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3 March 2012

There were two drawing last week in Mexico City — one to pick a letter of the alphabet and one for a month of the year.  “S” and December.

In something of a cross between a military draft and empaneling a jury, IFE (the elections commission, which is part of the federal judiciary), has to find the people who hand you a ballot, who check voter registration, hand out ballots, ink the voter’s thumbs, and count the ballots,  somewhere… everywhere.  That’s a lot of people, and depending on parties (as is done in the United States) might not be feasible in a multi-party state, where one party or another might not have any voters willing to identify themselves as members in any district, or — like in the U.S. — you have to hope the one poll-watcher you’ve depended on for the last thirty years doesn’t croak.  And,  given the track record of Mexican elections, depending on parties to safeguard electoral integrity isn’t all that smart.  Nor is it in the U.S., but that’s another story.

So… while not a perfect system, IFE drafts a pool of poll-watchers… this time voters with a last name beginning with the letter S and a birthday in December, then IFE workers fan out to call on the pool to weed out those that can’t do the job (besides some minimal data entry skills and reading ability, being physically able to suit up and show up are about all that’s needed) … Uncle José is calling you.


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