Hawkins to Newsday: Count Every Vote in Mexico…and US

Dear Newsday Editor:It was disappointing to read your misguided editorial attacking democracy in Mexico (Mexico has Spoken: August 18, 2006), urging the Mexican people to give up their demands that every vote be counted in the Presidential election.We need Mexico to set for example for the United States in ensuring that the person declared President actually won the election. That of course didn’t happen in the last two elections in the US, with both Gore and Kerry more concerned about appearing “reasonable” to editorial writers and the political elite that in ensuring that the will of the voters was carried out.

Most people know now that Gore actually won Florida, as the consortium of major media that recounted every ballot reported in September 2001. Fewer people are yet aware about the similar voting problems that took place in Ohio and New Mexico in 2004.

It is also strange that the media and the political establishment refused to accept the results of the recent Presidential election in Ukraine but rushed to accept the results in Mexico before they are even officially declared. Of course, the US government opposed the initial winner in the Ukraine while it supports the incumbent party in Mexico. But declaration of democratic principles should turn on how well a particular candidate fares.

In Mexico, the national election commission Mexico posted on their web site the results from individual election districts as they came in, so vote totals could be tracked throughout the evening. Statisticians point to a host of major problems. For instance, in the closing hour, the nationwide voting patterns suddenly dramatically changed, including districts reporting more voters than the total number of registered voters. One mathematician said the only explanation for the last minute change in the vote counts was that it was a miracle. Those of us who are involved in electoral politics know that such “miracles” are more likely fraud.

In addition, there is widespread evidence of manipulating the voting process to suppress votes in key areas  copying what was done in Florida and Ohio, even using some of the same election consulting firms employed by the Bush campaign. President Fox and various corporations also appear to have violated federal election laws with respect to their involvement in the campaign.

The major point that your editorial got right was that Mexico has a long tradition of rigged elections, starting with the Presidential election prior to Fox’s. Even in recent years several state level elections in Mexico have been overturned due to fraud. Democracy doesn’t happen by closing your eyes and wishing things are ok. The first step is supporting the principle that every vote must be counted. It’s a principle we hope that the media will join the Greens in insisting upon here in America as well.


Howie Hawkins
Green Party candidate for US Senate

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