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Corchado on Mexican Absentee Voting
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August 09, 2011, 04:12 AM
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Alfredo Corchado, staff writer for the Dallas Morning News, writes in Expats Want Better Absentee Voting Efforts [ August 6, 2011, dateline Mexico City)]:

Mexican immigrant groups are calling for a campaign across the U.S., including in Dallas, to protest what they call the Mexican government’s lack of political will in encouraging voters to cast absentee ballots.

Just to make it clear, this article is talking about absentee ballots, cast by Mexicans, in Mexican elections.

The groups want Mexicans to contact local consulate offices [in the U.S.] to demand that voting procedures be changed or to boycott future elections, said Primitivo Rodriguez, director of the Coalition for the Political Rights of Mexicans Abroad.

“The Mexican government talks from both sides of their mouths,” Rodriguez said. “They want Mexicans abroad to remain connected here [in Mexico], but when it comes to having a say-so in internal elections, we remain invisible.”

Mexico’s next presidential election is in July, but few absentee ballots are expected to be cast.

Immigrant rights groups have been lobbying [the Mexican]congress and the [Mexican] Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, to change voting rules. Some revisions have been made. For example, Mexicans living outside Mexico will need only to fill out an application and have a photocopy of their IFE-issued voter ID card to vote.

For information on the Mexican voter card, see my article Why is Mexico’s Voter Registration System Better Than Ours?

IFE officials said the agency also will promote a new voter registration process through Mexican consulates. An estimated 98 percent of Mexican citizens abroad live in the U.S. Voter registration begins Oct. 1.

Rodriguez and others wanted more substantial changes, including having a presidential debate in one of four markets: Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles or New York City.

So it looks like there won’t be a Mexican presidential debate on U.S. soil in 2012.

In 2006, Mexico joined Greece, Ireland, Ukraine and other nations that give expatriates absentee voting privileges. [The U.S. also has it - when I was an expatriate I voted in U.S. elections.] But regulations made the process so cumbersome that less than 1 percent of the estimated 10 million to 12 million Mexicans in the U.S. turned out to cast ballots in the 2006 presidential election.

Critics blamed poor planning, apathy, little publicity, a ban on campaign appearances outside of the country and tedious procedures for low voter turnout. To vote, immigrants had to pay $10, fill out an application and have it postmarked by registered mail.