Here’s the brief sketch of the Mexican election.
First – the exit polls showed that Obrador won. No, this isn’t conclusive, it is possible for exit polls to be wrong. (Though they’ve been wrong rather too often these last few years, shall we say?) Nonetheless, while indicative it is possible for there to be an explanation for this
Second – in a lot of ridings there was negative drop off – which is fancy speak for more ballots that show votes for lower candidates than President. It doesn’t happen that more people vote for local offices and not for President. It is a sure sign of vote tampering – top ballot races drive turnout and races like President get more votes than lesser candidates.
Third – There was a remarkable upswing in votes near the end of the day. This could be explained by the suppostion that northern precincts were reporting last (we don’t know that they were), but it’s odd, because the PRI, whose stronghold is in the North, would then have also received an upwards surge at the end of the day.
As the latter third of the results came in beginning at 4:44 p.m. on Wednesday, CalderÃ³n’s vote percentage began to creep upward as LÃ³pez Obrador’s creeped downward by equal and opposite amounts. During this count of the final 35 percent of the tallies, interestingly, PRI candidate Roberto Madrazo’s percentage remained steadily the same as it had all day (within half-a-percentage point, landing at 22.26 percent) as did that of the also-rans Patricia Mercado and Roberto Campa. All day and night ”“ see the accompanying graph ”“ three candidates remained with their totals in a straight line, but in the final stretch only Obrador and CalderÃ³n percentages diverged from the consistency of the first two-thirds of the tallies.
CalderÃ³n partisans (including IFE and the mass media) explain the final shift as one of northern Mexican regions coming in last. But Madrazo’s vote, in particular, was uneven nationwide. This was shown by IFE’s PREP results in the breakdown among the five regions by which the vote count was organized.
Madrazo’s regional totals were 24.09 percent in Region 1 (Northern Mexico) and 23.12 percent in region 2 (North-Central Mexico), the regions from where CalderÃ³n supposedly got his late surge in Wednesday’s precinct count: nearly one and two points above his national average of 22.26. Had the final tallies in Wednesday’s precinct count really come in from the North and North-Central regions, a statistically significant upward shift would have been registered from Madrazo as well. That it did not casts important doubt upon the claims by IFE and television media that a regional vote saved the day for CalderÃ³n at the eleventh hour.
Again, these are from the already discredited PREP results, but it is significant how divergent Madrazo’s tally is region by region, and particularly how he finished higher in the two northern regions than in the combined three central-southern regions. And yet the sudden divergence early Thursday morning between CalderÃ³n and Obrador ”“ according to IFE’s still undocumented conclusions ”“ did not statistically change Madrazo’s total as it would have had it mainly come from CalderÃ³n’s northern base regions.
Fourth, and most damningly, every report I have found so far of either manual recounts, or of finding original Acta (the signed precinct results) has shown a higher total for Obrador than the amount on the official system. (There may be some the other way, which I’d appreciate hearing about. But as I say, so far, haven’t read of a single one.)
So, was the election stolen?
Yeah, it was. Every indicator for fraud is on “yup”. If they were inconsistent – if some pointed one way, and others the other, then it would be one of those “possibly” like in the US in 2004. (As opposed to the US in 2000, which was definitely.)
But there is one other thing worth pointint out.
There are three parties involved. Obrador got about 40%. Caladeron got about 40%. The PRI got about 20%.
If there were a run off, the majority of PRI voters would probably vote for Calderon, not Obrador.
So – Obrador almost certainly should have won the election. He got a plurality, and he was robbed. However the majority of the population, even after taking into account fraud, did not vote for him and does not want him elected.
And in the end, that’s why Obrador probably won’t go to hardcore violence to overturn the results. If the will of the majority had been violated he would be right to do so. But in this case, it’s questionable. However this has revealed a real and serious split in the country, with 40% of the population believing, correctly, that they were disenfranchised. If Calderon is wise he will offer them some form of compensation and adapt some parts of Obrador’s platform. If he doesn’t, he is sowing the seeds of violence.
Or, if he’s really wise, he’ll realize that the faith of people that their votes are counted is important and call for a full recount. But we all know that won’t happen, so like everyone else we’ll wait to see what happens and how far Obrador is willing to go.
July 17th: edited a sentence to indicate that every recount so far has shown higher total for Obrador, not a lesser one. Oops. – Ian
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