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ACM Home arrow Plebiscites arrow US warning on plebiscites

US warning on plebiscites Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
The US Congress is being warned about the dangers of a plebiscite, where people vote on a question without having any details about the consequences of their decision.

This contrasts with referendums required before any change can be made to  the Australian  Constitution. There the people have all of the details presented to them before and not after they vote.   How  wise our Founding Fathers were.

Thomas Flynn, ACM’s young Executive Director, reports that next week the US House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 2499, the proposed Puerto Rico Democracy Act, which gives the people of Puerto Rico the opportunity to vote on their political future including the possibility of becoming America’s 51st state. 

This provides for a two stage plebiscite.  The people will first be asked whether to maintain the status quo or to choose a different political status.  If a different political status is desired by the majority of the electorate, Puerto Ricans would have three options: independence, free association with the U.S., or full statehood.

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As Washington State Representative Doc Hastings writes on the website RS RedState (23/4), this is confusing. There are numerous questions about the implications of this bill that no one is talking about, he says. These include the number of seats in Congress, the consequences for other states’ representation, the costs involved, and the status of the Spanish language.

 


....if you don't know , vote NO....

 

“If a Congressionally-sanctioned vote is going to be held, it must come with an open, thorough understanding of what independence or statehood would mean to Puerto Rico and the existing 50 states,” he says. 

“This approach of voting first and answering questions later is exactly backwards.  Furthermore, it makes no sense that H.R. 2499 allows not just residents of Puerto Rico to vote, but extends voting privileges to anyone in the other 50 states who was born in Puerto Rico.  Why should someone who has lived and voted for decades in Alabama or Wyoming be given special status over their neighbors to vote on whether Puerto Rico becomes a state?”

“The bottom line is that there are many questions that have not been answered, and there are a great many implications that aren’t being considered or even discussed.  Congress owes it to the citizens of the 50 states and to the people of Puerto Rico to have a full, open debate and resolve these questions before voting on this bill."

" If this doesn’t happen, then Representatives should vote NO,” Congressman Hastings affirms.




As Alan Jones advised Australian listeners and viewers in 1999, "If you don't know, vote NO."

 

 

 
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