Although Mexico stands out as one of the strongest economies in the region, having one of the largest populations and display important indicators of governance, their electoral system model shows a substantial lag compared to least “powerful” nations, or even against Brazil.
The difference was shown the past 3rd of July, when elections to elect governors and renew the municipalities were held in the states of Coahuila, Hidalgo, Nayarit and Mexico. The process, although it took place in calm, made it clear that the current manual voting system continues to show questionable results that call into question its functionality and effectiveness.
According to the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Electoral Crimes, although the elections were done in only four regions, reports of alleged fraud totaled nearly 200 cases, and even the candidate of the PAN for the state government of Mexico, Martha Elena García, said that she would challenge the results.
Another factor that worked against the manual voting, was that the slow count and logistical obstacles forced to reveal unofficial results on the Election Day provided by the Preliminary Electoral Results Program, and four days later the final and formal statement of the votes was disclosed.
This situation contradicts Mexico’s image of a more developed country compared to others in the region, and one of the most solid democracies in Latin America. However, in the electoral practice it holds a considerable delay. Mexico’s acknowledged rival, Brazil, is ruthlessly ahead, as it has 100% automated elections and an almost insignificant level of complaints regarding election results.
Facing the challenge of modernizing the vote, the Federal Electoral Institute will begin to show the transition’s implications next year. For doing so, they are bidding for the acquisition of 1,000 voting machines which will anticipate the Mexicans how to vote from 2015, the estimated date when the first stage of the realization of electronic voting will be completed.
The road Mexico must travel for a modern, transparent, and effective electoral system will not be easy. First, it’s required to make a legal reform that contemplates the use of electronic voting, an area in which the federal electoral authority is late compared to authorities in several states where legislation has already been adequate. It also will merit the organism is equipped with the eventual budget to meet the legal mandate.
The citizens are waiting. The authorities and politicians must decide to match Mexico in the implementation of election technology, which is a recognized and supported model in other Latin American countries.