80ºF

Puerto Rican voters choose statehood in non-binding referendum

Congress has final say on changes to territory's political status

photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Latest on Puerto Rico's referendum on its political status. (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

Puerto Rico's governor says the U.S. territory has overwhelmingly chosen statehood in a non-binding referendum.

Ricardo Rossello said Sunday that the island has sent a strong and clear message to U.S. Congress and the world.

Nearly half a million votes were cast for statehood, more than 7,600 for free association/independence and nearly 6,700 for independence. The participation rate was nearly 23 percent with roughly 2.26 million registered voters.

But many question the validity of the vote amid a low turnout and a boycott by several opposition parties.

U.S. Congress has final say on any changes to the U.S. territory's political status, regardless of the referendum's final outcome.