Jul 4, 2012

Citizen organization denounces voting irregularities and coercion

CNN Mexico: Americas Program Original Translation
See Spanish Original.
28.4% of citizens were exposed to at least one experience of vote-buying, reported Civic Alliance 

The presidential election on July 1st in Mexico “was not a clean or fair one”, concluded the civil organization Civic Alliance after carrying out an observational study of the elections.

Observers detected that 28.4% of citizens were exposed to at least one experience of vote-buying and vote coercion.

After processing 91% of the information collected in 21 federal entities, the organization concluded that 71% of the pressure to vote for a party was in favor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) coalition and the Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM); following with 17% in favor of the National Action Party (PAN), 9% in favor of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) and 3% for the New Alliance.

“This election is unsatisfactory, when we see these reports that give evidence that there were commissions of crimes, irregular practices, enormous secret spending. The fairness in this election is broken,” said Eduadro Huchim, member of the organization and former electoral councilor of Mexico City.

After taking 3,158 surveys, Civic Alliance announced on Tuesday that in 21% of the voting stations the principal of exercising a free and confidential vote was violated by different causes such as: people observing inside the partitions, that the voters were supposed to show their vote to someone to receive gifts, citizens exercising some type of pressure on the voters and that “it was detected that one or various children accompanied different citizens on different occasions to vote.”

This last practice, that the Civic Alliance named the use of “children as hawks,” was detected in the State of Mexico, Jalisco, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, when under-age minors received pay for accompanying voters on different occasions to vote and leave the voting station; they were informed that this had been seen.

“Introducing children to this electoral fraud is reprehensible, not only the employment of an infant, teaching them to commit a crime,” said Huchim.

Civic Alliance is a civil organization founded in 1994 and presided by the academic Sergio Aguayo, researcher from the Colegio de Mexico and member of the National System of Researchers, who before the election expressed his intention to vote for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, presidential candidate of the Progressive Movement.

The vicepresident is Manuela Herrera Rodríguez, the treasurer Rebeca Véjar de la Barrera and the executive director Beatriz Camacho Carrasco, who have coordinated and participated in various electoral observation and citizen participation projects.

Gift offers and breakfasts for voting
The Civic Alliance observation study revealed that in 14% of the voting stations there was transport of people to the polling place and that 18% of the citizens felt “pressured” to go to vote.

This pressure was carried out in 5.55% of the cases because “they came to my door so that I would go to vote”; but also there was report of giving breakfasts, delivering gifts, or telephone calls to go to the voting stations.

Civic Alliance carried out this study with the participation of 500 observers in 183 polling places that carried out 3,158 surveys. The margin of error is from +/- 3.75% and the confidence level is 75%.

The organization said that during the electoral day on Sunday they conducted different complaints before the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes (Fepade), which, at the moment, is not expected to take any other legal step on the basis of this report.

“The result of the operation of vote buying and coercion is difficult to quantify and the IFE, the Fepade and the Tribunal are insufficient authorities and, in some cases, inefficient for such a grave problem,” cited the Civic Alliance report that stated without specific sanctions against political parties that exceed the campaign spending limits to invest in vote buying practices, conditions make possible an electoral process where “impunity prevails”.

“The violation of campaign limits, is not grounds for being eliminated from the election, so this allows parties to violate the regulations because they will not lose their position,” said Beatriz Camacho.

The organization indicated that the electoral authorities made a call in favor of the vote during the political campaigns, but “without any intent to promote political rights, electoral rights and the free and private right to vote.”

Translation by Bonnie Ho, Americas Program

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