Tuesday, July 11, 2006


More news and some commentary on Mexico

Richard Cranium of AllSpinZone offered a very good link to a Daily Kos diary. Patrice Olsen, Ron Gifford, and five graduate students from Illinois State University went down as monitors. Olsen was presumably not with the official monitors. She saw only one bad precinct, the Special Polling place for non-residents, which opened late, didn't have enough ballots, made people stand in line, and had no controls over closing time. I don't see her report as especially critical of the conduct of polling. As a special human interest angle, she is very cute. _________ Also thanks to Richard, Al Giordano has a slightly overheated piece which, however, has a good, detailed description of the allegations of what happened in Comalcalco, Tabasco, in which a near-war erupted when representatives of the election institute came down without authorization in the dead of night. to "review" the ballots in this Lopez Obrador stronghold. ________________________ From Flashpoints, Monday John Ross: in the 48,000 square meters of the Zocalo, there were 5-6 people per square meters, plus enough people in the side areas to add up to well over 500,000 people. PRD is requestion that 53,000/130,000 precincts be recounted. PRD may refuse to take office, precipitating a constitutional crisis. Haven't counted half a million votes. Ted Lewis of Global Exchange, who monitored the election: He called for a proper count. Structural problems: Josefina Vasquez Mota, secretary of social programs became FeCal's election chief. GE was unable to detect a national plan of fraud, but at the local level, there was a systematic effort at manipulation in Oaxaca, the state of Mexico, and San Luis Potosi. The parties could agree to a runoff. _____ One of the TV stations ran a sympathetic profile of the guy in blue. He's very polite, soft-spoken, denies he was stuffing the ballot box. I tend to believe him. However, as I posted when I first saw this film, the rest of the footage shows such outrageously poor controls over ballots that almost anyone could have taken extra ballots or otherwise falsified the results. So, the fact that I believe him doesn't mean that the elections court or the Mexican public should. One piece of evidence used to support the position there was no fraud is that the PRD poll rep. in Salamanca, Queretaro said that there was no illegality at the poll. However, as we know from Ohio, some county workers who call themselves Democrats aren't, and there's no reason to think all PRDistas aren't actually PANistas. And Lopez Obrador says that so much money was floating around that it's not impossible that the Salamanca poll rep might have been bought off. This blogger complains that she was rejected as a PRD rep. through various machinations of the federal elections institute. Again, it doesn't matter what one side or the other thinks. If there's a question, it undercuts the legitimacy of leaders who claim to have been fairly elected. ________ About a week too late to keep Mexico away from the brink, the federal elections institute is going to publish the precinct data. If they had done this the day after the election, a lot of speculation could have been quelled. _______________________ A personal comment. The Mexican debacle shows the wisdom of the Electoral College. In Mexico, you have an election decided by half a percentage point, and the candidates scrambling to find problems among 41 million ballots. And they will find problems, on all sides. In 2000, a similar debacle happened in Florida. There were only 6 million ballots to look at. Obviously, if California had been so closely divided, it would have been almost as bad as Mexico. But think of the nightmare of trying to check 100 million ballots, as would happen if we didn't have an Electoral College. Deming principles demand that complex systems be equipped with troubleshooting tools of the kind that the Electoral College is. The entire problem with the Electoral College, in which small states receive inordinate representation, could be solved by changing the formula by which votes are allocated to states, so that they receive the same number of electors as Representatives. Then all we'd need is real presidential candidates.
Why Mexico's electoral system is stronger than ours.

Thanks for the coverage.
IFE did publish the vote tallies as soon as they received them. They up a database that starts presenting information at 8pm of the day of the election, the PREP. It has no official standing (only the official sum of tallies done wednesday in the presence of party representative does) but is supposed to make things transparent. This time it might have made things worse, as Obrador claimed it was rigged.

The PREP can still be found at many places, including http://prep.terra.com.mx

The official (Wednesday) count is at http://www.ife.org.mx/computos2006/index_computos.htm
Thanks, Ivan. I had posted the link to full count yesterday, but hadn't stumbled across the PREP link. I'll transfer that to the front page when I do the next update.

I think that the idea of not posting PREP results for any reason would be a very bad one. This election has fallen apart because of lack of transparency. It had to be dragged out of the IFE head, Ugalde, that 3 million votes hadn't been counted in the PREP.

Not only were the optics of that terrible, some journalists say that half a million votes are still unaccounted for.

The IFE could not have done more to raise suspicions if they had shouted "We're stealing the election" in the Zocalo.

As for the Mochan report, there's more in there than I think even Mochan realizes. The suggestion in the density graphs that the last regions counted were extreme Madrazo strongholds where both AMLO and Calderon did poorly, yet somehow no one's performance changed really does sound like synthetic data. But since it's the PREP, I don't want to spend too much time on it.
Ivan, that link doesn't work for me. Something calling itself "Remote Access Controller" starts to come up as a secure connection, then crashes.

If you know a working link, please e-mail me.
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