Larry Stirling is a former State Senator and Retired
Superior Court Judge
Mexico has a better voting system than California?
[Larry Stirling] 10/23/03
I was very surprised when an early-morning knock at my Mexico
City hotel room resulted in a man confiscating all the liquor
in the room's mini bar. It turns out it was election day.
No one is allowed to sell liquor anywhere in Mexico on election
day. Such a law must come as a shock to the thousands of besotted
Americans hanging out in various cantinas.
I was in
Mexico, along with several other San Diegans, to act as "international observers" for
the Vicente Fox election.
I had anticipated a rude system of some sort, but instead I
found their balloting system to be extremely respectable and
to ours in many important ways.
For openers, Mexico has established a separate judiciary to
handle election controversies.
Such a system here would have avoided the trashing of the Florida
and United States supreme courts.
The Mexican system focuses on verification.
A voter has to have a voter identification card to vote, period.
To obtain such a card, they have to prove that they are not
only citizens of Mexico, but residents of that precinct. The
card requires picture and thumbprint.
When a Mexican voter approaches the poll, they are not allowed
to vote until that card is presented and then matched with
a picture identification in that precinct's voter directory.
After voting, the voter ID card is punched so that the card
cannot be used again in that election.
Then the voter has long-lasting ink put on their thumb so that
they cannot vote again. Mexican poll officials do not trust,
they verify everything.
The Mexican system rightfully anticipates that there will be
problems at the poll.
When a problem arises, the three poll officials meet and confer
with the party designated poll watchers. They then vote on
The poll authorities then write an incident report, and every
poll watcher must concur or not in writing, right on the same
Try to find that in our precincts.
If a poll-level solution cannot be unanimously concluded, the
matter is immediately transmitted to the attention of a statewide
organization in real time via telephone.
The local officials and watchers each have counterparts at the
state level. The process is repeated at the state level if
If state poll officials cannot resolve the matter, the contending
poll watchers go right to the state elections court. They can
then appeal that decision, in real time, directly to the elections
supreme court in Mexico City.
It is a great system.
Now compare that to San Diego's system. No identification is
required to be presented at the poll. No one can even ask for
No proof of citizenship is required to register to vote. No
one can be asked about citizenship at the time of registration.
And people can show up at the polls and claim there is some
screw up somewhere and vote anyway.
Gail Stewart, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office,
said the office has no record of ever having prosecuted a voter
Our excellent registrar of voters does not remember a single
case of voter fraud even being referred to the district attorney.
This is in the face of the fact that there have been numerous
public complaints about fraud in our polling. I referred several
such complaints and will report back to you whether the district
attorney takes any action or even responds. I will give them
In other words, our system is a system is the opposite of Mexico's.
federal "motor-voter" law,
everyone that gets a driver license will be given a voter registration
The Department of Motor Vehicles does not check social security
numbers to see if they are valid.
And now thanks to the California Legislature and a pandering
governor, anyone from any country can obtain a driver license.
In other words, our system is wide open for fraud.
I hope that California does not request a squad of international
observers to verify our elections. I don't think ours would
measure up very well.
We should trust and verify.
2003 Larry Stirling