Win is irreversible, says ruling party's candidate
July 3, 2006 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Mexico's election: now being recounted, but some are saying it was stolen with our help. Many countries in Latin and South America have been moving to the left lately, following in the footsteps of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile. Argentina actually caught us messing with things during their election, too. Exit polls in Mexico (as in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004) showed a lead for the more leftist (relatively) candidate, and for those who scoff at using exit polls as evidence--in 2004, US Republican Senator Richard Lugar, in Kiev, cited the divergence of exit polls and official polls as solid evidence of “blatant fraud” in the vote count in Ukraine. As a result, the Bush Administration refused to recognize the Ukraine government’s official vote tally. So, honest election, or what?
posted by amberglow (64 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent.(17) 'Exit polls are almost never wrong,' Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are 'so reliable,' he added, 'that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.'(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine -- paid for by the Bush administration -- exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)

"But that same month, when exit polls revealed disturbing disparities in the U.S. election, the six media organizations that had commissioned the survey treated its very existence as an embarrassment. Instead of treating the discrepancies as a story meriting investigation, the networks scrubbed the offending results from their Web sites and substituted them with 'corrected' numbers that had been weighted, retroactively, to match the official vote count. Rather than finding fault with the election results, the mainstream media preferred to dismiss the polls as flawed.(21)

'The people who ran the exit polling, and all those of us who were their clients, recognized that it was deeply flawed,' says Tom Brokaw, who served as anchor for NBC News during the 2004 election. 'They were really screwed up -- the old models just don't work anymore. I would not go on the air with them again.'

...From a recent story in Rolling Stone about how GWB stold the 2004 election.
posted by pwb503 at 10:53 PM on July 3, 2006

Spreading democracy, Dubya-style. Maybe SCOTUS can come to the rescue?
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 10:54 PM on July 3, 2006

My google-fu fails me, can you link to a story about the US messing with Argentina's elections? Thanks in advance.
posted by Pacheco at 10:59 PM on July 3, 2006

It would surprise me to learn that the USA is not actively trying to engineer the results of elections in Central/South American countries.
posted by nightchrome at 11:07 PM on July 3, 2006

This is more then a bit paranoid. Where's the evidence that Argentina caught us messing with elections?

Also, from what I understand Mexico's vote is not being recounted it's being counted for the first time. They were going to call the election based on a statistical sampling, but couldn't get one that was precise enough to actually call.

It's not like this or that candidate was expected to win, other then that the PRI guy was expected to lose. People were expecting a tossup. And as far as American liberal taste goes, keep in mind the "leftist" was the first Mexican presidential candidate to speak openly about religion and mention the word "Jesus". So you have a battle between a religious leftist and a secular centrist (The 'conservative' was hardly conservative by American standards. He's more of a Vincente fox type who would be a middle of the road democrat in the US).

That said, I still personally hoped for a Leftist victory, as I hate conservatives quite a bit.
posted by Paris Hilton at 11:15 PM on July 3, 2006

Actually, from what I've gathered doing research about Mexican politics over the last 10 years or so years, these election results seem pretty much exactly what one would predict, US or no US involvement.

Mexicans themselves wouldn't respond too well to American direct involvement, but that doesn't mean that US PR firms and US money were not involved.

How much Mexican money do you think was funneled through Texas into Bush's last campaign? How much "old european" money came in for Kerry?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:16 PM on July 3, 2006

...From a recent story in Rolling Stone about how GWB stold the 2004 election.

RFK Jr. is a hack that thinks thimerisol causes Autism, even though autism rates haven't dropped since it was removed from vaccines (as do many people). This isn't to say that the elections in Ohio were not stolen, just that RFK is a bit of an alarmist.
posted by Paris Hilton at 11:20 PM on July 3, 2006

Who's this 'us'?
posted by pompomtom at 11:35 PM on July 3, 2006

Pacheco: (2003) ... The document lists ten countries in Latin America, including Brazil, that have had data about its citizens transferred to ChoicePoint's computers, and from there to the company's clients that include the offices of the FBI, the INS and another 34 American government agencies

Know everything about everyone all the time could be the slogan for ChoicePoint, but the company has opted for the traditional “information for a more secure world”, which is more appropriate for these taxing new times of the George W. Bush administration. Take a look at the company’s website and draw your own conclusions.
The type of data is not important – voter registrations, identity cards, passports, driver’s licenses, birth or death certificates or medical records. If there is an organized databank anywhere in the world, ChoicePoint buys and then sells it, even to you. Few things escape the company's appetite.

