Monday, July 04, 2005

Election Day: on the ground in Toluca


Turnout seemed heavy, and the voters came in a steady stream from early morning. The usual heavy afternoon rains did not fall in Toluca until after the polls had closed. The media have reported a lighter than expected turnout in other parts of the state.

About a thousand basic, no frills polling stations stretched around the state. The ones I checked seemed to be adequately staffed. A fifty page newspaper supplement told each voter to look on his voter card for the four digit section number, and was then given the street address of where he was eligible to vote.

This Mexican voter card (credencial de elector) is as big as a credit card, and has the voter's signature, fingerprint, and photograph. It has become a national ID card, and is required for opening a bank account or registering your children for school.)

Poll station workers had large books with photocopies of the cards of all the people who had been assigned at that location. If someone showed up at the wrong location, or if the person did not look like the picture, she could not vote. This anti-fraud procedures are a great leap over the ballot box stuffing of the past (and more advanced than anything in the U.S.) Of course, what happens to the votes after they are collected and before the totals are announced remains the weakest link in this process.

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