Monday, August 1

Will immigrants vote in Mexico’s 2006 election?

This is why Mexico will not be of any help with illegal immigration problem, unless our government starts holding them accountable for it. Maybe the US should bill Mexico for each illegal we have to process and return. They are in it for the money, and it's costing us millions.

Now, with their new election reform allowing abstentee voting by Mexicans in the US, there is going to be a huge political interest and influence on this issue. Whether this will help or not, I don't know. Maybe if illegal immigrants here in the US start participating in their homeland political process, and it actually helps improve the situation in Mexico, maybe then they will have some motivation to go back home. Who knows...Wishful thinking.
For many years one of the most discussed topics among Mexican immigrants in El Norte was whether they would ever again be allowed to participate in Mexico’s electoral process, which at best was perceived as rigid and unyielding to change. Earlier this month however, the Mexican government granted expatriates a limited right to vote by certified mail in the upcoming 2006 presidential election. Without estimating the likely levels of participation, many experts have suggested that this historic change actually represents de facto recognition of the billions of U.S. dollars that the expatriates annually send back to their families in Mexico.

The 2006 presidential campaign promises to be especially bruising, even by the brutal standards of Mexican politics. Clearly one of the most crucial questions now facing Mexico’s three major political parties is whether the expatriates, (99 percent of whom reside in the U.S., will seize this opportunity and vote in the presidential plebiscite.

The 2000 presidential election brought a transfer of executive (but not legislative) power from the previously dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to the essentially regional opposition, the National Action Party (PAN). This milestone was achieved because a majority of the Mexican body politic finally coalesced to end a system that allowed the presidential incumbent to anoint his successor through the “dedazo,” or by pointing a finger at the chosen one. Expatriate Mexicans largely supported the candidacy of Vicente Fox Quesada, whom they saw as a fundamental agent of change for the country they loved but had left for better opportunities.

Now, less than a year before the next national elections, vast numbers of Mexicans — including most expatriates — view Fox’s presidency to date as a failure.

Various authorities have estimated the pool of eligible expatriate Mexican voters at between 10 and 11 million. However, it appears that only 4 million or so are properly registered by Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE). Going by the logical assumption that few if any of the expatriates, documented or otherwise, will return to Mexico simply to register to vote in a restricted presidential election, even universal participation (which no one expects) will produce a potential turnout of less than 40 percent.