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Mexico’s Absentee Total Low

From Associated Press

Fewer than 57,000 Mexican migrants have requested absentee ballots for the presidential election, officials said Thursday -- a showing many say reflects serious flaws in the effort to include millions living abroad.

Migrants have argued that they received little information about the program. They also complained that a requirement forcing them to register for a voting card in Mexico negated the benefit of being able to cast a vote from outside the country.

Many of the estimated 4 million registered Mexican voters living abroad, mainly in the United States, are undocumented and don’t want to return to Mexico. Getting back into the U.S. can mean a dangerous crossing and having to pay a smuggler as much as $2,000.

Lawmakers have said they may make changes to the law. But the changes won’t come in time for the July 2 vote for a successor to President Vicente Fox, who ended 71 years of one-party dominance with his surprise victory in 2000. Mexican law prohibits Fox from seeking reelection.

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Wednesday was the deadline for officials to determine the final number of absentee ballot requests. In a statement, the Federal Electoral Institute said Thursday that officials had received 56,749 valid forms. The absentee ballots themselves will be sent out between April 15 and May 20.

Many say the absentee registration effort was too bureaucratic and restrictive.

Mexican officials “aren’t familiar with the difficulties we live with up north,” said Marcia Soto, president of the Chicago-based Confederation of Mexican Federations, who flew to Mexico City in January to deliver 1,500 ballot applications.


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