Rally goers in ~ a commemoration because that Hurricane Maria in ~ the art Museum top top Oct. 12, 2018. Photo: Emily Neil/ AL DÍA News.

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Philadelphia’s district 7 is recognized as ‘El Barrio’ for its primary Hispanic population. The largest portion of that populace hails indigenous Puerto Rico, where Election day is commemorated like a holiday and also turnout is massive. However District 7 has the city’s shortest voter turnout rate.


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Puerto Ricans vote in Puerto Rico vs. The U....
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“I don’t understand it. Puerto Ricans come the end to poll in droves ~ above the island, yet when they get here, they don’t perform anything,”

This is a quote heard in ~ the polls in Philadelphia’s ar 7 on might 21. It was main day in the city and also one because that its registered voters to nominate their candidates for the general elections in November.

According come November 2018 statistics native the PA room of State, over there are simply over one million registered voter in Philadelphia county, providing it the highest populace of registered voters of any kind of county in the state of Pennsylvania. Only 23 percent of castle voted in the primaries on might 21.

23 percent is also the very same amount that registered Puerto Ricans who voted in the island’s many recent referendum top top June 11, 2017. The was a historically-low voter turnout attributed to the boycott of the Popular democratic Party (PPD)—one of the two major political parties in Puerto Rico.

Before the 23 percent reflecting in 2017, the prior referendum in 2012 brought 77 percent of every the voter to participate, and before a dip come 55 percent in the 2016 quadrennial elections, turnout because that them in 2012 was also in the high 70s.

In a 2012 Slate short article profiling Puerto Rico’s voting fervor, columnist Sasha Issenberg cited exactly how “throughout the so late 20th century, turnout for Puerto Rico’s quadrennial elections was 50 percent greater than it to be for presidential contests in the 50 states.”

Issenberg roots the big turnouts neighboring elections to Puerto Rico’s “culture the engagement,” Puerto Rican analysts call the something different.

“The ‘culture the the vote’ is for this reason expansive the on the island choice day is a national holiday, when everyone takes turn off from work,” composed Issenberg.

In the U.S., election days room declared public holidays in 11 states—PA is not among them—but even so, it rarely results in a day off for much more than government workers like in Puerto Rico. Most simply offer a pair hours of paid or unpaid leaving to poll in line with various other states wherein it is no a claimed holiday.

Another thing to additionally consider in the instance of Philadelphia is the the elections on may 21 were a primary. Main elections are not held when choice Day traditionally falls, however months before and on various days depending on the state.

No state declares public holidays for main days and many—including Pennsylvania—also require a party affiliation to also participate. This adds to the de-emphasis top top voting found in the U.S. That is in stark comparison to the “culture that vote” quote by Issenberg.

When Puerto Ricans come from the island to the U.S., they space leaving that culture of public engagement and coming come one the stresses one American Dream. It’s no to say that the American dream is negative—millions come to the U.S. Yearly to achieve it—but it breeds a society of individuality that rarely considers the plural over the singular, particularly in politics.

Philadelphia ar 7’s win candidate, incumbent Maria Quiñones-Sánchez—a Puerto Rican—will get in her 4th term representing the ar on City Council, but her tenure and spot on City Hall’s Appropriations committee have actually her speculated together a candidate in 2023 mayoral elections—a symbolic relocate up the ladder for the councilwoman.

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Her ambitious goes hand-in-hand through the countless Puerto Rican residents of her district functioning for both your own and your family’s survival and progress. But over there is a disconnect in the category and also level that both Quiñones-Sánchez and her Puerto Rican constituents" individual pursuits. The disconnect, in combination with the lack of time does no garner enthusiasm and support, especially in the vote booth.