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Territory suffrage amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/28/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 653 times Debate No: 34300
Debate Rounds (4)
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For this debate I've come up with an amendment of my own I call it territory suffrage.... Here it is

Any territory that has a population exceeding one million has the right to participate in political elections and will have a voice in the government by having the customary 2 senators and a number of the house of representatives based on population. The territory will be a part of the electoral college, with its college number based on the number of representatives it has in the federal legislative houses.

- Territory's this pertains to
Peurto Rico
And any other territory reaching the population of one million
I would love for this bill to passed in congress (if I could ever propose it)
1.As con you must prove that this bill should not be passed while I pro must prove that it should be passed.
2. You may start your argument in round 1
3. Not trolling

I look forward to a great debate and wish my opponent goodluck.


This is a fantastic debate topic. I love the subject of US territories, and hope this will be a very good debate.

My opponent presents an interesting idea - the idea that a constitutional amendment should territories with a permanent population of over 1,000,000 people should be entitled to the same constitutional representation as states. As Con, I will argue that the amendment actually circumvents the typical process of admission into the union, could oppose the will of the populace, and is constitutionally unneeded.

To begin with, I assume this amendment is designed almost specifically for Puerto Rico. No other territory has a population of even 160,000 citizens, and it is hard to imagine any of them will in the near future. Out of the nearly 4.1 million people living in a US territory, only around 350,000 don't live in Puerto Rico, so the bill would have no effect on them or their status under the Constitution. Why do these people not deserve representation? Are they less important than the Puerto Ricans?

Now, the cause of Puerto Rican statehood is one that I wholeheartedly endorse - I believe the 3.7 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico should certainly be entitled to representation in Congress, if they so desire. The issue, however, is just that - do Puerto Ricans, or inhabitants of any other territory, desire it? Out of five referendums about statehood, all but the most recent one rejected it. In the most recent one, 61.2% of voters (824,195 voters) supported statehood... Or did they? The official results only count those who voted on that issue; if you include the 480,918 voters who left the section blank in the official result, the '61.2%' drops down to only 44.6% - still well above the other options, but not a majority.[1] Politicians from both parties criticized the ballot's two-stage nature, and, even more confusingly, Puerto Ricans elected an anti-statehood governor in the same election that they supported statehood.[2] Clearly, the issue of statehood is not settled in Puerto Rico. Forcing a path that many Puerto Ricans opposed might result in a similar situation to what Canada faces with Quebec - a culture deeply split on staying in the union, and one that is so far removed from the rest of the country as to be different entirely.

Now, this bill also completely demolishes previous Constitutional precent. The Constitution only grants Congressional voting to states, because territories are considered a mid-way process to statehood. Only states are given representation in Congress, as the title of our country suggests.

To remedy these issues I will propose my own amendment - the Territorial Rights Amendment.

Section 1. The federal district and all permanently populated territories of the United States shall, if majority support is given in a binding referendum, be entitled to elect a Representative to Congress; each territory shall be granted one representative.

Section 2. The federal district and all permanently populated territories of the United State shall, if majority support is given in a binding referendum, be entitled to election two Senators to Congress; the two Senators shall be elected by a cumulative vote from all participating bodies.

Section 3. All permanently populated territories of the United State that have chosen to elect representatives to Congress shall participate in Presidential elections. The territories will be entitled to electoral votes as follows:

*Two electoral votes awarded through a cumulative vote from all territories, in the same manner as the territorial Senate elections are to be conducted.
*One electoral vote for each individual territory.

Section 4.
If any participating territory or the federal district becomes a state, their participation in federal election will immediately become as a state, not a territory or federal district.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This amendment is superior in several ways - for one, it allows each territory to decide whether or not they want a federal vote. Second, it gives all territories, in addition to Washington, D.C., equal status. Third, the bill does not circumvent the Constitutional provisions for acceptance as a state.

Thank you, and I eagerly await my opponent's arguments.

Debate Round No. 1


My amendment is for Puerto Rico and any other territory that might make a 1,000,000. So yes for now the amendment pertains to Puerto Rico.

