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Historically, most new states brought into being by Congress have been established from an organized incorporated territory, created and governed by Congress. Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, the traditionally accepted requirements for statehood are: In most cases, the organized government of a territory made known the sentiment of its population in favor of statehood, usually by referendum.

The turn out for this vote was a low 23 percent, but some leaders of the New Progressive Party say this is because of migration of Puerto Ricans to mainland. Puerto Ricans have participated in all American wars since 1898; 52 Puerto Ricans had been killed in the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan by November 2012. Shortly after the results were published Puerto Rico-born U. Congressman José Enrique Serrano commented "I was particularly impressed with the outcome of the 'status' referendum in Puerto Rico.

The 110th Congress returned the Commissioner's power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation. presidential elections, provided they reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia and not in Puerto Rico itself. Most Puerto Rico residents do not pay federal income tax but do pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare). This is a history-making moment where voters asked to move forward." Several days after the referendum, the Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Governor Luis Fortuño, and Governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla wrote separate letters to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, addressing the results of the voting.

Puerto Rico has elections on the United States presidential primary or caucus of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to select delegates to the respective parties' national conventions although presidential electors are not granted on the Electoral College. However, federal employees, those who do business with the federal government, Puerto Rico–based corporations that intend to send funds to the U. Pierluisi urged Obama to begin legislation in favor of the statehood of Puerto Rico, in light of its win in the referendum.

In a separate question, 61% of voters supported statehood (excluding the 26% of voters who left this question blank). Congress in the form of a Resident Commissioner, a delegate with limited no voting rights. Congress directed local government to organize a constitutional convention to write the Puerto Rico Constitution in 1951. Under Puerto Rico Law, these ballots are not considered cast votes and are therefore not reflected in the final tally.

On December 11, 2012, Puerto Rico's legislature resolved to request that the President and the U. Congress act on the results, end the current form of territorial status and begin the process of admitting Puerto Rico to the Union as a state. The island's ultimate status has not been determined as of 2012, and its residents do not have voting representation in their federal government. Like the states, Puerto Rico has self-rule, a republican form of government organized pursuant to a constitution adopted by its people, and a bill of rights. The acceptance of that constitution by Puerto Rico's electorate, the U. However, more than one in four voters abstained from answering the question on the preferred alternative status.