Some of the packages offered by ChoicePoint are valued at US$1 million.

Recently, in one fell swoop, the company got its hands on the voting history [I assume they are talking about where and when they voted, party affiliation, not who they actually voted for] of 30 million Colombians. In Mexico, they've purchased – and resold to who knows – registrations for 6 million drivers and all the voting registrations for whoever voted in the last presidential election. ...

Apparently our government is using this data (We paid ChoicePoint to get it) and directing the challenging of votes and voters in other countries' elections with it. Palast's site has more on the whole thing.
posted by amberglow at 11:36 PM on July 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

How come they get a recount?
posted by loquacious at 11:42 PM on July 3, 2006

AP: ...Stirring memories of the 2000 nail-biter in Florida, electoral officials said a preliminary count gave the conservative Calderon an edge of 1 percentage point over Mexico City's former mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, but refused to declare a winner until an official count begins Wednesday.

Sunday night's quick count, which election officials had hoped would show the winner, proved too close to call, setting off days of uncertainty and cries of fraud by fervent Lopez Obrador backers, still bitter over the many manipulations of the vote that kept the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in power for seven decades until 2000.
Lopez Obrador claimed there were "many irregularities" in the election, including badly reported results, the double counting of votes, and as many as 3 million votes that couldn't be accounted for. He also asked how it was possible that his party won 155 of 300 electoral districts without winning the presidency. Later Monday, Democratic Revolution officials said they would ask for a ballot-by-ballot review of votes in some cases where they believe there were irregularities.

"The process can be reviewed without making anything up, and acting responsibly, and in that way we can find out the truth," he said. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:43 PM on July 3, 2006

ChoicePoint appears to be involved in some major acquisitions of all kinds of demographic data to pass on to marketers and other interested parties. The impact of these databases on privacy is very real.

However, I still don't understand how this means that the "US" has been messing with Argentina's elections. I'm sorry, but I just can't take that Palast site too seriously, because he doesn't really support anything that he says.
posted by Pacheco at 11:48 PM on July 3, 2006

more from Guardian in 2003: ...n Mexico, the president of the federal electoral institute, Jose Woldenberg, revealed that his investigators had talked to the Mexican company that said it paid a "third person" 400,000 pesos (£24,500) for a hard disk full of personal data drawn largely from the electoral roll. It sold this to ChoicePoint for just $250,000, indicating the huge profitability of ChoicePoint's contracts - last year's $11m payment was part of a five-year contract worth $67m.

"The companies had to know that it is forbidden to use the information in the electoral register for any other purpose than elections," said Julio Tellez, a specialist in Mexico's information laws at the Tec de Monterrey University. "It is a federal crime to misuse the information, and they did that by selling it and putting it in the hands of a foreign government."

Mr Tellez said he believed that this makes the companies and the US government liable to prosecution.

The sale of information from the electoral register is particularly devastating in Mexico, because the electoral institute enjoyed a close to unique reputation for honesty and transparency in a country plagued by corruption.

"We feel betrayed. The IFE [federal electoral institute] was the only Mexican organisation we could trust," said Cesar Diaz, a Mexico City supermarket administrator whose feelings were echoed by many. "I mean, if we can't trust them who can we believe in? I think it will have repercussions in the next elections." ...

posted by amberglow at 11:53 PM on July 3, 2006

Further into the story:

