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Thread: Mexicans living abroad could cast their vote online for the first time in 2021

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Mexicans living abroad could cast their vote online for the first time in 2021

    Mexicans living abroad could cast their vote online for the first time in 2021

    [Consul General Carlos González-Gutiérrez (center-left) with Election Counselor Enrique Andrade during a talk with the community at the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego on Thursday, September 26, 2019. (Alexandra Mendoza/UT en Español)

    The National Electoral Institute (INE) explores the possibility of electronic voting for the next intermediate elections

    OCT. 2, 2019 2:09 PM

    Mexicans living abroad could cast their vote online as soon as the 2021 midterm elections.

    For almost 15 years, voters wanting to participate in Mexican elections from outside the country voted by mail. The new process of voting online will have to go through several tests to make sure it is error free, according to Enrique Andrade, a counselor with Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE).

    “It’s not something simple,” he said during a recent visit to San Diego. “It’s going to depend a lot on the trust in the system”.

    In the 2018 elections, about 182,000 Mexicans registered to vote from abroad and 54 percent cast their ballots. In 2012, almost 60,000 Mexicans registered to vote, with 69 percent participating in the election.

    Last year was the third time that Mexicans were allowed to vote from abroad, but the first one in which they could apply for the credential to vote in the consulate.

    While registrations tripled from 2012 to 2018, the percentage of the roughly 12 million Mexicans who lived outside their country remains low. The INE, an autonomous and independent body, is trying to streamline the process.

    In 2021, Mexico will hold 13 gubernatorial races and numerous congressional races. Eight of the states in which a new governor will be elected allow voting from abroad, including Michoacán, Colima, Zacatecas and Nayarit.

    The INE pilot project includes the launch the online voting system in some of the 2021 races to assess whether it should be extended to the 2024 presidential election.

    Maribel Solache, a San Marcos resident, is one of the 98,000 people who voted in 2018 from abroad. She likes the idea of voting online and replacing a system she described as “bureaucratic”.

    “It is worth taking the risk, having the benefit of the doubt”, she said.

    Two international companies may be hired to test the system and election observers are also being considered. The first time it is used in 2021 will be both online and by mail.

    Rafael Fernández de Castro, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of California San Diego, said the idea is feasible.

    He said the vote will be easier but doubts if it will be enough to trigger greater participation from abroad.

    “Nor is it going to multiply the vote enormously, but I think it is a good measure because it also needs to be modernized,” he added.

    The INE allocated about $6 million for sending and returning electoral packages. While an online voting system would reduce costs, there is still no estimate of how much would be saved.

    In 2009, Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal challenged hackers to infiltrate the voting system from abroad to test their security. Mexico is considering something similar.

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