Obama status plank echoes task force
Language on the island’s status issue is expected to be approved during a Democratic Party platform committee meeting in Detroit this weekend. The Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte, N.C. in early September.
The platform’s status stance will echo the White House task force report from March 2011, which called for action in Washington if a local plebiscite did not advance a solution to the issue.
The White House task force’s 7-point status position said that if efforts on the island do not provide a clear result in the short term, the president should support, and Congress should enact, self-executing legislation that specifies in advance for the people of Puerto Rico a set of acceptable status options that the United States is politically committed to fulfilling.
Obama’s status plank is being put in place as he doubles down on efforts to lure stateside Puerto Rican voters, especially those along Florida’s 1-4 corridor in the central part of that key swing state.
Voters in Puerto Rico will vote on the status issue on election day in November.
The plebiscite ballot will consist of two questions. Voters will first be asked whether they want the current territory status to continue. Regardless of how voters answer that question, they will then be asked to express their preference among the three alternatives to the current status: statehood, independence and nationhood in free association with the United States.
Puerto Ricans previously have voted to remain a commonwealth in referendums issued in 1967 (60 percent) and 1993 (48 percent). In a 1998 plebiscite, the “none of the above” option won with 50 percent of the vote, followed by statehood at 46 percent. The “none of the above” option was added by the commonwealth supporting Popular Democratic Party to protest the definition of “commonwealth” on the ballot.