The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico voted Tuesday in favor of statehood for the first time.
Around 54 percent of voters said they wanted to change the territory’s status as a commonwealth and in the second question, 61 percent favored being the 51st state of the United States, reported CNN.
Currently, Puerto Ricans are considered American citizens but cannot vote for president and only send a nonvoting representative to the House of Representatives. They also do not pay federal income tax.
Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock cited the territory’s dwindling population and an economic downturn.
“I think people just came to realize that the current relationship simply does not create the number of jobs that we need,” he told the network.
Angel Israel Rivera Ortiz, a professor with the University of Puerto Rico, said that while it was a historic vote, it may have been hollow because voters also got rid of pro-statehood Gov. Luis Fortuno.
“It reflects a divided and confused electorate that is not clear on where it’s going,” Ortiz told AP.
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