Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth that is associated with the US. The Chief of State then is the President of the US and the head of the commonwealth is an elected Governor. Puerto Rico has two legislative chambers. One is the House of Representatives with 51 seats and the other is the Senate with 27 seats. The major political parties are the New Progressive Party (PNP), Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) and Popular Democratic Party (PDP). Voter participation was 78% as of 2012.
The capital of Puerto Rico is San Juan and the official languages are English and Spanish. The Caribbean island, which lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is due east of the Dominican Republic. The total area is 9,104 square kilometers or 3,508 square miles. The national anthem is La Borinqueña. The first part of the song, when translated to English, reads: “The land of Borinquen where I have been born. It is a florid garden of magical brilliance.” This same feeling goes through the minds of felons who can vote, while in prison, for primary candidates.
Voters in US territories, such as Puerto Rico, cannot vote in the US Presidential election. This restriction was established under the provisions of the Electoral College. However, they still have a say as to whom can run for President. That’s because Puerto Rican voters can cast votes in the Presidential Primary and are given delegates by the two major US political parties, or the Republicans and Democrats.
Therefore, simply put, Puerto Rico, along with other territories in the US, can participate in a Presidential primary. However, because of the Electoral College system, they cannot take part in voting for US President. This fact is supported by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the US.
A territory is a land that the US administers although it is not officially endorsed by any of the US states or another world nation. Most US territories depend on the US for economic and defense support. Because Puerto is a commonwealth, it is a self-governed and unincorporated territory of the US. In turn, its residents are subject to federal US law and pay incomes taxes to the US. You can reference more information by following this link.
Felon Voting Law in Puerto Rico
Even though you cannot vote in the November election for US President, the Democratic or Republican party will permit the selection of delegates to represent the candidates at nominating conventions. For example, in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Puerto Rico backed 55 delegates, more than many of the other states in the US. In the Republican presidential primary of the same year, Puerto Rico was represented by 20 delegates. Like the states of Maine and Vermont, a felon in Puerto Rico can cast a ballot to vote, except, in this instance, it is in a Presidential primary. You can read more about the practice by following this link.
How a Felon in Puerto Rico Can Restore Their Voting Rights
In order to vote in a scheduled election, a voter registration form, in Puerto, must be completed 50 days before the election date. Voters must be at least 18 years old, live in Puerto Rico and be judged to be mentally competent. To register, you need to go to a local Permanent Registration Board to complete the form and submit the needed documents. You can verify your registration status online by visiting www.ceepur.org. The site is a Spanish language site.
In order to vote absentee, you must be confined to a penal institution, or be serving in a job outside of Puerto Rico, or in the military. In order to obtain an absentee ballot by mail, you must write a letter to the State Elections Commission at least 60 days before an election and include the following details:
· Paternal and maternal name
· Names of your mother and father
· Date of birth
· Election number
· Home address in Puerto Rico
· Current temporary address
· Mailing address where ballot should be sent
· Reason why you must vote absentee
In order to obtain further information about registration, you can click on the following site.
Other Resources For Felons in Puerto Rico
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