New online platform boosts transparency in Mexican presidential elections

29 Jun 2012

An innovative initiative is helping increase transparency in the upcoming general elections taking place 1 July in Mexico. A new online platform called Electoral Observation has been enabling citizens and 43 monitoring organizations to check information and send complaints in real time on election-related incidents. Reports can be filed through the online platform, via email or micro blogs like Twitter.

The initiative is part of the Support Fund for Electoral Observation, an alliance between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Mexico’s electoral institute and tribunal—working closely with civil society organizations. The Fund helps finance and train observers and monitoring organizations to enhance their abilities to diagnose fraud, with the ultimate goal of reinforcing the Mexican electoral system.

“Mexico has a vibrant democracy, largely because it is constantly refining its democratic processes and systems. The information generated by citizens who report offenses through this platform will be used to refine the next electoral process,” explained Maria del Carmen Sacasa, UNDP Mexico’s acting Resident Representative.

The platform for irregularity reporting is connected to a special electoral attorney general office, where prosecutors investigate and verify reports on incidents. When criteria for electoral offenses are met, legal action is pursued.

For the first time, in addition to supporting the new online platform, the Electoral Observation Fund is promoting national studies on freedom of expression and electoral justice. It is also enabling international organizations to pursue comparative studies on election matters, which will be especially useful for other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

UNDP has been working with Mexican institutions and civil society organizations to support election monitoring in Mexico since 1994. While the initial focus was only on election day, the work has evolved and today the Electoral Observation Fund supports and covers a range of aspects—before, during and after the electoral cycle.