Few Here Voting in Mexican Election

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Few Here Voting in Mexican Election


Byline: Elena Ferrarin eferrarin@dailyherald.com By Elena Ferrarin eferrarin@dailyherald.com

When Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes died in May, Blanca Trejo watched an interview during which he talked about the Mexican presidential election, and his words sparked her interest in politics.

Trejo, 39, a student at College of DuPage, is among about 45,500 Mexicans living in the United States registered to vote from abroad. Altogether, about 59,000 people around the world registered. As of Saturday, the Federal Electoral Institute [URL]website;http://www.dupageco.org/cobrd/[/URL] showed that about 39,100 ballots from abroad had been received for today's vote, for a turnout of 66 percent.

According to recent polls, presidential candidate Enrique Pe[+ or -]a Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party has a sizable lead over Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party, and Josefina Vasquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party.

Mexicans abroad have been allowed to vote in the presidential election since 2006 -- presidents serve 6-year terms. But of the estimated 12 million Mexicans living in the U.S., fewer than 0.5 percent are registered online to vote absentee in Mexico.

Trejo didn't vote the first time because she wasn't that interested, she said. This time, she cast her vote for Lopez Obrador, the candidate favored by Carlos Fuentes, she said.

More people don't vote "because they don't believe in it -- they are busy working, they don't really know what is going on," she said.

But the main reason the number registered to vote is minuscule is that Mexicans can only register to vote in Mexico, and not through consulates abroad as is allowed by other countries, said Xchitl Bada, assistant professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Those who are able to go back to Mexico to register to vote are "binational sophisticated travelers," Bada said. "University students, H-1B (visa) workers, long-term workers. …

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