Statehood supporters in Puerto Rico have a friend in Ohio.
Ohio State Rep. Dan Ramos, a Democrat of Puerto Rican origin, filed a resolution asking Congress to kick off the process of officially bringing the island into the union, following a non-binding status referendum that left many confused about whether Puerto Rico wants to become a state, El Nuevo Día reports.
“For almost a century, these citizens have served in the branches of our Armed Forces, defending our freedom,” Ramos said when presenting the resolution, according to El Nuevo Día. “Now, with the power of their vote, they’ve asked for statehood, with all the rights and responsibilities that implies.”
In a referendum on Nov. 6, some 52 percent of Puerto Ricans said they did not want the island to remain a U.S. commonwealth. In a second question that all voters were asked to answer regardless of how they answered the first one, voters were asked if they wanted Puerto Rico to become a U.S. state, an independent country, or a freely associated sovereign country.
Statehood won the most votes with 824,195 -- a solid 62 percent of those who picked one of the three answers. But over 480,000 people cast blank ballots, meaning that only 45 percent of the total voters who answered the question favored statehood.
The modest figure of 45 percent favoring statehood is consistent with three other referendums since 1950 and months of polling. Regardless, outgoing Gov. Luis Fortuño, a driving force behind the statehood movement, insists a majority of Puerto Ricans backed statehood in the vote and he’s asked President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to admit the island based on the result.
Congressional staffers interviewed by The Hill said action wasn’t likely.
If you haven't yet seen our rundown of 5 reasons why Puerto Rico won't become a state any time soon, check it out below.