US protectorates vote in primaries only?

Why does Puerto Rico get to help determine a nominee, but not vote in the actual election? What’s the point? If their vote is good enough to decide who should run for president, why isn’t their vote good enough to decide which person should be the actual president? Or do they actually vote in the general election?

They are not protectorates. PR is a territory and wants to remain that way. They don’t get Electoral votes as they don;t have Congresscritters- the total of Electors= Reps+ Senators.

per wiki:
*Puerto Rico has a republican form of government,[22] subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sovereignty.[2] Its current powers are all delegated by the United States Congress and lack full protection under the United States Constitution. Puerto Rico’s head of state is the President of the United States. The government of Puerto Rico, based on the formal republican system, is composed of three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The Executive branch is headed by the Governor, currently Mr. Anibal Acevedo Vila. The Legislative branch consists of a bicameral Legislative Assembly made up of a Senate upper chamber and a House of Representatives lower chamber. The Senate is headed by the President of the Senate, while the House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker of the House. The Judicial branch is headed by the Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. The legal system is a mix of the civil law and the common law systems. The governor and legislators are elected by popular vote every four years. Members of the Judicial branch are appointed by the governor with the “advice and consent” of the Senate.

Puerto Rico has limited representation in the U.S. Congress in the form of a nonvoting delegate, formally called a Resident Commissioner (currently Luis Fortuño). The current Congress has returned the Commissioner’s power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation.[23] Puerto Rican elections are governed by the Federal Election Commission;[24][25] While residing in Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections, but they can vote in primaries. Puerto Ricans who become residents of a U.S. state can vote in presidential elections.*

They get to vote in Primaries as the Parties have decided they could.

PR is a “commonwealth”, not a territory or protectorate, for whatever that means. Guam has a primary too, and so do “Democrats Abroad”.

The idea is that even Americans not residing in a state are subject to actions of the federal government, and should have *some * voice in selecting its leaders. It costs little to appear inclusive, even if the Constitution prevents non-state-residents from voting for President in the general election.

Recent thread asking the same question (surprise surprise, from the day of the Guam primary):

Guam votes in U.S. primary?

The simple reason is that primary votes and electoral votes in the actual presidential election are allocated by different bodies. The Constitution specifies which entities are allocated electoral votes - and it did so by giving electors to the states and, in the 23rd amendment, to the District of Columbia. Delegates to the party conventions are, however, allocated by the parties. Obviously, party bodies are of the opinion that Puerto Rico should get votes, while the movement for constitutional reform to give electors to Puerto Rico has not been successful so far.

The difference is that the Presidential election process is governed by the US Constitution, while the candidate nomination process is governed by each political party. Any political party can (and indeed has a strong First Amendment right to) select its candidate in any manner it sees fit.

The Democratic and Republican parties have chosen to use primary elections and caucuses in each state, the District of Columbia, and many territories. The Democrats also count the votes of “Democrats Abroad.” Both major parties have elected officials and party leaders as “superdelegates” whose votes generally count equally to the delegates elected by the voting contests.

The general election, however is controlled by the Constitution. Article II, sec 1 provides:
Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.Under this clause, the each State (and only States) may legislatively direct how presidential electors are chosen. All States have legislated that the electors will be selected by direct election by the voters (though they could just as Constitutionally be legislatively appointed, though this would no doubt inspire a prompt Constitutional amendment).

The one exception to the clause that only States select electors for President was introduced by the 23rd Amendment, which provides that the District of Columbia may select presidential electors, though only the number chosen by the least populous State.

In short, the reason the territories don’t vote for President is that the Constitution doesn’t provide that they will do so, and the Constitution is what controls the process.

I thought that most states had provisions for former residents living abroad to vote in the presidential election?

Yes, they do. What he means to say is, that the Constitution prevents anyone anywhere from voting in the general election under the aegis of anything other than a state government or DC.

Theoretically, I guess any State could enfranchise a territory by deciding to include its people in the State’s presidential election. It would only make sense for a big state, but I could imagine New York enfranchising Puerto Rico or California enfranchising Guam. They still wouldn’t have any votes in Congress, though, and the added voters would not increase the State’s Electoral College votes.

A rose by any other name…

Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands style themselves as “commonwealths” rather than “territories,” probably because it sounds less subordinate that way, but they’re territories nonetheless. And just to further confuse the situation, four states (Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) style themselves as Commonwealths rather than States, but there’s absolutely no difference between them and other states.

As for the OP, the political parties can choose their candidates any way they see fit. The Democratic Party could have Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama thumb-wrestle each other to see who wins the primaries, while the Republicans could have John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney play blackjack for the nomination. The only thing that stops them from doing so is internal party rules.

The actual elections, on the other hand, are controlled by Federal Law and the Constitution.