This week the Mexican congress voted to allow an estimated 11 million Mexicans abroad to take part in the Mexican Presidential Election. KNPR's Ky Plaskon spoke to Mexicans in Las Vegas about what the new voting rights means for them.
At the Star Nursery in Las Vegas, immigrant workers stand in small groups waiting for work. Brigido Jimenez says he won't vote in the Mexican presidential election.
The majority think the same thing that I do.
I have noticed that all the presidents are the same, they do the same things and there is no progress, because if there was progress we wouldn't be here.
But his colleague Saul Ramirez says he would vote because the government of Mexico represents Mexicans worldwide.
We have to think, who do we want to govern us in Mexico, and who represents us, not just here in the US but on a world-wide level, and that there are presidents that can work in this state of mind.
An estimated 14 percent of Mexico's electorate live overseas. The Mexican government estimates that in the US, 4 million Mexicans registered to vote in Mexico's elections.
On the other side of town at a Starbucks, Miguel Barrientos, President of the Mexican American Political Association concedes that its an uphill battle to get Mexicans in Las Vegas to participate in Mexican elections.
People they don't have faith in the government , but they just aren't interested in getting the next guy elected they don't think their vote is going to count. It is going to take an education process. Maybe in the next two elections it is going to have a different impact.
However, there is evidence that Mexicans outside the country are eager to participate when given the opportunity. In the last presidential election, Mexicans in border towns flooded polling places on the other side of the border. So much so, polling places ran out of ballots. Barrientos believes that the new law will inspire Mexicans.
Maybe in the next couple of elections you will see a very powerful lobbying group in the United states very much involved with changing the political system in Mexico.
And the new law he says will inspire Mexicans Americans to be more politically engaged in general.
It is going to stimulate US citizens to get out and vote also, I think it is going to help some so that is exciting.
While the Mexican law is on the books allowing Mexicans abroad to vote, congress has yet to approve a method for implementing it.
Ky Plaskon News 88-9 KNPR
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