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Puerto Rico votes on US ties and chooses governor

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Puerto Rico flag

Puerto Rico flag (AP photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Puerto Ricans are facing a fundamental question on their ballots: Should they change their ties with the United States?

Election Day is a holiday in the U.S. island territory and the streets are quiet except around polling stations. The U.S. island territory does not get a vote in the U.S. presidential election.

But many are excited for a chance to vote in a referendum that asks voters if they want to change the relationship to the United States. A second question gives voters three alternatives: become the 51st U.S. state, independence, or “sovereign free association,” a designation that would give more autonomy for the territory of 4 million people.

The island also is electing a governor. Some polling stations opened late on Monday but the vote was otherwise orderly.

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