The Republicans are also considered highly unlikely to do something that could result in five more Democrats in the House and two in the Senate.
Members of Ms. González’s governing New Progressive Party went to Washington to emphasize the large margin of victory. The people have spoken, and so statehood for Puerto Rico, they insisted, is about a decade away.
Others knocked on doors right behind them, pleading the opposite.
“There are 535 offices. We started today, and it’s going to take time,” said Juan E. Hernández Mayoral, a former senator in Puerto Rico who opposes statehood. “It’s hard work, but we have to do it.”
By noon, he had visited more than a dozen congressional offices, showing up without an appointment to tell staffers that the ballot
was manipulated, the vote boycotted and the results
“Sometimes when you go to a congressional office, you’re walking in and a member of the opposition is coming out,” said Kenneth D. McClintock, a former Puerto Rico secretary of state who as a registered lobbyist spends several days a month advocating statehood. “I would have the last laugh and get to say: ‘Everything they told you was totally incorrect.’”
In a statement, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said he would soon head to the capital with the plebiscite results to demand action. He rattled off states, such as Arizona and Wisconsin, whose requests for statehood were made in votes with woefully low turnouts.
“It will be up to this new generation of Puerto Ricans to demand and claim in Washington the end of the current improper colonial relationship, and begin a transition process to fully incorporate Puerto Rico as the next state of the Union,” he said.
Sunday’s plebiscite was the fifth taken since the United States acquired Puerto Rico in 1898. This time, only about 500,000 of Puerto Rico’s 2.2 million registered voters voiced their preference for statehood, independence or remaining a United States commonwealth, far fewer than in previous elections.
But the electoral process was managed by the statehood party, and many critics argued that the ballot was deliberately written to favor statehood. Opposition parties urged their members to boycott the vote.
Even the handful of Puerto Rican members of Congress had mixed opinions.
“Not even Putin gets 97 percent of the vote,” said Luis V. Gutiérrez, an Illinois Democrat. “We’re going to take that seriously?”
Representative José E. Serrano, Democrat of New York, on the other hand, called the boycott “cynical and unnecessary.”
“Now Puerto Rico needs to come before Congress to ask for a change in status,” he said in a statement. “In democracies, the will of the voters is respected, and Congress has a duty to listen and act upon these results so that Puerto Rico can be decolonized once and for all.”
Mr. McClintock said the 23 percent turnout figure was misleading because so many Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland in recent years. Puerto Rico is losing about 90,000 people a year to states such as Florida and Texas. Many members of Congress are elected with much lower participation than that, and even President Trump got to the White House on the voice of about a quarter of the United States electorate, he said.
But records show the government purged more than half a million voters from the rolls in the months before the vote. Had the elections commission used the rolls from the November general election, the official turnout percentage would have been even lower.
The numbers matter, because it will probably take an overwhelming vote to force Congress to take the issue seriously. So both sides were breaking out calculators and past vote results to make arguments in their favor.
“It’s all spin,” José Fuentes, a statehood advocate, said by phone as he boarded a flight to Washington. “We can spin as well.”
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump had said the people of Puerto Rico deserved the right of self-determination. “The will of the Puerto Rican people in any status referendum should be considered as Congress follows through on any desired change in status for Puerto Rico, including statehood,” he said.
On Monday, the Trump administration was more circumspect.
“This referendum is nonbinding and only Congress can change Puerto Rico’s status,” the White House said in a statement.
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