Groups Rally in Support of Mexico Recount

by Alexa Tondreau on August 11, 2006

Today the rules committee will hear a resolution that would urge Mexico to do a ballot-by-ballot recount of its recent – and highly contested – presidential election. The resolution has been winding its way through City Hall for almost a month now, meeting early opposition because of the way it was specifically worded. But in the meantime, groups in San Francisco have been doing what they can to support the recount and to support the people who live in our city and whose lives are connected to our neighbor country.

One of these is a committee called Defense of the Vote 2006 that is comprised of Mexican immigrants who want to publicly decry the fraud that they believe is taking place in conjunction with the election. All of its members, including spokesman Miguel Robles, believe that beginning pre-campaign the election has not been honest or fair and that if the vote is accepted without a recount, the democratic process in Mexico will receive a deadly blow.

“It’s going to be bad for the democratic process,” Robles said, “there is so much evidence that the real votes have been kept hidden from the beginning.”

In July, the New York Times sampled six precincts and found that they had all miscounted their votes in the favor of candidate Felipe Calderon. Additionally, videos were recovered that showed ballot box stuffing in the state of Guanjuato and an election official who refused to recount a box that later was proved to have discrepancies that favored Calderon.

Robles said that Defense of the Vote 2006 were concerned for immigrants in San Francisco and the Bay Area because their lives are so integrally connected to Mexico and to the status of their country’s democracy.

“Mexico has the kind of system that pushes people to other countries. It’s always the poorest people who are effected by these politics,” Robles said.

Defense of the Vote 2006 has been organizing events all around the City in support of the recount and also the recount legislation, designed by Supervisor Chris Daly, which would give San Francisco’s support to this cause. They held a protest in front of the Mexican Consulate and marched in the Mission. As well they held a concert with a series of speakers and bands, specifically supporting Supervisor Daly.

The committee is scheduled to meet with Supervisor Daly on Thursday, August 10th, to voice their concern and show support for his legislation. Robles says he worries that all of the effort “will be too late,” because at any time the Mexican Federal Electoral Tribunal can choose to endorse the current election results.

Another organization in support of a recount is La Raza Legal Central. The group, which offers legal support and guidance to Mexican immigrants, plans to attend the hearing at City Hall on Thursday. An organizer for the group, Renee Saucedo, says that they want to see a recount because it would benefit so many of the clients that they work with.

Although La Raza Central Legal hasn’t issued a public statement, they have been aware of local activities through the involvement of their clients. Saucedo thinks that it’s an exciting time for Mexicans living here and in Mexico because “they are taking control of the electoral process in new ways.”

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