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Posted on 01-06-2012
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Will Migrants matter in the Mexican election?

vote won’t be completely confined to the presidential contest. For the first time, migrants having a Mexico City address on their federal voter identification card, which also bears a photo, will be permitted to vote for the city’s next mayor. In view of the capital city’s population and economic clout, some analysts consider the Mexico City mayor the second most powerful political position in the country,
Under the slogan “Your Election has no Borders-Vote Chilango,” the Federal District Electoral Institute has embarked on a promotional campaign of its own.
However, controversy has accompanied the process. In November three political parties-the PRI, Mexican Green Party and PAN-filed two separate challenges, mainly over earlier plans to allow electronic voting by means of the Internet.
According to the official website dedicated to the Mexico City election, voting will be conducted by mail, with the same registration deadline as the federal election. Migrants voting for Mexico City mayor will be required to vote for president by the same method, as their names will be temporarily withdrawn from the in-country voter list.
Like the federal registration process, the one underway in Mexico City is drawing the most response from migrants in the United States, though the Mexican media reports applications also arriving from Canada, Europe, Brazil, Argentina,
China, and Australia.
In recent years, Mexico’s different political actors have accorded greater recognition to the potential importance of the Other Mexico in fashioning the country’s future. Since 2007, migrants from the southwestern state of Michoacan have been allowed to cast ballots from abroad in state elections.
But like the 2006 presidential election, participation in last November’s controversial state election was disappointing. Merely 341 votes from Michoacan residents abroad were tallied, compared with 2007’s slightly higher but still
paltry total of 349. The majority of last year’s migrant votes went to losing PAN gubernatorial candidate Maria “Cocoa” Calderon, the sister of President Felipe Calderon.
Some press stories noted that each vote cost about $4,000 in total government expenditures, but one local election official justified the public expense by citing the importance of migrant remittances to the local economy, which represented a cash infusion of $1.1 billion in 2010 alone.
“The people from Michoacan who live across the border, who now reside in the United States but maintain ties with their family members ...
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