Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mexicans voting abroad

I was talking to my dad about Mexicans voting abroad, and realized I didn’t know what the results were—he tracked down a press account and official data, which actually has been out there a while. For the first time this year, Mexican citizens could vote for president. After years of debate, this change was passed by the Mexican government, which (like other Latin American governments, which have been making or debating the same change) wants to keep contact with their expatriates, who funnel remittances back home.

But thus far, Mexicans in the U.S. seem to remain disconnected from politics, as only 1 percent voted. Of those, 58 percent voted for Calderón—no tie here. From the article:

Many of Lopez Obrador's supporters were poor Mexicans who immigrated illegally to the United States looking for a better life.

This is logical, though I haven’t yet looked at the IFE data. However, as Matthew Shugart has pointed out, poor Mexicans also vote for the PRI, with lower middle classes often voting PRD. I wonder if this pattern changes for immigrants. Given the hassle of requesting an absentee ballot, going to an official polling location, etc. it is also reasonable to argue that more recent, and poorer, immigrants, will also be less likely to vote in the first place. Maybe even less than at home.


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