Mexicans can vote in 2 countries this year!
This year, Mexican immigrants with US citizenship can vote for the U.S. presidential candidates as well as in the upcoming presidential elections in Mexico, by absentee ballot.
Unlike many of my friends living in this country, I’m not yet a naturalized US citizen, which among other things, also means that I’m unable to vote here. I can’t say enough how much I am against the Republicans (all of them) and how Obama has my vote--only he doesn't, because I can't give it to him...sigh.
The truth is, even though I've lived in New York for the last 15 years and cherish my life in this country, my heart and soul remains Mexican, so come July 1,I will be voting for the Mexican Federal elections. The only problem is, that unlike here in the US, there’s really no Mexican candidate I want to vote for, but that’s another story.
In 2005 Mexico approved electoral reforms that allowed citizens living abroad to vote during presidential elections, but the overall participation in 2006 was low. 56,312 people registered and only 33,111 voted. People blamed the turnout on ridiculous requirements that included paying a fee and showing proof of residency in the United States. For the upcoming elections those requirements have been dropped, but Mexican law still requires an IFE credential (even an expired one) in order to vote abroad.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31.8 million people of Mexican origin live in the United States and collectively Mexican immigrants represent about 15 percent of the electorate. But all these numbers aside, only about 25,000 Mexicans living abroad have registered.
So why is the largest expatriate population in the world so uninvolved in issues affecting their homeland? The opinions are quite varied. A Mexican political consultant told me that many Mexicans trying to build new lives in America already have so many issues to deal with, like immigration laws and education rights, so they find it difficult to focus on what’s happening back home.
But we cannot deny the fact that there’s is also a real lack of hope for the possibility of change back home in Mexico. People are tired of the political process, the deteriorating security, the violence and corruption (among so many other things).
I secretly hoped that Mexicans living in the United States would take action and vote during this election, but the more I reflect about it the more I understand why they won't. Even Mexicans in Mexico want to abstain from voting. It is sad but true.
I will travel back to Mexico to vote during the summer and many of my friends have gone through the hassle of registering their IFE card at the Mexican Consulate to guarantee their right to vote this summer. I just really wish that there was a strong and charismatic candidate that Mexico could vote, and hope, for.
Image via jubilo haku/flickr