A ballot measure allowing Puerto Rico to vote on its political status could head to the U.S. House floor for consideration if the House Committee on Natural Resources Wednesday approves the measure.
The legislation would authorize Puerto Rico to hold two plebiscites, the first asking residents if they want to change the island’s political status. If a majority of voters opt for a different status, the commonwealth would then hold a second referendum that would list three options: independence, sovereignty in association with the U.S. — in which Puerto Rico would no longer be a territory — and statehood.
Critics say the legislation, as written, does not offer voters the option to keep Puerto Rico as a commonwealth with additional authority to self-govern.
A July 8 poll by Gaither International indicates that 51% of Puerto Rican residents polled said they prefer the island becoming a state compared to 33% supporting commonwealth status. Another 6% prefer sovereignty as a free association while 4% favor independence and 6% have no preference or are undecided.