How the US is using the information remains mysterious, although its focus on Latin America suggests obvious applications in targeting illegal immigrants.
posted by Pacheco at 11:55 PM on July 3, 2006

interesting: ...For U.S. citizens concerned about the flow of immigrants, a win by the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador may do more to effectively address the conditions of poverty pushing Mexicans over the U.S. border in search of work than a victory by any of the other candidates.
The final opinion polls show Mr. Lopez Obrador of the liberal Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) with a 2 percent to 5 percent lead over Felipe Calderon, ... Free-trade policies between the United States and Mexico also have hurt both countries' manufacturing sectors. First, U.S. companies fled to Mexico for lower wages. Then they fled to China for even lower ones.
The loss of agricultural and manufacturing jobs has led to massive migration from rural areas of Mexico to northern Mexican border states and to the United States.
Rather than promote corporate free trade, the U.S. government and the Mexican government should adopt economic policies that make it possible for families to stay together and remain in their communities.
U.S. politicians who believe immigration is simply a border security issue must recognize a lesson that Mexicans understand: Poverty fuels immigration. ...

posted by amberglow at 12:17 AM on July 4, 2006

re: above story
Governments throughout history have used coercion in dealing with their people, but only in the twentieth century have they "scientifically" categorized their populations and targeted specific categories in large-scale excisionary operations... Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the Soviet government compiled a vast human archive. Through censuses, questionnaires, and an internal passport system, Soviet officials sought to know their society and every person in it. This archive of the population identified those individuals who, by virtue of their social origins or anti-Soviet activity, were slated for excision... During the Great Terror, when Stalin and the Politburo ordered mass executions and deportations, the Soviet secret police relied on these archival records of the population to know whom to arrest. The use of state violence to shape the population was thus predicated on a particular mapping of the politico-social body.
Hoffman, David L. Stalinist Values p 181-2
posted by bukharin at 12:18 AM on July 4, 2006

These guys have been saying it for 35 years.
posted by hortense at 12:33 AM on July 4, 2006


In somewhat unrelated news, I just finished reading '1776' and re-reading parts of 'Washington's Crossing', and man is it depressing to read all that had to be endured to create the country and how close we came to failure... and then to come here and read stuff like this. Bah.
posted by spiderwire at 12:38 AM on July 4, 2006


For the very first time ever,
When they had a revolution in Nicaragua,
There was no interference from America
Human rights in America

Well the people fought the leader,
And up he flew...
With no Washington bullets what else could he do?
Fucking with Latin America's elections, governments & sovereignty is as "American" as United Fruit Co., the Panama Canal, Iran-Contra, the Spanish American War, the Guatemalan & Honduran death squads, the California Bear Flag Revolt, Allende's Chile, etc.

The not-so-funny thing is that the Bush Dynasty had been sweet with PRI for decades, but then the democratic hero (Coca Cola exec) presides in magic free elections in Mexico six years ago ... and today the beloved lefty in Mexico City is obviously shut out by The Machine.
posted by kenlayne at 12:38 AM on July 4, 2006

Before we all jump up and down without a shred of credible evidence, lets just pause for a second. Polling has perviously proved unreliable, for the simple reason that often people lie. For example in the 1992 General Election in Britain, the Conservatives looked, on polling data, like they would lose badly, but won, a discrepancy often explained as quite a few people being afraid / ashamed to admit how they voted in the privacy of the polling booth.

In the case of the Ukrainian 2004 elections, Yushchenko had, according to some exit polls 80% of the vote - hence a reasonable indicator that something was up when he didn't win. In this case relatively reliable sources are pointing to exit polls that are too close to declare.

I think people ought to relax a little bit before throwing around accusations of ballot rigging where there is little evidence. Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf?
posted by prentiz at 12:54 AM on July 4, 2006

prentiz: Stop killing their buzz.
posted by Pacheco at 1:05 AM on July 4, 2006

People were expecting a tossup.
posted by Paris Hilton at 2:15 PM AWST on July 4 [+fave] [!]

posted by geekyguy at 1:16 AM on July 4, 2006

prentiz: Yeah, it's absolutely crazy to think Washington might be playing with the vote results in Mexico. It ain't like they need Mexico or anything! Viva la ... uh, 4th of July.
posted by kenlayne at 1:23 AM on July 4, 2006

the ATM machine across the street from my new apartment is made by Diebold.
posted by matteo at 1:57 AM on July 4, 2006

It's that fucker Fidel underminin' democratic institutions again, I tell ya. Shoulda nuked him in '61, when we had the chance...
posted by paulsc at 2:30 AM on July 4, 2006

Before we all jump up and down without a shred of credible evidence, lets just pause for a second.

at the least, someone could have linked to an article telling us what the results of the exit polls actually were ... i think greg palast should have given us the numbers instead of just making a broad statement
posted by pyramid termite at 4:56 AM on July 4, 2006

I read somewhere that Mexicans tend to be a bit more secretive about their votes, and often refuse to discuss them with exit-pollsters.
posted by pixelshim at 5:06 AM on July 4, 2006

the ATM machine across the street from my new apartment is made by Diebold.

