Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mexico elections: annulling the vote

According to El Imparcial, Mexican law stipulates 11 reasons for a vote to be annulled from any given poll. I'm not sure how this helps us too much, since the fight is not over an annullment but rather over a recount, but this article is getting lots of attention here.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't give us a numerical list or even a bulleted list, but instead mixes up the legal requirements with lots of verbiage. I've counted the list 3 times and come up with 9, 13 and 15 different reasons. I'll do my best.:

  • Locating the casilla (polling place) in a location other than that prescribed by law.
  • Delivering the paquete containing the ballots outside the time limits as prescribed by law.
  • Tallying the votes in a location other than that prescribed by the law.
  • Holding the voting on a day or time other than that prescribed by law.
  • Unauthorized persons or groups monitoring or supervising the vote inside the casillas.
  • Counting the votes under false pretences or with willful misconduct or making an error, only when such would determine the outcome of the vote.
  • Permitting citizens to vote without their Voter ID card or when their names do not appear on the computerized voter list, only when such participation would determine the outcome of the vote.
  • To impede the access of or expel the political parties' representatives from the casillas or Juntas Distritales (District Committees whch tally the votes).
  • Committing physical violence or pressure against the poll workers or the members of the Juntas Distritales or individual voters when these actions would determine the result of the election.
  • The existance of grave irregularities, fully proven and irreversible (can't be rectified), in the duration of the campaigns, the conduct of the voting and the conduct of the vote tallying, that put the will of the voters in doubt and would be determinate of the final result.

So, there you go. It's not really much help, unless we are talking semantics here, and what the Mexican's mean in this case by "annullment" is annulling the count, rather than the election itself. I do believe, however, that the magistrates who must now adjudicate all the disputes and certify the winner do have the authority to annul the vote on a casilla by casilla basis. Meaning that they could order a new vote in various locations around the country if they were to find that any of the above mentioned defects could have, might have or would have determined the final result.

The key clause that I kept running into was "siempre y cuando", which means "only when", the defects "sea" or "sean", which can mean "would" or "might", determine the results. In an election this close, that could mean that every properly documented irregularity found would result in a recount of some number of paquetes. I still don't see any justification under the law for opening all of the paquetes and conducting a 100% recount.

AMLO and the PRD are doing what they should logically be doing in the aftermath of an election this close. They are challenging every Junta Distrital with the vote tallying as well as the actions taken throughout election day in almost every casilla. I say almost every casilla because there are reports that the PRD "forgot" to present challenges at some number of casillas do to bureauocratic snafus internal to the PRD. The gigantic mistake that AMLO made was in the name-calling and accusations of fraud against the president and the IFE. That might have played great to his most loyal base but has turned almost everyone else against him, including some in his own party.

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