Ballots have closed in what could be the election with largest voter turnout in Mexico’s democratic history. In the state of Nuevo León, the Comisión Estatal Electoral (State Electoral Commission) reported that they registered 65 percent of the voter list.
Milenio TV, BCG-Excelsior, GEA-ISA and TV Azteca exit polls report that Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto winning by a wide margin. The preliminary results counting mechanism has already began registering results and should have a significant percentage confirmed by 11:45pm tonight when the president of the Instituto Federal Electoral (Federal Electoral Institute—IFE) will go live on national television to provide a report.
Special voting booth locations, where people attend to if they are from a different state to where they are on the date of elections, had long lines of people who waited up to 6 hours to cast their vote. In many of them, the 750 ballots used where not enough and people had to try to go to different locations after the representatives told them they had ran out of ballots.
Social networks played an important role in both voter turnout and in observing the elections. From very early on, voters used Twitter to report on questionable and unlawful practices in the different localities. Pictures of armed people in or around voting areas, reports of stolen ballots and of people trying to buy votes circulated the Internet, a reflection of an observant citizenry catalyzed by technology. The FEPADE (Fiscalía Especializada para la Atención de Delitos Electorales), the contact person for electoral offenses, has declared that while there have been unlawful events reported these are significantly less than in previous years.
This historic election is also tarnished by the reported murder of a Nuevo León “Morena” (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional, or Movement of National Regeneration) coordinator Tomás Betancourt, found dead with multiple gunshots.
Society’s engagement in this election, and the negative events herein reported, remind us that while we are making progress in our democratic journey Mexico still has a long way to go.
Arjan Shahani is a contributing blogger to AQ Online. He lives in Monterrey, Mexico, and is an MBA graduate from Thunderbird University and Tecnológico de Monterrey and a member of the International Advisory Board of Global Majority—an international non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of non-violent conflict resolution.