Diebold's ATMs are the height of convenience! I withdrew $20 and cast my vote for right-wing puppets in third-world countries, all in one transaction.

I love being an American on this 4th of July. Now, watch this drive...
posted by Mr. Six at 8:30 AM on July 4, 2006

For example in the 1992 General Election in Britain, the Conservatives looked, on polling data, like they would lose badly, but won,

Does it seem odd to anyone else that the right-most candidate seems in all of the examples discussed to win? If there is a methodological error in the exit polls, the error should be spread both ways. Is there a sampling error in that folks who vote left are more likely to participate in these exit polls?
posted by Andrew Brinton at 9:20 AM on July 4, 2006

Does it seem odd to anyone else that the right-most candidate seems in all of the examples discussed to win?

No. Depending on the reasons for error, the error might skew only one way. If, for example, conservatives were more likely to vote, say, before work, they might be in a hurry, and less likely to want to stop and do a poll. Or there might be a higher percentage of "luke-warm" conservative voters, that is, voters that will vote for their party, but aren't enthused enough to talk about it afterwards. These are just examples. there are lots of possible scenerios where an error could skew one way most of the time.
posted by unreason at 10:19 AM on July 4, 2006

it's not most of the time, but all of the time lately.
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on July 4, 2006

The votes are not being recounted, they're being counted. The preliminary results are just that, preliminary, they're reported from each polling place over the internet as each polling place finishes counting. Interestingly, each polling place has a representative from each party present, who signs the count results, and the results are published outside the polling place.

What's happening is that several percent of the votes are not processed in the preliminary results, because of technical problems with the reporting from the polling places. The data are published, but because of problems with the way reports were formatted, etc., they're not counted towards the preliminary totals. Miguel de Icaza is reporting that he's run scripts on the non-counted data, and when that data is considered, the difference is 0.7%, instead of 1%. So the gap is closing. In addition, it seems that some voting places, especially in right wing strongholds, have been counted twice or even thrice, in the preliminary counts.

Additionally, there are some 3 million ballots that are not counted at all yet, because they have irregularities. Those ballots are being kept aside for a closer count, and may well change the final results radically.

The leftist candidate is overreacting somewhat, saying that those 3 million ballots are "missing", when they're in reality just not counted yet. However, the ruling party is calling for the federal electoral institute to call the elections in their favor based on the preliminary counts, and the institute has refused to do so, correctly stating that the differences are very much within the margins of error.

I don't think it's been rigged, really, the system as I've seen it seems pretty foolproof, but there's a lot of impatience. The real count will start tomorrow (a counting of all voting place results, from the signed paper reports from each one), and will likely be finished tomorrow night or on Thursday.

Additionally, the leftists are calling for a full recount, but I don't think that'll be necessary, once those 3 million votes are properly counted, etc.

So, mostly, it's a matter of waiting and seeing. People have also gone to the step of doing their own documentation: Since the results are published at each voting station, there are chain mails going around requesting that people go out and take pictures of the results at their local polling station, which sounds like a good idea. The results that are being counted will be published in their entirety, so I think there's a pretty strong paper trail here, it should be easy to see if anything's being rigged.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:40 PM on July 4, 2006

Some useful links:

Official election results (not yet complete)

For those who wanted an exit poll, one from La Cronica. (No, I don't know what their political slant is...)

Some background the Houston Chronicle's staff blog. This includes explanation/rationale/excuse/whatever (take your pick -- I'm non-partisan) for not publishing exit polls, as well as useful links. See also the Chronicle's post on being in "El Limbo" while the counting is going on, with links to opinions from many sides. FWIW, the Chronicle has had extensive balanced coverage of the Mexican election all year long. Stories in the print edition were massive this week.

