Monday, November 08, 2004
How Mexico ensures honest elections
It was not too long ago that "Mexican election" was almost an oxymoron. Now, Jorge Ortiz, author of the Digital Evolution blog, writes, reforms have been put in place . . .
In my country (Mexico) which had a long history of election fraud. Fraud is now much more difficult thanks to an independent Comision Federal Electoral, as well as state Comisiones Estatales Electorales, and a very strict and well designed law that defines (and promotes) the voter registration process, and a very detailed system of checks to make sure that fraud is very difficult to makea nd easy to expose if attempted.
Compared to the mexican process, the U.S. system is in the stone age from the point of view of checks and balances. The worst part is the votes are counted by machines, and not by humans who can testify to it´s accuracy. Also, the election is run and audited by goverment employees, not by indepent citizens.
In Mexico voter ID cards (with photo ID) are issued, and every time you vote your finger is marked with a mild acid that will not erase from your fingers for a few days. Votes are sent in exact number to match the registered voters at each polling station, the votes have unique serial numbers to ensure that votes are delivered to the right polling station.
Citizens (randomly chosen from the registration base) act as electoral officials at each polling station. At each polling station, parties appoint observers, who testify to the vote count and sign an act at the end of the day with details on the votes received, votes cancelled, and the vote count for each party. Each party representative gets a sigend copy of the poll count act. The votes (used and unused) and the original act are sealed in a box that is signed by those present to guarantee taht it is not violated, and deleivered to the Electoral Comission. A second copy of the box goes on an outside envolope, and that copy is used for the count, while the original remains inside for auditing if needed.
As poll counts are received, by the Electoral Comisision, the results are captured and published in real time to the internet for public record, and to ensure that other parties can verify the totals against copies in their posession.
In general the system is built assuming fraud will be tried, and the system is built to prevent and expose fraud. That is the only way you can provide credibility to an election process, by a transparent process run by citizens, and audited at every step by citizens and parties.
The Mexican system has many common aspects with the Israeli one. Also, unlike what many people say, the US is *not* the biggest democracy in the world, it's India.Post a Comment