Analyst: Puerto Ricans not giving Dems huge boost in Florida

Political analyst and journalist Bill Schneider said on Wednesday that Puerto Ricans who were displaced as a result of Hurricane Maria last year, have largely not registered to vote in the mainland U.S.

Schneider told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking" that "there was a lot of optimism among Democrats that with the large increase in the Puerto Rican population fleeing the results of the hurricane" that many would register to vote in the mainland U.S.

"They don't have to get citizenship. They can register [to vote] the minute they establish a residence in Florida. But they haven't done that, I think in part, because a lot of them may be expecting to go back to Puerto Rico, and they're not setting out roots in Florida," he said. 

More than 100,000 residents in Puerto Rico fled to the U.S. after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island last September, causing widespread power outages.

Many thought the displaced residents would register to vote in mainland U.S. areas such as Florida, but data shows that there has been no such increase in registrations.

The Washington Post reported that in the nine months before the hurricane, 343,000 people registered to vote in Florida, with 18 percent being Hispanic. However, in the nine months after the hurricane, 326,000 people registered to vote, with just 21 percent of them being Hispanic. 

Still, University of Florida researchers projected earlier this year that the state’s Puerto Rican population likely surpassed New York’s last year, with more than a million people in the state.


The Hill reported earlier this month that Republicans and Democrats are fighting to win over Florida's Puerto Rico voters ahead of the November midterm elections.

— Julia Manchester