico become the 51st state? A nonbinding referendum held there yesterday suggests a majority of its people would choose that option, reports the AP. As CNN explains, citizens were first asked whether they'd like the territory to maintain its current relationship with the US; 54% voted in favor of change. And when it came to question No. 2, which gave voters three options for change, 61% opted for statehood.

The results now go to President Obama and Congress for consideration, but it's unclear whether they will result in a formal congressional vote down the road. For one thing, critics say the two-part referendum was confusing, which muddied the results. In another twist, Puerto Ricans elected Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who opposes statehood, as their new governor.

Supporters of Alejandro Garcia Padilla, candidate for governor of the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party, cheer during his closing campaign rally in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012....   (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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