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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- As the world anxiously observed the US elections, Puerto Rico, a US territory, also held its general election on Tuesday, November 8. And in a place that prides itself for historically having very high voting participation, turnout in these elections reached a new low.
While the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP in Spanish) is celebrating that its candidate, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, was elected governor and that they achieved a majority in the Legislature, the fact remains that voter participation for these elections reached only 55.09%, according to the official numbers of the State Electoral Commission (Comisión Estatal de Elecciones, or CEE, in Spanish). This number is extremely low, considering that Puerto Rico traditionally has had a turnout of well over 75%. This year's numbers represent a huge drop from 78.19% in the 2012 election.
Another point of interest is the fact that Ricardo Rosselló won the election with only 655,626 votes, or 41.76%. This is the number that is usually used when discussing by how much a candidate won an election. Bear in mind that Puerto Rico has a population of roughly 3.5 million, of which approximately 2.9 million were registered to vote. This means that the governor was elected only by a little over 22% of registered voters, or roughly 19% of the population. This is the first time that a candidate for governor has been elected to office with such low numbers.
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