Only a Full Recount Will Do in Mexico

Saturday, August 19, 2006

As an American living in Mexico, I object to the Aug. 16 editorial "Mexico's Moment of Truth."

Contrary to the contention that the presidential election was fair and that no significant irregularities have been found, the Federal Electoral Tribunal ordered the partial recount specifically because of strong suspicions of fraud in more than 12,000 polling places in 26 states.

The results found in that recount have been revealing: More than 80 percent of polling places recounted showed a total that favored Andrés Manuel López Obrador more than official tallies did.

Those who assert that the adjustments were minimal fail to realize that in such a close election, a switch of only two votes per polling place would change the result.

Add to that the problems of extra votes discovered in many electoral packets as well as packets with fewer votes found than the numbers of those registered as having voted -- a discrepancy of well over 100,000 votes in total, half of the official difference between the two candidates -- and you have a situation that more than justifies López Obrador's common-sense request that a full and transparent recount be held to dispel any doubts that people have as to the fairness of the election.

A full recount is the sensible way to defuse this crisis, as the imposition of a president whom a substantial portion of the population perceives to be illegitimate would never do.

-- Kurt Hackbarth

Oaxaca, Mexico

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