With a population of about 3.7 million, Puerto Rico is by far the most populous US territory, and its people are considered US citizens. However, some American citizens have fewer rights than others. Although Puerto Ricans are considered natural-born citizens of the United States, they are unable to vote for president and are not represented in Congress. Even though there are more American citizens living in Puerto Rico than in 21 different US states, Puerto Rico is not a US state.
In 1917, Congress passed the Jones-Shafroth Act, which granted US citizenship to Puerto Ricans. At the time, opponents said that the United States had imposed citizenship in order to draft Puerto Rican men into the army during World War I.
Voting rights in US territories:
- More than 4 million people live in US territories, such as Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands.
- US citizens living in territories are only barred from voting in general elections for president. They can participate in presidential primaries, designed to determine a political party's nominee.
- If you were born in Puerto Rico and later become a resident of a US state, you become eligible to vote in presidential elections. If you move from the mainland to Puerto Rico, you lose that right.