Mexican electoral authorities said yesterday they would recount votes cast at more than half of the polling places in Sunday’s presidential election, following inconsistencies in vote tallies and allegations of vote-buying.
Edmundo Jacobo, executive secretary of Mexico’s Instituto Federal Electoral (Federal Electoral Institute—IFE), said that ballots from 78,012 of the 143,000 ballot boxes used in Sunday’s vote (54.5 percent) will be opened and the votes recounted. In addition, 61.3 percent of the votes for Senate seats and 60.3 percent of votes for seats in the lower house of Congress will also be recounted, said Jacobo.
The recount began early in the day yesterday, and electoral officials expect it, as well as the final overall count on the presidential vote, to be complete by Sunday. They do not expect it to significantly alter the preliminary outcome of the results, in which Enrique Peña Nieto of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Revolutionary Institutional Party—PRI) won 38.15 percent of the votes, and runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Partido Revolucionario Democrático (Party of the Democratic Revolution—PRD) secured 31.64 percent of the votes.
Mexico’s electoral law states that votes should be recounted in the following instances: inconsistencies in the final vote tallying reports; a difference of one percentage point or less between the first- and second-place finishers; or all the votes in a ballot box in favor of the same candidate. López Obrador has demanded a complete recount and not yet accepted the preliminary vote tallies, saying his team detected irregularities at 113,855 polling stations.
There have also been allegations of vote-buying, including an accusation by the incumbent Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party—PAN) that Peña Nieto’s campaign acquired 9,500 pre-paid gift cards worth 71 million pesos ($5.2 million) at supermarket chain Soriana to give away in exchange for votes. An investigation is currently underway.