Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Denying the Vote to Puerto Rico

The BBC reports on a challenge lodged by residents of Puerto Rico seeking to vote in U.S. presidential elections:
The US Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to give residents of the territory of Puerto Rico the right to vote in US presidential elections.
Attorney Gregorio Igartua, who filed the appeal, said the citizens of Puerto Rico "have been unfairly treated" for more than a century.
He complained that residents have "an inferior type of American citizenship."

While the article goes on to mention low support in Puerto Rico for independence from the U.S. - there are some fringe economic (and migration) benefits to being on the periphery of the empire, after all - the U.S. itself clearly has a long way to go in recognizing the implications of its annexation-happy past. Puerto Ricans living in the mainland U.S. are routinely denied the opportunity to vote with Spanish-language ballots, despite being U.S. citizens - a clear violation of voting rights as supposedly protected in the Constitution. And just as Puerto Ricans themselves are often excluded from the world-renowned U.S. democratic process, the island finds itself with nothing but a token voice in Washington. Such is the fate of a people annexed to be canon fodder for further U.S. military adventures.

[Court denies Puerto Rico US vote, BBC, 21 March 2006]


At March 24, 2006 12:31 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I'm a little unclear. Can Puerto Rican natives vote if they leave the island and live in the US? By the same token, if I moved to Puerto Rico, would I vote be able to vote?

At March 24, 2006 10:16 AM, Blogger Kevin Funk said...

Puerto Ricans can vote in presidential elections if they live in the mainland U.S., however, many do not speak English, and the provision of ballots in Spanish has been a touchy subject in some areas (the diversity Mecca of York, PA for one, though they are now offered). If you, a gringo, moved to Puerto Rico, you would assumedly be able to continue voting absentee if you maintained residency on the mainland. If not, who knows, they may or may not have a special rule in place for such an occasion.

Our first comment!

At March 27, 2006 6:50 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I wonder if they have Spanish ballots in Pittsburgh?

Glad to pop your comment cherry.

At March 28, 2006 9:20 AM, Blogger Kevin Funk said...

I wonder if there's anyone in Pittsburgh who actually speaks Spanish.


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