AARP AARP States Puerto Rico Voters

How to Vote in Puerto Rico

En español | Puerto Rico holds elections every four years, on the first Tuesday in November. The next election will be in November 2024, with the governor, the members of the Legislative Assembly, and a resident commissioner based in Washington, D.C., on the ballot, as well as the mayors of the 78 municipalities and the members of the municipal legislatures.

Unlike in the continental United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t hold midterm elections. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, not a state, its residents cannot vote for members of the U.S. Congress. Puerto Ricans vote for a resident commissioner, who has a voice — but not a vote — in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Absentee voting by mail is available to certain registered voters, including active military personnel and students.
  • Early voting is limited to certain voters, like police officers, firefighters, health workers and certain others who are working on Election Day.
  • Some voters can receive ballots by e-mail: members of the armed forces and merchant marine and their dependent household members, and voters who are overseas (outside the continental United States or its territories).
A ballot box in Puerto Rico
A ballot box in Puerto Rico

How do I register to vote?

You must register in person at the Permanent Registration Board (Junta de Inscripción Permanente, or JIP) of your municipality or election precinct. Check the office directory by municipality. Permanent Registration Board offices are open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

If you were born in Puerto Rico and will be 18 years old before the next election, you must submit a photo ID issued by the state, municipal or federal government, or the last four digits of your Social Security number, and an invoice from the Electric Power Authority (AEE) as proof of place of residence.

If you were not born in Puerto Rico, the office of Voter Services of the State Elections Commission has a list of documents required to register, such as a passport or identification issued by the federal or state government.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

Only in primary elections, when you must affiliate with the political party in whose primary you want to vote. You can pick your affiliation while voting in the primary.

How can I get a mail-in or absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Qualified voters who are outside of Puerto Rico on Election Day can vote absentee. Active military service personnel, students, patients receiving treatment for a catastrophic illness, commercial airline crews and members of the merchant marine can vote absentee. The Absentee and Early Vote Administrative Board (JAVAA) has a list of requirements to vote absentee.

Request an absentee ballot:

  • By mail: Print the absentee vote application from the State Elections Commission website. You’ll need your voter registration number and some other personal information. Send your completed and signed form to the Junta Administrativa de Voto Ausente y Voto Adelantado, P.O. Box 192359, San Juan, PR 00919
  • Online: Print the absentee vote application from the State Elections Commission website, complete it, sign it and e-mail it to the Junta Administrativa de Voto Ausente y Voto Adelantado at java@cee.pr.gov.

Note that for the 2024 elections, the absentee vote application needs to be updated and the deadlines for requesting absentee ballots need to be set.

Can I track my mail-in ballot?

Officials who receive absentee ballots mark them as received in an electronic system. For questions about your ballot, contact the Absentee and Early Vote Administrative Board at 787-764-5601 or java@cee.pr.gov.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Early voting is limited to certain voters. Police officers, firefighters, health workers, government officials, patients receiving treatment and journalists working on Election Day, among others, may request an early vote. Check the Voter Services portal to see if you qualify.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The next general election in Puerto Rico will be on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024. Voting hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Do I need identification to vote?

Yes. You can use your voter identification card, driver's license or passport.

What are the main electoral races in Puerto Rico?

  • The resident commissioner: Non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Governor: Head of the Executive Branch
  • Puerto Rico House of Representatives (51 seats): All 51 seats are elected, divided into 11 at-large representatives and 40 regular representatives, one for each of the 40 representative districts. Each voter may vote for a representative in their district and one representative at-large.
  • Puerto Rico Senate: Normally composed of 27 members — 11 senators at-large and 16 senators by district, two for each of the eight senatorial districts. In certain circumstances, the number of senators may increase through the Minority Party Representation mechanism. Each voter may vote for two senators in their district and one at-large senator.
  • San Juan mayor: The office of the municipal executive of San Juan is very important. Besides being the island’s capital and largest city, San Juan has been a primary political route for those aspiring to the governorship.
  • Mayors of the rest of the municipalities: Mayors and members of the municipal legislatures of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities are elected.

As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico does not cast electoral votes in presidential elections.

Editor's Note: This guide was updated on Jan. 24, 2022, with information about how to vote in in Puerto Rico. The guide was first published on Aug. 20, 2020. Voting rules, procedures and candidates may change before Election Day. We’ll keep this guide updated, so bookmark this page and check back. 

Also of Interest:

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