Puerto Rico just voted to be the 51st state. Now what?

PUERTO RICO — The island territory of Puerto Rico held a huge vote on Sunday, to determine whether their citizens want to officially become the 51st state in the USA. It’s the fifth time Puerto Ricans have voted on the matter, but statehood has never won a clear victory. That has definitely changed this time with polls showing 97% of voters casting their ballot in favor of statehood.

So where does that leave us? Time to update all the US maps? Well not so fast. The vote is non-binding and it’s the US congress that will have the final say on whether Puerto Rico gets the upgrade from US territory to State. The fact that the island is currently embroiled in a massive debt crisis probably won’t help their case.

But still, newly elected Puerto Rican governor, Ricardo Rossello, has promised to force the issue if the statehood vote passes, engaging in what is called the Tennessee Plan, where the territory simply sends their representative to Washington DC and demand they be seated like they’re a state.

Of course the way congress works we definitely don’t anticipate any quick answers on whether we’ll have a new state, but with a clear win in this year’s vote we might just be closer than we think to adding a 51st star to the flag.