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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Pierluisi says local status vote may send mixed signals to Congress

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Thursday that while he is exploring the possibility of enabling a status vote on the same day as the general elections, he is also worried that it may send mixed signals to Congress.

“I still see that it is possible, if not probable, that I will call this consultation, but it will be at some point in the summer,” the governor said. “If I do it, the reason is that right now, as I said, I will be in Washington next week for a couple of days, [advocating] in favor of holding a public hearing on the bill in the Senate. I think it is a somewhat inconsistent message if, on the one hand, I am asking that they take action in Congress; on the other, I am saying that we are going to take action here.”

He was talking about the Puerto Rico Status Act, which seeks to resolve Puerto Rico’s status and its relationship to the U.S. through a federally binding plebiscite. The House of Representatives passed the bill in December 2022, but the Senate never voted on it, effectively restarting the process of getting the proposed law approved under a new Congress.

“I don’t rule out taking action here,” Pierluisi told reporters. “If I decide to do it, it will be in the summer, mid-summer. It makes sense that if a consultation is going to be held, it should be held on Election Day because that is when we have the most electoral participation.”

The government has held different status votes over the years since 1967.

In the 2020 election, the government held a non-binding, straight yes-or-no referendum on statehood. Based on the completed certified election night count, the option to pursue statehood won the referendum 52.52% to 47.48%.

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