Americans in Mexico vote amid both doubt and certainty

Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- Dozens of Americans residing in the western Mexican state of Jalisco began on Tuesday to vote electronically for their country’s presidential election on Nov. 3.

The association of US citizens in Lake Chapala, Jalisco, and the expat organization Democrats Abroad, opened a station to receive the vote of residents electronically or on paper, in addition to providing guidance about the process.

John Boothy, coordinator of the initiative, told EFE that the intention is to promote voting and encouraging American migrants to make their voices heard from abroad before Oct. 28, the deadline for sending of votes.

“One, out of personal interest, two, because most of us feel it’s a civic responsibility, and three because Americans pay taxes no matter where they live. And lastly, because the United States is so important in the world we want to have a voice in how it behaves,” he said.

Although there is no official figure, it is estimated that between 3-8 million Americans reside outside their country, of which an estimated 12 percent have cast their vote in past elections.

Jalisco is one of the largest colonies of Americans residing in Mexico. Most are pensioners or retirees who left their country to seek tranquility and warmth.

The US consulate in Guadalajara, capital of Jalisco, estimates that between 15,000 and 20,000 Americans live in the cities of Chapala, Ajijic and other nearby towns.

As older adults, many face the difficulty of not understanding the process for sending their electronic vote or do not have an email, computers or fax machines to follow the procedure, which is why they require guidance, explained Boothy.

“We have an older population, so they’re not as comfortable doing things by computer, by email or faxing from their computer, that’s one. Two, because there are 50 different states, they have different procedures and there are 20 of those states that you have to mail your ballot by postal mail, and as we all know, it takes a long time to get there,” he said.

About 20 Democrats Abroad volunteer advisers assist US citizens with the process of registering their details on the US Federal Voting Assistance Program website.

They must complete the Federal Postcard Application, to later receive their ballot, either physically or to their email.

The person must vote and sign the document and send it by mail or email, according to the rules of the state in which they previously resided.

Roberta Camhi, one of the advisers, told EFE that during this presidential election nearly 1,000 people have attended and they have had a larger participation than in the 2017 electoral process.

She said that this year they have had more participants and that “this election is very important,” adding that what is happening in the US is “difficult” and that many people who have never voted are doing so this year because they are afraid for the future.

Voting will continue until next Tuesday, Oct. 27. EFE-EPA


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