Open Hours of Government: Mon - Fri: 8.00 am. - 6.00 pm.

+1 800 123 456 789

Smart City History

The council is made up of four at-large councilors that represent the entire City, and nine district councilors that represent specific areas of the City.

1902

Founding City

We’ve been running data-driven voter outreach campaigns since 2004, including knocking on millions of doors to help elect President.

1928

Base Government

We’ve been running data-driven voter outreach campaigns since 2004, including knocking on millions of doors to help elect President.

1956

Best Politics

We’ve been running data-driven voter outreach campaigns since 2004, including knocking on millions of doors to help elect President.

2019

Smart City

We’ve been running data-driven voter outreach campaigns since 2004, including knocking on millions of doors to help elect President.

Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States. The chief of state is the President of the United States of America. The head of government is an elected Governor. There are two legislative chambers: the House of Representatives, 51 seats, and the Senate, 27 seats.

Puerto Rico has authority over its internal affairs. United States controls: interstate trade, foreign relations and commerce, customs administration, control of air, land and sea, immigration and emigration, nationality and citizenship, currency, maritime laws, military service, military bases, army, navy and air force, declaration of war, constitutionality of laws, jurisdictions and legal procedures, treaties, radio and television–communications, agriculture, mining and minerals, highways, postal system; Social Security, and other areas generally controlled by the federal government in the United States. Puerto Rican institutions control internal affairs unless U.S. law is involved, as in matters of public health and pollution.

The major differences between Puerto Rico and the 50 states are exemption from some aspects of the Internal Revenue Code, its lack of voting representation in either house of the U.S. Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), the ineligibility of Puerto Ricans residing on the island to vote in presidential elections, and its lack of assignation of some revenues reserved for the states.

As noted, because Puerto Rico is a territory and not a State, Puerto Rico has no representation in the Electoral College, nor have voting representation in Congress like the States. Puerto Ricans cannot vote in general presidential elections unless they establish residency in one of the 50 states. Since 1902, Congress has authorized Puerto Rico to be represented in Washington, DC, by one Resident Commissioner. The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico is a non-voting member of the United States House of Representatives and elected by the voters of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico every four years.

Executive
The Executive Power is exercised by the Governor, who leads a cabinet conformed by the heads of the commonwealth’s executive departments, who in turn must be ratified by the Legislature. The Governor is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits), which begins on the second day of January after the year of his election and ends on the date his successor takes office.

In the case of the death, resignation, or removal, of the Governor, the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico succeeds the Governor. In case the Secretary of State is unwilling or unable to assume it, the Attorney General (or, as the position is known, the Justice Department Secretary) would assume the governorship, followed by the Secretary of Treasury.

Legislature
The Legislative Power resides in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. The Senate consists of 27 members, 2 per electoral district (8), and 11 elected according to the different districts proportion of population. Two extra seats are granted in each house to the opposition if necessary to limit any party’s control to two thirds.

The House of Representatives consists of 51 members, one per electoral district and 11 elected proportionally. Legislators are popularly elected to four-year terms. The bicameral legislature determines how to spend the island’s tax revenue. Unless specifically stated, Puerto Rico is also subject to all laws and most regulations of the U.S. government, which sometimes cause jurisdictional problems. Most U.S. agencies are represented on the island.

Judiciary
The Judicial System is directed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is formed by 7 judges (a chief justice and six associate justices) named by the Governor. The structure of the Judicial System includes a Court of Appeals, Superior Court, a District Court (civil & criminal), and Municipal Court. There are 12 judicial districts.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico also has a district court comparable to those of the states of US. Each district court has at least one district judge and can have more than a score of district judges, as well as a clerk, a United States Attorney, a United States Marshall, one or more United States Magistrates, bankruptcy judges, probation officers, court reporters, and their staffs.

The federal government, located in San Juan, is represented by 2 district judges and the procurator, who is named by the President of the United States. The Federal Court has final authority of the ELA.

Capital
San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and the most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, with a population of two million. The city was founded in 1508, by Juan Ponce de León. It is also Puerto Rico’s main port of entry and has one of the best harbors in the Caribbean. San Juan is located on the north east of the island.

Administrative Divisions
None (Commonwealth associated with the U.S.); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the U.S. Government, but Puerto Rico is divided into 78 “municipios (municipalities). Each is governed by a popularly elected mayor and municipal assembly. The mayor appoints a secretary-auditor and a treasurer. Municipalities are further subdivided into barrios, and those into sectors.

A municipality (municipio) is an administrative local area generally composed of a clearly defined territory and commonly referring to a city, town, or village government. In Puerto Rico, a municipality is a city and the government unit that is the primary legal subdivision; each municipality has an elected mayor. However, the Census Bureau treats the municipio as the statistical equivalent of a county.

Other territories include: Mona (5,517 hectares), Monito (15 hectares), Desecheo (122 hectares), and Caja de Muertos (202 hectares). Numerous other small cays lie offshore of Puerto Rico.

Mona and Monito are located between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. These small islands are considered the Galápagos Islands of the Caribbean Sea. No other reef and offshore island habitat within U.S. jurisdiction possesses such ecological uniqueness, invaluable habitat, and biological diversity within such a reduced surface area. For these reasons, Mona and Monito Islands have been recognized by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a Natural Reserve. The islands are a critical habitat of endangered marine turtles, sea birds and occasional migratory marine mammals.

 

Latest Publications