On preview, what Joakim Ziegler -- it;s early to make a judgement.
posted by Robert Angelo at 2:04 PM on July 4, 2006

from the Chron, it seems they've all pulled their exit poll data now? (isn't that what happened here in 2000?)
posted by amberglow at 3:09 PM on July 4, 2006

from the Chron, it seems they've all pulled their exit poll data now? (isn't that what happened here in 2000?)
posted by amberglow

What the Chron said was, all except La Cronica were pulled. La Cronica showed Calderon slightly ahead. I assume that it was still within the greater context of "too close to call".

I don't think comparisons between Mexico 2006 and US 2000 are valid. Remember, in Mexico the person with the most votes wins. No runoff. No Electoral College.

Some blog postings (especially from the link in the OP) seem to have pre-assumed a corrupt election and election count as a foregone conclusion, and now are looking for evidence to substantiate what they already wish to believe. Why not see what the IFE actually does, and then judge it, rather than trying to prejudge it before the results are released?

Consider this: Regardless who is elected Presidente, he will face Senators and Deputies who are largely from the opposition parties. If "they" were fixing the election of the Presidente, why wouldn't "they" fix those elections, too? As it stands, Mexico is likely to continue with a government that must share power among the parties -- just as it has now.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:43 PM on July 4, 2006

...A day after a journalist accessed confidential voter registration information, authorities say they will investigate.

Injecting a last-minute dose of intrigue into the presidential race, the nation´s top electoral crimes prosecutor announced Tuesday that her office will investigate possible illegal use of the voter registration rolls by National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderón.

The move came one day after news commentator Carmen Aristegui gave evidence during her morning radio broadcast that personal details of registered voters could be accessed through an internet site used by the Calderón campaign.

Acting on an anonymous tip, Aristegui punched up an address, and was able to enter it with the user name "Hildebrando 117." Hildebrando is the middle name of Diego Zavala, Calderón´s brother-in-law whose businesses profited by 1.6 billion pesos between 2002 and 2005, much of it from contracts with the Fox administration in which Calderón served.

Once inside the site, which features PAN and Calderón campaign logos, Aristegui was able to enter her name and several others to gather personal information about them, presumably from the voter roles.

Before her morning broadcast ended, the page had been taken down.

The presence of that information on a closed campaign site raises the question of whether it´s being used for targeted campaigning or get-out-the-vote purposes. Although the parties are allowed access to the voter rolls - known in Mexico as the "padrón" - they are forbidden to use them for campaign purposes.

Hours after Aristegui´s Monday broadcast, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) started an investigation. On Tuesday, the federal Attorney General´s Office, through the special prosecuting arm for electoral crimes, known as Fepade, started its own probe.

posted by amberglow at 4:18 PM on July 4, 2006

An overview of the electoral process in Mexico. Excerpt:

"The Mexican system is much more transparent" than the U.S. system, said George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Virginia and a former Virginia state legislator.

Mexico has a single voter registry, a uniform photo identity card for voters and a national election law, he said, whereas "in the U.S., you have this crazy quilt of 50 state laws."

Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute is legally independent of the government, while in the U.S., partisan state officials tend to oversee the system - something that contributed to controversy over the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

posted by Robert Angelo at 4:44 PM on July 4, 2006

"¡Los votos no se pierden, ni siquiera uno!", dijo este miércoles la consejera electoral Lourdes López Flores.... Precisaron que funcionarios del PREP y partidos políticos signaron el 10 de febrero pasado un acuerdo que fija las reglas para saber el destino de las actas con inconsistencias.

Ese acuerdo establece una serie de reglas y códigos a aplicar cuando la información de las actas de cómputo de las casillas fuera incompleta o "inconsistente".

Una de las reglas es no computar en el PREP las actas con inconsistencias o falta de información. ...

