In an overwhelming majority, Puerto Rican citizens recently voted in favorof becoming the 51st U.S. state. According to poll results, nearly 97 percent of Puerto Ricans were in favor of statehood. Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, declared the results a clear victory in favor of becoming a state — the solution he preferred. In a televised speech after announcing the results, he said, “the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico.”
What he should have said was the federal government could no longer ignore the voice of 23 percent of the American citizens of Puerto Rico because those are all that bothered to turn out for the vote. In a country where voter turnout is normally closer to 80 percent, a 23 percent turnout is hardly exciting.