New system lets Mexican citizens abroad vote

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[media-credit name=”Carlos Magana/Staff” align=”alignright” width=”185″][/media-credit]Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) has struggled over the past 60 years to become a modern and influential institution. Since the last presidential election it has penetrated the social web media in order to persuade young Mexicans in the U.S. to vote in presidential elections.
Mary Lopez-Gallo, chancellor of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad in San Diego, said young people have the power through social web media and can influence others.
“The IFE used that as an inspiration to create the online registration process,” she said. “They have created Facebook and Twitter accounts so young people can be well informed about the online registration process as well as promote that same information to other users.”
Other people think that even though this is a good initiative, the program has not been so successful in persuading Mexican migrants to vote in presidential elections.
Luis Valdivia, Hispanic Information Officer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, said there has not been enough campaigning for the online voting registration process. He blamed a lack of information.
“There is only a small amount of interest shown by the people about this process and, as we could see on the past presidential elections, the interest was still very poor,” he said.
Valdivia said the IFE should offer a more motivational campaign to attract Mexican expatriates to vote.
Dalia Moreno, vote coordinator of Residents Abroad for the IFE, said most of these people are unaware that they can still vote in the next presidential elections.
“People must know that only a voting credential is necessary,” she said. “Mexicans with the old credential that was distributed to all Mexican citizens back in 1993, with the ‘03’ termination, have been allowed to use it for the online voting process.”
Lopez-Gallo said there has been a big change from past presidential elections in Mexico since the IFE introduced the online voting process.
“The IFE’s strategy for next year’s contention is now different from what it was like last time,” said Lopez-Gallo. “They are now approaching Mexicans living in the U.S. by using online portals so the IFE can have an accurate count of votes and the amount of people that have registered.”
Moreno said this was a step forward and the IFE now provides online voters with technical assistance.
“In the past elections there were 14,000 online voters that were rejected because they failed to fill out the registration form correctly,” she said.
Lopez-Gallo said it is important for Mexicans to keep strong ties to their roots. That is why candidates have been campaigning outside of Mexico this year, especially in border states talking to people about the importance of their background and the importance of keeping strong ties with their past.
“I must say that I am very proud and amazed by the IFE because of all their efforts,” said Lopez-Gallo. “They have been working very hard to make Mexico a better place for everyone, because obviously every country must work together to make the world go round.”
Even migrants who live in the U.S. are touched by certain Mexican policies, said Valdivia.
“Us who live in the U.S. do not benefit or face any disadvantages from this initiatives in any direct way,” he said. “Although given the globalization and close relationship between Mexico and other countries – especially the U.S. – many of the federal policies still affect us.”
To register online, eligible people must sign in to the IFE web portal www. votoextranjero.mx.
“In our web page, people will be able to find everything they need to know about how to fill out the registration form,” said Moreno. “Like any other page, we also have a frequent Q&A section where they can find additional information about the process.”
Voting begins on April 16, 2012. IFE must have received prospective voters’ registration data prior to voting.

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