"Votes were not lost! Not even one!," electoral consultant(advisor?) Lourdes... said on Wednesday. ... PREP and the political parties passed an accord on Feb 10 that set the rules for knowing the results of inconsistent votes(?). This accord established a series of rules and codes to apply when the computer voting information of the districts was incomplete or "inconsistent". One of the rules is that they don't add the inconsistent votes or votes with missing information into the PREP totals(?). .... /my semi-bad translation
posted by amberglow at 4:51 PM on July 4, 2006

is it poke out/punchcard ballots or mark with a pen ballots?
posted by amberglow at 5:01 PM on July 4, 2006

from Miguel de Icaza's blog: ...On the other hand, we have the fear-monger candidate. He was the man in charge of the largest debt in this administration (Fobaproa), the largest burden on the country; He is part of the small group of people which kept coming up with creative ways of privatizing the nationalized oil industry, and was recently discovered to be involved in a multi-million dollar nepotism scheme while he was Secretary of Energy. Basically, he has the profile of your standard CIA-approved candidate. ...
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on July 4, 2006

youtube video of the Aristegui tv thing (CNN en Español)
posted by amberglow at 5:05 PM on July 4, 2006

is it poke out/punchcard ballots or mark with a pen ballots?

Photos I've seen show ballots which are marked with a pen. The ballots have the logos of the each party, and you mark the one you want to vote for. It is low-tech and does not presume literacy or the need for too much polling-place education on the mechanics of how to vote. After voting, the voters hand is marked with indelible ink to prevent voting more than once.
posted by Robert Angelo at 5:37 PM on July 4, 2006

This information from amberglow suggests that the parties and IFE and PERP had a greater degree of agreement among them on how to count votes than we do here in the US.

The thing about the PAN and the voter data -- the Aristegui thing -- doesn't relate to the accuracy of the vote count. It's about whether voter data from election rolls was improperly released -- i.e., sold -- to PAN prior to the election. It's also about whether voters' personal information was made visible to the public on a web site. It's stupid, illegal, etc, etc. Can you make a connection between it and the election results?
posted by Robert Angelo at 5:46 PM on July 4, 2006

I'd say Palast already did, and the CNN report showing the reporter logging in as the relative as well is pretty damning. Illegal and stupid is usually for a reason--not just for laughs. And illegal in itself is very wrong when it comes to elections.
posted by amberglow at 6:17 PM on July 4, 2006

...The president of the electoral institute, Luis Carlos Ugalde, stunned many voters on Tuesday morning when he acknowledged in a television interview that the preliminary count could not be used to call the race and that slightly more than three million votes remained to be counted.

He made clear that although many votes could be recounted, it was unlikely that all ballot boxes would be reopened.
Mr. Ugalde said those ballots were not tallied because they were illegible or did not reach his offices in time. "It is a matter of human error," Mr. Ugalde said, "not fraud."

In a news conference on Tuesday, Interior Minister Carlos Abascal played down the possibilities for a ballot-by-ballot recount, saying recounting every ballot was "physically impossible and also legally impossible."

Electoral officials said the law allowed ballot boxes to be opened only if there were evidence of tampering or if the tally sheets were illegible or had mistakes in calculations. ...

If they're not going to actually look at each one, how do they know that all those are illegible? And what's this about not reaching his office in time? in time for what? Are those votes/district's votes just thrown out? What if they're in remote places?
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on July 5, 2006

updated every 10 minutes count at ElNorte: with 85.1% counted, Obrador has 36.51 and Calderon 34.74
posted by amberglow at 6:57 PM on July 5, 2006

It Couldn't Happen Here
posted by homunculus at 5:47 PM on July 7, 2006

that's good, but:
...But there are potential problems. López Obrador has had questions about the results in the state of Tabasco. Mr. Calderón and Mr. López Obrador, please, please make sure that you don't have some close relative in charge of things down there.

How would it look if the governor of the state was your own brother? What would people think if the top official in charge of elections was your sibling's partisan ally who made every key decision in your favor? ...

(the author obviously didn't know Calderon's brother-in-law actually is involved, among other things--now there's talk that Calderon's team has been influencing and holding meetings with IFE all along )
posted by amberglow at 6:30 PM on July 7, 2006

Check this out: Bush on Larry King: BUSH: I don’t know him. Looking forward to getting to know him.

Calderon: "I have met with President Bush several times. I have interviewed with President Bush and several members of the American Congress, and I know it’s possible to establish a more constructive relationship, and that would be very good for both countries."
posted by amberglow at 7:23 PM on July 7, 2006

Suspicions about computer-generated fraud - rooted, in part, in the fact that IFE's computer systems were partly designed by companies and partners of Calderón's brother-in-law Diego Hildebrando Zavala - have been raised anew by the statistical anomalies and inconsistencies both in the PREP counts and hard counts claimed by the IFE, particularly the lack of fluctuation in Madrazo's hard count tally at the very moments when a radical shift occurred from Obrador to Calderón.

