Most Norte Americanos will no doubt be shocked to learn that their neighbors to the south have implemented what in many ways is a model of modern democratic practices.
Indeed, in this year when the United States is engaged in a ferocious campaign for the presidency, the question that ought to be asked is: How does the U.S. electoral system compare to Mexico’s? I undertook a comprehensive study of the electoral systems in North America, and the good news is that the United States came in third. The bad news is that there are only three countries in North America.
In particular, the Mexican approach to campaign finance could not stand in starker contrast to our own.
Each of Mexico’s main political parties receive approximately $24 million of public financing for a three-month campaign. They can also receive 10% of their funds from supporters, but no one can give more than $71,000. In contrast, in the United States, there will be an estimated $6 billion raised privately, and with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money. Major contributors could have extraordinary access and substantial influence over public policy. Some would define that as corruption on a scale that even the drug cartels couldn’t compete.
Other aspects of the Mexican system may generate unintended consequences.
IFE actively registers about 95% of 77 million eligible voters and gives each a biometric, photo ID card, which Mexicans use as a primary identification.