How would you vote?

H. R. 2499 To provide for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 19, 2009

Mr. PIERLUISI (for himself, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Mr. ARCURI, Mr. BAIRD, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. BERMAN, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. BOUSTANY, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. BROWN of South Carolina, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. BUTTERFIELD, Mr. CARDOZA, Mr. CASTLE, Ms. CLARKE, Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. COSTA, Mr. CUELLAR, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. DENT, Mr. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART of Florida, Mr. MARIO DIAZ-BALART of Florida, Mr. DOYLE, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA, Mr. FARR, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. FLAKE, Ms. FUDGE, Mr. GERLACH, Mr. GRAYSON, Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas, Mr. HARE, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HIGGINS, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. HOYER, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. KILDEE, Ms. KILPATRICK of Michigan, Mr. KLEIN of Florida, Mr. KRATOVIL, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California, Mr. MACK, Mr. MAFFEI, Ms. MARKEY of Colorado, Mr. MASSA, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. MCCAUL, Mr. MICA, Mr. MOLLOHAN, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Ms. NORTON, Mr. OLVER, Mr. ORTIZ, Mr. PENCE, Mr. POE of Texas, Mr. POLIS of Colorado, Mr. PUTNAM, Mr. RAHALL, Mr. REYES, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. SABLAN, Mr. SALAZAR, Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California, Mr. SHULER, Mr. SMITH of Washington, Mr. STARK, Mr. TAYLOR, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Mr. TONKO, Mr. WALZ, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms. WATSON, Mr. WATT, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. WEXLER, Mr. WILSON of South Carolina, Mr. WU, Mr. YARMUTH, and Mr. YOUNG of Alaska) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources
A BILL     To provide for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009′.

SEC. 2. FEDERALLY SANCTIONED PROCESS FOR PUERTO RICO’S SELF-DETERMINATION.

    (a) First Plebiscite- The Government of Puerto Rico is authorized to conduct a plebiscite in Puerto Rico. The 2 options set forth on the ballot shall be preceded by the following statement: `Instructions: Mark one of the following 2 options:
  •  
      `(1) Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status. If you agree, mark here XX.
  •  
      `(2) Puerto Rico should have a different political status. If you agree, mark here XX.’.
    (b) Procedure if Majority in First Plebiscite Favors Option 1- If a majority of the ballots in the plebiscite are cast in favor of Option 1, the Government of Puerto Rico is authorized to conduct additional plebiscites under subsection (a) at intervals of every 8 years from the date that the results of the prior plebiscite are certified under section 3(d).
    (c) Procedure if Majority in First Plebiscite Favors Option 2- If a majority of the ballots in a plebiscite conducted pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) are cast in favor of Option 2, the Government of Puerto Rico is authorized to conduct a plebiscite on the following 3 options:
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      (1) Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States. If you agree, mark here XX.
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      (2) Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution. If you agree, mark here XX.
  •  
      (3) Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union. If you agree, mark here XX.

SEC. 3. APPLICABLE LAWS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) Applicable Laws- All Federal laws applicable to the election of the Resident Commissioner shall, as appropriate and consistent with this Act, also apply to any plebiscites held pursuant to this Act. Any reference in such Federal laws to elections shall be considered, as appropriate, to be a reference to the plebiscites, unless it would frustrate the purposes of this Act.
    (b) Rules and Regulations- The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission shall issue all rules and regulations necessary to carry out the plebiscites under this Act.
    (c) Eligibility To Vote- Each of the following shall be eligible to vote in any plebiscite held under this Act:
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      (1) All eligible voters under the electoral laws in effect in Puerto Rico at the time the plebiscite is held.
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      (2) All United States citizens born in Puerto Rico who comply, to the satisfaction of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission, with all Commission requirements (other than the residency requirement) applicable to eligibility to vote in a general election in Puerto Rico. Persons eligible to vote under this subsection shall, upon timely request submitted to the Commission in compliance with any terms imposed by the Electoral Law of Puerto Rico, be entitled to receive an absentee ballot for the plebiscite.
    (d) Certification of Plebiscite Results- The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission shall certify the results of any plebiscite held under this Act to the President of the United States and to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
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4 comments for “How would you vote?

  1. Gobernador_PR
    July 22, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I am absolutely appalled by how the Natural Resources Committee has destroyed any true process of self determination for Puerto Ricans. They have removed the super majority clause and therefore any foreigner can vote for something they do not even know about. If freedom and democracy mean stealing land, tampering with local matters, changing the rules of the game in your favor, what is then the beauty of American Citizenship. The world is big, the time of the old empires has ended, America should free Puerto Rico or suffer the consequences.

  2. Jere Krischel
    July 22, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I’d vote for Statehood. It means having an equal voice in the Senate, and fixes the whole taxation without representation thing. Insofar as “foreigners,” I was under the impression that all Puerto Ricans are US citizens already (since 1917).

  3. arnie
    July 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I’m in agreement. Gobernader is right in that not every “foreigner” should have the right to vote in an election regarding self-determination. Part of the decolonization process is to privilege the rights of the citizenry who were there previous to colonization.
    What international documents give the United States the right to include “foreigners’ right to vote? The United Nations process, as called for in UNGAR 742 calls for only the citizenry that were there previous to colonization.

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