(Note that a full, manual recount is the only antidote for computer fraud.)

But wait, there's more:

And the fact that IFE chairman Ugalde rushed, at 4 p.m. Thursday, to declare a winner without having transparently reported the region-by-region and state-by-state results (at press time, IFE still has not published them) smells as rotten as the legal fact that Ugalde is not empowered by any law to declare a winner but that he inexplicably did so anyway: that task belongs, legally, to the judicial branch of government, the Trife tribunal.

Ugalde's illegal hurry suggests motive to literally play fast and loose with the facts, as he has done. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:08 AM on July 9, 2006

and BBC's reporting it too
posted by amberglow at 10:20 PM on July 10, 2006

I'm very, very late to this thread, but after reading some of the comments I'd like to clear some stuff up as best as I can.

First off, the media are not allowed to report on exit polls until the voting has ended, at 7:00 pm. Both major networks reported it as too close to call.

The ballot counting (not recounting) on July 5th changed its tendency at the very end because some Northern States (most notably Nuevo Leon) were the last to be counted and they mostly support PAN (Calderon) or are anti-PRD (Lopez Obrador).

Lopez Obrador's claims of Zavala's (Calderon's brother in law) unlawful enrichment were proven false and later even Lopez Obrador admitted it.

The video of supposed ballot stuffing is not actually ballot stuffing. They were moving ballots that were stuffed in the wrong boxes, which is completely legal, and representatives from every party (including PRD) were overseeing the procedure and agreed to it.

Lopez Obrador has been claiming that there is a plot against him from the beginning, accusing the Americans, Fox, Northern Mexico, the IFE and now his own party of being in on it; he's been trying to play the victim even when he was way up in the polls.

Also, in my opinion Lopez Obrador is not really a leftist as much as he is a populist. I'm as liberal as possible, but I supported the only real liberal in the election, Patricia Mercado. She never had the slightest chance of winning, but I'm glad her party managed to keep their registry.
posted by Penks at 12:14 AM on July 13, 2006

but Penks, if he was way up in the polls, why did his lead go down only incrementally at the end and only just enough to swing it the other way? Shouldn't Calderon have done much much better at the end if those areas were solidly his, instead of just tiny increments better? it doesn't make sense.

Our media's been painting Obrador as a giant leftist, but most of us here know they do that for everyone who advocates any change--or is a populist -- esp south of us. They also know that Bush wants Calderon.
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on July 15, 2006

I hope that court really is fair like people think--there's enough evidence to occasion a recount, i think.
posted by amberglow at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2006

Well, it was a very close election, and by the time 90% of the votes were counted Lopez Obrador was up roughly by 1%. That means Calderon had to get 2% more than him from the last 10% to be counted. That is, in these northern states Calderon had to win by 20%, which is a hell of a lot, meaning these states really were solidly his.

I hope that court really is fair like people think

It really is amazing to see, in a country so distrusting of politicians, institutions and bureaucrats in general, the confidence most people have on IFE's fairness and cleanliness. Granted, I'm basing this mostly on people I've talked to, but you can also see this in the media; there's always this respectful tone when talking or writing about IFE that you never see with other institutions.

Here's IFE's FAQ in English.

there's enough evidence to occasion a recount, i think.

Actually, no. There are four (I think) conditions for this to happen. If any of these happen there will be a recount, but none has. I can't find them at the moment, but I'll keep looking.
posted by Penks at 9:38 AM on July 17, 2006

Mexico Electoral Fraud Unveiled--

Mexico, Jul 24 (Prensa Latina) Mexico´s “Por el Bien de Todos” coalition is providing new evidence to be presented at the trial alleging electoral fraud and is seeking a recount of votes on July 2.

The coalition, led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will present a package of documents on the allegedly illegal opening of ballot boxes on July 5 and 6 by the Electoral Federal Institute (IFE), announced Gerardo Fernandez, spokesman of the group.

posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on July 25, 2006

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