The other territory's are smaller and don't have a big enough population to even represent 1 vote on the electoral college, to even accuse me of making Peurto Ricans more important is crazy. And the other territory's are simply to small to handle representation anyway. I don't think that other territorys would feel unspecial in anyway.

Puerto Rico does not completely endorse statehood because of many different reasons but the ability to vote and be a part of America elections is not one of them. I am proposing political rights to a very large territory that should have got them a long time ago. An anti-statehood governor may have been elected but that doesn't mean he was elected for being agianst statehood.

Now this is very intresting, my opponent has proposed his own amendment. Your amendment has quite a few flaws such as:
1. Your proposed amendment breaks the constitution just as much as mine, voting rights for territory's is not condemned in the constitution
2. It does not have the needed permanent population required to have representation (unless you meant any populated territory)
3. There is already an amendment in the constitution that the makes District of Columbia legal to vote, so the mention of the district is completely unneeded and may cause problems.

In the case you meant any permantly populated territory here is a BIG reason why that shouldn't be passed:
With the other four populated territory's population combined it still only makes 0.20% of the United States population. With that being said the territory's on there own don't have the nessacary popupulation to even represent one point in the electoral college. Also other sates with a bigger population won't get the representation they deserve. So it will actually leave more people unrepresentative then represented.

Now this debate is very intresting and is keeping me entertained, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting it.


I would like to thank my opponent for responding in such a timely manner.

To respond to his main points in his response:
Point 1 - The other territories are smaller, and do not deserve even a single electoral college vote.
Rebuttal - The key reason one would want to award full representation to Puerto Rico is that their citizens do not have the same voting rights as those of the 50 states. Why are these reasons not transferrable to the other territories? The citizens of the other four inhabited territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands) are all Americans, and all but American Samoa are granted full citizenship at birth (American Samoa works slightly differently, for reasons that need not be explained here other than saying that they do not want citizenship at birth). They may be slightly smaller, but do not all Americans deserve a vote?

Point 2 - Puerto Rico should have voting rights at the federal level because they are large, and the idea of a federal vote is not controversial.
Rebuttal - How is it not controversial? 46% of Puerto Ricans were fine with the way things are (territorial status) in the first stage of the referendum. As for the governor, Puerto Rico has three parties, two of which get 95% of the vote or so - one that favors statehood (the New Progressive Party) and one that favors the status quo (the Popular Democratic Party). They are essentially single-issue parties, so it is a big deal that an anti-statehood governor was elected.

Now, on to his critique of my amendment:
Response 1 - If voting rights for territories is not condemned in the Constitution, how is my andmendment breaking it?
Response 2 - The term 'permanently populated territory' is very important. America has many more territories than just the permanently populated ones (AS, Guam, NMI, Puerto Rico, and USVI) - we have control of ten small islands that have no permanent non-military population.[1] The only one of these that has a population, Wake Island, is a military base with 120 active service members on the island at any given time.[2]
Response 3 - D.C. has electoral votes, but does not have the right to vote for Congressmen. Because of this, they are included in Sections 1 and 2, which pertain to Representatives in Congress, and they are ommitted from Section 3, the relevant section on electoral college votes.

Aside from that, the Amendement is perfectly fair. I am not sure how my opponent gets his percentages - the total would actually be 0.14%.[3] However, a single electoral vote is the smallest number available that represents territorial autonomy. Further, the electoral college would expand to accomidate the new votes (as has happened with every new state), not shrink, so his last point is moot.

Debate Round No. 2


wolfman4711 forfeited this round.


Well, my opponent forfeited. Given this has been a good debate, I will hold off on commenting on the forfeiture until the debate is over or my opponent has responded to it.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm sorry I really wrote out my argument but got into an area without Internet (complicated) when I got back home the whole thing was gone and by the time I retyped my arguments the time was up. For now I'm gonna have forfeit but I'm open for a rematch anytime :) vote con


I know how that feels; I've had that happen once or twice, and it is not fun in the least. This was a very fun debate, so I'd love to have a rematch of this at some point.

Anyway, vote con!
Debate Round No. 4
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