Mexicans in LA protest difficulty voting in Mexico elections

Ruxandra Guidi/KPCC

Protesters outside the Mexican Consulate.

A group of Mexican community leaders want to change voting laws in their native country, so they’re banding together in Los Angeles.

While the usual crowd of constituents lined up outside the Mexican Consulate in MacArthur Park, activists and leaders from local organizations stood across the street. They held protest signs, saying the Mexican government does not serve most potential voters who live outside the country.

“We believe that Mexican authorities have a failed strategy in getting out the vote abroad," said Juan Jose Guitierrez, a supporter of Andrews Manuel Lopez Obrador, a left-of-center candidate running in Mexico's July election. "Their requisites are extremely difficult to meet for most.”

Some of these requisites mean first having to travel to Mexico to register and paying up to $30 to return the completed ballot.

Community leader Francisco Moreno says a group of L.A.-based activists recently traveled to Mexico City to request a review of those guidelines.

“We’ve asked the Senate, the electoral council," he said. "We want to be able to get credentials to vote without having to leave the U.S.”

Because of this requirement, Moreno says, a majority of Mexicans who are here illegally are automatically denied their vote. He says there are almost 4 million Mexicans in the U.S. who can vote, but do not. A majority of them live in California.

Numerous interview requests to Mexico’s electoral council went unanswered. However, the council did confirm that there are 45,500 voters registered abroad for this year’s election — almost 12,000 fewer than in the 2006 vote.

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