The question at the heart of the non-binding referendum has been asked of Puerto Rican voters before - four times, in fact.
Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz vowed to push for statehood.
Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rosselló had been pushing for a "yes" for statehood as the best way to grapple with Puerto Rico's crippling $73 billion debt.
"I would like to see Puerto Rico become a state, " said Sonia Vargas, 51, a Brooklyn-born bookkeeper who now lives in Ohio.
"I don't think there is any incentive for this Congress to accept Puerto Rico as the 51st state", said Hector Feliciano, a 27-year-old retail executive. The opposition had called for a boycott of the referendum.
While many danced the salsa and cheered the procession, a small portion of the crowd booed the appearance Oscar Lopez Rivera, a political activist, who spent 35 years in prison for his involvement with the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), a group that has for decades struggled for independence of the island nation. In 2012, in the last referendum, 54 percent of voters expressed their desire for a change in status, and of the voters who answered the second question, 61 percent chose statehood, though almost half a million voters left that second question blank, AP notes. In spite of the dismal turnout, Gov. Rosello said:"An overwhelming majority voted for statehood".
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The BBC reports from Cape Town that before the storm, there had been several interfaith meetings to pray for rain. At least 150 properties have been destroyed in Knysna, according to the fire service.
But going by the actions of most Puerto Ricans, staying home or going to the beach was the runaway victor.
Puerto Ricans would also become eligible for the full welfare benefits now available to USA citizens living in the 50 states.
Politics took the front seat at this year's Puerto Rican Day Parade in NY on Sunday, as the traditional batons, floats and marching bands were overshadowed by the inclusion of a militant pro-independence figure and a vote in favor of statehood taking place on the island. The board recommended, among many measures, to cut US$300 million to $500 million from the Puerto Rican state government budget. "We need to be able to decide our own fate", said Liliana Laboy, one of the organizers of the protest. Those who remain behind have been hit with new taxes and higher utility bills on an island where food is 22 percent more expensive than the USA mainland and public services are 64 percent more expensive. Congress ultimately has to approve the outcome of Sunday's referendum that offers voters three choices: statehood, free association/independence or current territorial status. The Partido Popular Democrático, which broadly advocates the continuation of the current colonial arrangement whereby the island's 3.4 million people have USA citizenship but can not vote in federal elections, said the ballot was flawed from the outset.
A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department told The Associated Press that the agency has not reviewed or approved the ballot's language.
The current territorial status option received 6,821 votes, or 1.32 percent.
No clear majority emerged in the first three referendums on status, with voters nearly evenly divided between statehood and the status quo. Take the last two referendums in 1998 and in 2012 for example.
Still the result is hardly as convincing as Rosselló claims.