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How do Puerto Ricans vote in US elections? Can the presidency decide? | The NY Journal

New York has one of the largest Puerto Rican colonies.

Ramón Vera / El Diario / Archive

Puerto Ricans are an important group when it comes to talking about the Latino vote and its impact on the United States elections.

Puerto Rico is an associate state of the USA. and people born there are granted US citizenship. 3.2 million people live on the island and in the rest of the states of the American Union it is estimated that there are 5.5 million residents of Puerto Rican descent. The latter are what count in federal elections like those of November 3.

Puerto Ricans residing on the island can vote during the primaries of political parties, but this is not the case in the election that defines the US presidency. This has been the situation since 1917, when Puerto Ricans were granted citizenship although without the right to federal vote when they reside in Puerto Rico.

Florida is the key

Attention then shifts to regions with large colonies of Puerto Ricans such as the Triestal area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Florida, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.

Of those regions, Florida is the most electorally relevant since it is a state where neither Democrats nor Republicans have clear control. It is estimated that 1.1 million Puerto Ricans live in the Florida peninsula.

Data from previous elections indicate that Puerto Ricans in Florida lean in favor of the Democratic candidate, in this case Joe Biden, but there are nuances, as with the rest of the Latino community. Believing that the Puerto Rican electorate is a monolith is a miscalculation that can have severe political consequences.


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