What happens now? The TEPJF hearing
Roughly translated, and rewritten from an article El Independiente del Sureste (Villahermosa, Tabasco) what follows is about as clear an explanation of the process by which the validity or invalidity of the 1 July Election is going to be determined as any.
TEJPF is, as I keep reminding people, a court of law, and is empowered to determine not just if votes were counted right, but if the election as a whole was democratic and fair. As far as I can determine, this is not something that is then bumped up to a higher court — it is the high court when it comes to the electoral process. However, as Jorge Carrasco Araizaga writes in Proceso, the court has bent over backwards to protect PRI and Peña Nieto in the past. Still, there is a process, and the evidence is going to be presented tomorrow.
Cesar Astudillo, a full-time research associate at the UNAM Institute of Legal Research is a specialist in constitutional and procedural law. Here, he outlines the process under which an election could be overturned based on the principle of the “presumption of validity.”
The grounds for invalidating this election are clearly spelled out in the election code. At least 25% or more of the 143,000 polling stations would have to meet one or more of the following criteria:
• Were open at the wrong time, or set up in the wrong place
• The wrong ballot boxes were delivered, or ballot boxes were improperly handled.
• Citizens were allowed to vote without voter registration cards.
• Qualified voters were prevented from voting, either by error or malice
• Votes were not counted properly.
• Physical threats or other pressure was put on the voter or those counting the votes.
A second option is based on a request to TEPJF to invalidate the election based on case law.
The Electoral Tribunal of Judicial Power of the Federation (TEPJF) has to confirm that elections are “substantially” run according to the fundamental democratic principles, that “if violated, make it impossible to declare that the election was free and genuine, and lead to undermining their credibility or legitimacy.”
To invalidate the election, the TEPJF would need to find, in Astudillo’s words, “Severe defects in the transcendent constitutional principles, which result in an election lacking constitutional support, and thus preventing the recognition of its legal validity.”
Since December 2008, when the TEPJF first invalidated an election (in Acapulco, Guerrero), for “violation of constitutional principles” the judicial body has identified a number of additional Constitutional principles which apply to elections or reflect the main points of general principles under which decisions are made. Some of these constitutional points have been discussed, but are open to argument.
To prevail in the suit to invalidate the First of July election, Astudillo says the “dissatisfied” complainants “must demonstrate by strong evidence that irregularities actually occurred and above all that they were crucial in blurring the 3 million 200 thousand vote difference between the first and second place finishers.”