Irregularities in the count taint Mexican elections

Mexico held elections in six of its states on June 4th.  Regrettably, both the quick count that was used to publish unofficial results and the Preliminary Electoral Results Program (PREP) showed serious problems.  Additionally, the tallying is taking place very slowly and several states are still waiting for results.

The quick count is a statistical procedure to estimate the trend of results after polls close; therefore, the data is unofficial. PREP is the mechanism used to divulge the electoral returns after these have been scanned, and uploaded to a website.

The more negative instances of the day are the states of Coahuila and Mexico, since political actors have abandoned the count altogether and there are accusations of fraud.

In the case of Coahuila, all opposition parties, including PAN, are denouncing irregularities.  This political party abandoned the counting process and announced that is preparing legal action against the vote, hoping for a redo of the election since they estimate some 20% of the ballot boxes were tampered with.  Additionally, the president of the National Electoral Institute (INE), Lorenzo Córdova, admitted that the PREP tallied only 72% of the election returns.

Amidst these failures and suspicion, Gabriela León Farías, chairwoman of the Coahulia Electoral Institute (IEC) reacted, four days after the vote and still with no final results, by stating that “there are no conditions that merit an annulment of the elections”, since every polling station is being counted, vote by vote.

While in Coahulia tensions are mounting, in Mexico state there were situations that show once again the weaknesses of the country’s manual voting procedures.

Four days after the voting, the tallying is still ongoing, while the Mexico State Electoral Institute signed off on the recount of 17% of the polling stations, that is, 3.189 of the 18.605 installed, as a result of the inconsistencies detected.

On the other hand, the political party Morena, whose candidate for the governor’s office, Delfina Gómez Álvarez, is second in the count, has contested the results since she considers the PREP showed anomalies, and all public statements hint at fraud.

The crux of the issue is that Morena states there are inconsistencies between the votes reflected on the returns by the electoral colleges, and those divulged by the PREP.  This situation is ever more relevant when we consider that the difference between the top two candidates for the office is less than 3%.

Failures like the ones in these elections have taken place in Mexico in other occasions.  Every time, authorities promise improvements or maintain that the system works despite the difficulties.

However, this country has a task pending: delivering to their electorate a voting model that is exact, respects the will of the people and is swift.  To achieve this, they must go forward with technology, and not the kind that just renews errors (like PREP), but a robust kind that modernizes the country’s electoral landscape.


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