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Mexico: House of Representatives Considers Bill That Punishes Citizens for Not Voting

(Jan. 26, 2012) On January 9, 2012, Mexico's House of Representatives announced that it is considering a legislative proposal that would punish citizens for not voting in federal elections. If approved, the proposal would add a provision to Mexico's Federal Elections Code imposing a fine equivalent to six days of minimum wages (about US$27) on citizens who do not vote. Currently, the Code does not penalize this type of act.

Congressman David Sanchez (the author of the proposal) indicated that the lack of a penalty provided by the Federal Elections Code for not voting in Mexico weakens the representative system of government, as it fosters voter absenteeism during elections, which then leads citizens to question the legitimacy of elected candidates, and ultimately brings instability to the system. He added that in elections held in Mexico in 2009, 55.39% of registered voters did not vote, whereas earlier, in elections held in 2006, the percentage of registered voters who did not vote was only 41.45%. (Press Release, No. 4570, Analizan en ComisiĆ³n hacer obligatorio el voto para aminorar el abstencionismo (Jan. 9, 2012), Mexican House of Representatives website.)