Even the Mexican Electoral System is better than the one the U.S. currently has
And here are three reasons
How does a person that wins the popular vote doesn’t get to be the president of his country? That was the question the entire world was asking the day after the results of the 2000 U.S. Presidential election were announced. It turned out not many of us knew really how the American Democracy works (and apparently, not many Americans understand it too).
Al Gore was facing the infamous George W. Bush that year, and he even won the overall vote of the nation by a narrow margin (o.5%). But the way the system is designed gave Bush a total of 271 delegates to the electoral college, against the 266 delegates won by Gore. That was the first time I learned that the American Democracy was not really a direct-vote kind of democracy.
That same year Mexico celebrated its first-ever contested presidential election. For the first time in almost 80 years Mexicans went to their polling station with options other than the one presented by the official party. After the revolution it was customary that whoever was chosen by the Revolutionary Party (PRI) became the new president, and elections were treated as a mere requisite.
Much like the Democratic and the Republican Party in the U.S., The Revolutionary party is NOT a constitutional nor a State entity, but a private corporation that for years made an effort to be the ONLY way to elect public officials. All of that started changing in Mexico as early as 1988, and it is still a work in progress, but as of 2016, the changes in the Mexican Electoral System are extraordinary, specially if you make a comparison with the lack of change the U.S. System experienced after the 2000 Presidential election.
So, I would like to point (at least) three ways the Mexican Electoral System is better than the American.
Voter Registration is a Universal Right, and it’s easily accessible to any Mexican citizen who wants to vote
Unlike the U.S., all Mexican citizens over the age of 18 are automatically eligible to vote, and they have to register in their local electoral institute office. Mexican Citizens don’t need a driver licence or a passport to register (like in many U.S. States) since the Electoral Institute issues voter ID’s that are valid as a national proof of identity, making elections universally accessible.
There’s an easy, straightforward way to become President, even if you run as an Independent
The last set of reforms to Mexican electoral laws now provides a clear path to all citizens that want to run for office even if she or he is not affiliated to any political party. This new electoral law was put to test in Last’s year mid-term election, and for the first time in the history of Mexico, an independent candidate was elected Governor of a State.
In 2012, the turn out in the Mexican presidential Election was almost 9% bigger than the one in the U.S.
It was the biggest voter turn out in the Mexican history so far. 63.14% of those eligible to vote showed to their polling station. In the U.S. it was only 54.9%, almost 4% less than the 2008 presidential election.
And I’m only talking about this three simple aspects, that are almost present in all other modern democracies but the U.S. I could talk for hours about campaign funding and the Electoral College, about the implicit law that prevents any independent or third party candidate to win elections, or the way that elected officials shape their congressional districts in favor of their political parties.
I‘m still impressed about how little Americans know about their democratic process, but I’m also disappointed of all the people who really knows how this really works, but think they can not really do anything to change it.
There’s a better way, look down the border. Despite of all the corruption and violence, Mexico has a stronger democracy than the “Land of the Free”.