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Mexicans in U.S. Stage Mock Vote to Protest Rules

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Angered that they won’t be able to vote in next weekend’s presidential election, thousands of Mexican citizens throughout Southern California held their own symbolic vote Sunday.

Because Mexican citizens are prevented by law from casting absentee ballots from outside the country, organizers staged the mock election to call for change in Mexican electoral laws.

The balloting--organized by the Democratic Revolutionary Party, one of Mexico’s leading opposition parties, and the State Human Rights Commission, a grass-roots organization operating throughout California--was held at more than 20 locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The results will be announced at a news conference this morning in front of the Mexican Consulate.

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“I came here to Los Angeles to flee from misery and corruption in Mexico,” said Javier Narvaez, 48, a truck driver who cast his vote in Huntington Park. “But the corruption’s followed me--now I can’t even vote for my country’s president.”

Organizers maintain that Mexico prohibits citizens abroad from voting because the government, which is controlled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, is afraid of the opposition.

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates the number of potentially eligible Mexican citizens residing in the United States at more than 2.5 million.

“We send money to our families back in Mexico, and many of us eventually plan to return. We’re an important part of our country’s future,” said Melesio Mejia, one of the organizers of the mock elections.

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Mexican citizens living outside their home country are entitled to vote but must return to Mexico to do so. In response to complaints, the Mexican government has set up polling stations along the border.


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