Voter turnout for Mexican election is in the cards

Immigrants' group urges a rule change in 2012 election

Make it easier to vote, and more people will. That's the message a group of Mexican immigrants is sending lawmakers in their native land, urging them to make a small change that could have a big impact.

Mexicans living abroad were allowed to vote in Mexico's presidential election for the first time in 2006.

Mexico spent $22.8 million to promote the vote in the United States, but only around 32,000 immigrants cast their ballots, out of the 12 million who live in the country.

A national committee of immigrants, with San Diego-area members, is recommending a change that they believe will improve participation by immigrants in next year's presidential election in Mexico.

The committee is urging that lawmakers allow immigrants to present a card issued by the

Mexican Consulate, called "matrícula consular," as identification to be able to vote rather than a Mexican voter ID card that's only issued in Mexico.

Many immigrants never got the voter ID card, known as "credencial electoral," while they lived in Mexico or if they did get the card it has now expired and it's not practical to return to Mexico to get it renewed.

"We all have the right to vote," said Mery López-Gallo, one of the local committee members. "Our countrymen living abroad have given Mexico so much, that's why they should have a voice in their native country."

The committee, called Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, is tasked with recommending ways Mexico can help their countrymen who have immigrated.

This month the committee members sent a letter to members of Mexico's Congress, urging the ID rule be changed.

They are hoping to hear in the next few months whether Congress will pass a bill to allow the use of the consular ID card.

The committee also has recommended that the vote be promoted through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to reduce the cost of publicizing this opportunity for Mexican immigrants.

Mexicans who have a valid Mexican voter ID card ending with the designation "03" can preregister to vote at until September.

And from October to January of 2012 they can register to vote for the presidential election to be held in the summer of 2012.


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