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A prediction - Mexico's July 5, 2009 Elections

A prediction - Mexico's July 5, 2009 Elections
Without any doubt, the winning party will be …

Michael Collins

The boycott of the election by registered voters will gain a clear plurality, around 48%, and possibly a majority, of registered voters.

The 2009 Mexican boycott includes those who deliberately nullified their ballots and those who simply chose not to vote. Early reports indicate that 8% are actively nullifying their vote (voto nulo) and that another 40% of registered voters are not showing up at all. That combined figure, 48% or so, will handily beat the vote totals for the ruling PAN Party and the former rulers, the PRI, without out any doubt. While totals will change, there is no way that PAN and PRI can overcome the anulistas and those who stayed away from the polls.

Abstentions in Mexican mid term elections for the 500 member Chamber of Deputies have grown from 32% in 1991 to 42% in 1997. In the most recent election for the Chamber in 2003 58% of citizens chose to avoid the polls (Mexidata). There is an argument, I suppose, that the formal boycott was the voto nulo movement, defacing ballots that would be counted as such. But that argument fails when we consider that there's a long term trend by those able to vote who simply boycott elections in Mexico and elsewhere.

Mexico's voters experienced what many believe to be a stolen election in 2006. That experience plus widespread disillusionment with the performance of government gave rise to the voto nulo movement.

The prediction that "boycott" would win could have been made at most any time prior to the election without much risk. But the press and politicians fail to even acknowledge this largest voting block, citizens who, by and large, see no purpose in voting. If they did, they would vote (except for those still barred by institutional barriers).

Los Anulistas

Vote nullification advocates celebrate their sure victory July 5, Election Day by SalamandraNegra

While the voto nulo movement is not responsible for those who stayed at home, it should speak in their behalf. Unless barred from voting or disenfranchised through election fraud, people who choose to stay home on Election Day are making a number of statements. The clearest statement is simply this -- the return on investment from voting is not there. There is no point in voting. It's a simple conclusion. No further studies are required on motivation, except in those cases were institutional barriers are created (e.g., voter suppression).

In a Zogby Poll* from Aug. 11 through Aug. 15, 2006 of 1068 registered voters in the United States, a subgroup was created for those who stayed home in the last election. The unpublished data from a larger survey showed that at least 47% of those responding indicated that there was either no point in voting based on candidate performance after the election (19%) or that the process was too inconvenient (27%). Adding the two together in a "no point in voting" group shows 47% of those not voting so because there's simply no point; it's not worth the effort.

Those boycotting U.S. presidential elections are the "permanent plurality."

Here are the boycott party victories since 2000. An easy winner in 2000 and 2004, the very low regard for the incumbent party plus then Democratic candidate Obama's campaign efforts turned 2008 into a horse race but boycott would not be denied. It won beat candidate Obama 37% to 33%, a solid victory. There are good reasons to think that boycott will return to its 40% to 45% range in 2012.

When voters think that there's no point in voting, that it is simply not worth the trouble, the system in power rules as a minority government, one without the authority of a majority or plurality of the people that approaches a majority.

It's time for boycott to get credit as the leading vote getter in every U.S. and most Mexican elections for at least the two decades.

What does that say about our leadership?

What does it say about the free flow of information in our societies that this potent political force is ignored?

One thing for sure, the rulers and the public institutions that prop them up simply can't deal the truth - boycott prevails over and over with no campaign apparatus or funds. But the point is clear, the meaningless of the voting process is reflected by those who abstain and do something else on Election Day.

It's time to give more attention to this group of citizens who prevail time and again.


* The referenced Zogby Poll of 2006 was sponsored by Paul Lehto with support from Nancy Tobi and the author. See here and here for the published results of the poll.

Previous analysis and comment on the 2009 Mexican election here and here.

This article may be reproduced in whole or part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

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