Some Mexican voters in Texas encountered problems voting in Mexico’s presidential contest

Some who registered to vote in consular offices were met with long lines or were unable to cast their ballots.

By Sean SaldanaJune 6, 2024 3:01 pm,

Earlier this week, Mexicans made history by electing their first-ever female president, Claudia Sheinbaum.

As part of Mexico’s voting law, citizens living abroad were able to cast ballots at some 23 of the country’s consular offices worldwide. Two of those were here in the Lone Star State. 

Over the past week, people from around Texas made their way to Houston and Dallas to cast their votes. There were, however, some complications, as you may have heard. 

Greta Díaz González Vázquez is a producer and reporter with KUT who joined the Standard to talk about Mexican politics. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.

This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:

Texas Standard: I know you reported locally inside Mexico, not too far from Mexico City, for many years. Tell us about your trip to the consulate in Houston on Election day. What did you see?

Greta Díaz González Vázquez: So I got there at 10 a.m. That’s when voting was supposed to start, and there was already a huge line. It was hundreds of people. The line went around the block and people were just, like, really excited to cast their ballots and some people were there for more than ten hours. 

Now, I understand that there have been reports that some were turned away. They registered, but they weren’t able to cast their ballots. Are you hearing those stories?

Yes. So people who registered, you could either register to vote and then your ballot would be secured at the consulate, or the consulate’s also had 1,500 ballots for those who couldn’t register for many reasons.

And so a lot of the people in line hadn’t registered. But it was the same line for people who had registered and people who hadn’t registered. It was expected that 258,000 people would vote abroad, and only 184,000 ballots were cast. It was a little bit over 184,000. 

So much of the media reporting here in the U.S. is focused on her historic win as the first woman to become Mexico’s president. What about in Mexico?

I think this was long expected.

Mexico has been working on gender equality in politics for a very long time. In the last 2 or 3 decades, we have achieved gender equality in different places in politics. In fact, in 2018, the elected Senate was majority woman.

So I think this is something that we were expecting, but it wasn’t taken for granted for sure that this is the first woman president and it was celebrated by a lot of people.

I know that leading up to this election, Sheinbaum was very much a supporter of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But there’s lots of commentary about where AMLO goes after he leaves office and to what extent we may see him working in the wings behind the scenes – some go so far as to say pulling the strings in a Sheinbaum administration. What’s known on that score?

So something that we have to note and we have to take into consideration, is that López Obrador won the presidency in 2018 under the idea of a whole project that would transform the country. He calls it 4T – the Fourth Transformation of the country.

And so the project 4T puts people in poverty first. And this is something that Sheinbaum has repeated, and this is something she repeated during her speech this Sunday. So it’s very clear that she will continue with this project of 4T, of the Fourth Transformation. She has said that she will raise the minimum salary whenever it’s needed.

That said, there’s those who have also pointed out that she has distanced herself a little bit as Mexico City governor or mayor. She distanced herself from him during the pandemic. She wore a face mask when he didn’t. There were little actions that said a lot.

But during her speech on Sunday, she gave hints of not being as far to the left as Andrés Manuel has been. She said she would rule for everybody, and that she would need investment that the country needed from private investors, something that Andrés Manuel has long ignored. 

» RELATED: What does Claudia Sheinbaum’s election in Mexico mean for the future?

Greta, what do you see as changing, or is more remaining the same, when it comes to Sheinbaum now taking over as president?

I think that’s something we will have to wait and see what happens, just because for so long it’s been said that she has been a puppet of Andrés Manuel, and once again, she has distanced herself in so many ways. But in so many others she has followed suit on his actions.

I think during the first months we will see if she sits down with families of victims of femicides or with mothers of people who are missing. We’ll see how she treats the media – if she will have a mañanera, which is the president’s press conference that he gives every single morning, or even if she will fund scientific research again, because that was something that was defunded during this current presidency.

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