Mexico's Antifraud Plan Could Keep California Elections Fair

By Billingsley, K. L. | Insight on the News, August 18, 1997 | Go to article overview

Mexico's Antifraud Plan Could Keep California Elections Fair


Billingsley, K. L., Insight on the News


The recent Mexican elections provided strong evidence that our southern neighbor is moving away from authoritarianism toward a modern, fully functioning democracy while striving to clean up decades of fraud and corruption. In fact, Mexico could give the United States lessons in how to eliminate some electoral corruption.

As photos of the proceedings showed, when a Mexican national came to vote, an electoral official opened a thick book of photos and verified his identity. Further, under current Mexican policy, officials of opposition parties are allowed into polling places and also may verify the identity of voters.

Compare that with what goes on in California, where no such photo verification takes place and where one may register to vote sight unseen under "motor-voter" measures while applying for a driver's license. "The registrar does not see the person, and that's where the danger lies," says Joseph Russionello, a former U.S. attorney in San Francisco who found widespread voter fraud during a 1982 investigation. His investigation was suspended by a judge, but the fraud continues.

Mario Aburto Martinez, the Mexican national who assassinated presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994, was illegally registered to vote in Los Angeles. And he is far from alone.

According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 4,023 illegal voters possibly cast ballots in the disputed congressional election between Republican Robert Dornan and Democrat Loretta Sanchez in California's 46th District. An ongoing investigation by California's Secretary of State Bill Jones shows that as many as 890 people unlawfully registered to vote on cards provided by a single organization, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, one of dozens of immigration groups active in Southern California. …

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