Sep 30, 2017

Puerto Rico's unequal representation in U.S. government

La Perla resident Maria Antonia Perez Rivera looks on from her battered residence after Hurricane Maria. Photo: Carlos Giusti / AP

Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the North Mariana Islands have something in common: they don't have equal federal representation that the 50 states maintain, according to a Washington Post report, even though "most of the full-time residents of these territories are U.S. citizens."

Why it matters: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit hard by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the mayor of San Juan begged for help yesterday from the government. Guam is the target of North Korea missile strikes. And, according to WaPo, on top of having scarce House representation, the territories cannot vote in the U.S. general election.

These five territories, along with the District of Columbia, hold more than 4 million people combined, WaPo reports. They are represented by a House delegate who is unable to vote on the House floor. They do not have Senate representation, and while the District can vote for president, the five territories are only able to vote in the primaries.

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