The decision to hold a primary instead of a caucus was made in early March 2008 in an attempt to increase participation and to encourage the candidates to campaign in Puerto Rico. With a voter turnout rate of 81.4% in Puerto Rico’s 2004 general election for governor among other island wide positions, Puerto Rico has among the highest voter participation records in the world.
Because the single most commonly reason cited for “not voting” is being “too busy”, the commonwealth holds their elections on Sundays. When will we start this trend on the ‘main land’?
The irony here is that despite having a large turnout rate, the U.S. Electoral College system does not allow residents of territories, including Puerto Rico, a self-governing commonwealth, to vote for president. While Puerto Rico has no Electoral College votes, Puerto Rico’s delegates are represented at the parties’ conventions and they help to select the nominee of the parties even though they can’t vote for the person they helped to select.
Senator Hillary Clinton of New York is favored to win tomorrow, owing in large part to the New York-Puerto Rico connection and affection for Bill Clinton. A recent poll by El Vocero, a San Juan newspaper, had Clinton ahead by 51 percent to 38 percent over Obama. But because of the way the 55 delegates are apportioned, Senator Obama could add a sizable number of delegates to those he already has even if he loses.
Obama needs just 42 more delegates to reach the 2026 needed to win the Democratic nomination.