Photo: PRI

By KYLIE MADRY

Residents of the Mexican states of Hidalgo and Coahuila trekked to the polls on Sunday, Oct. 18, after the planned July elections were pushed back due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Around 50,000 cast their vote Sunday – wearing required face masks – according to the National Electoral Institute (INE), totaling just over 40 percent turnout of eligible voters. In Hidalgo, voters elected new local governments, while those in Coahuila will have new state legislators.

Changes due to the pandemic were costly – in Hidalgo, the 2020 election cost 324 million pesos, up from 270 million in 2016. According to the Electoral Institute of Hidalgo (IEEH), this increase was due to the hiring of temporary election workers and the health measures necessary to keep voters safe at their polling places. The Electoral Institute of Coahuila, meanwhile, reported spending 221 million pesos on its elections this year.

Election materials on fire in Pacula, Hidalgo.
Election materials were set on fire in Pacula, Hidalgo. Photo: Carlos Mendoza Álvarez/Morena

These elections were a pilot program for the 2021 federal elections, with the INE rolling out electronic voting machines for the first time. There were some issues, however, as one machine was set on fire in Hidalgo by what election officials say was a disgruntled resident, though several witnesses said the perpetrators were “an armed group.” “Incidents” in both states were reported.

While the final tallies won’t be ready until Wednesday, Oct. 21, Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas, head of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), declared “extraordinary” victories in both states, “showing that the party is ready to come back.”

According to exit polls in Coahuila, the PRI was able to claim all 16 electoral districts, giving it control over key areas in the state and retaking control of the Coahuila legislature.

The party also claimed “the crown jewel” in Hidalgo, Pachuca, with candidate Sergio Baños Rubio. The PRI’s secretary general in Hidalgo, Julio Manuel Valera Piedras, called the alleged victory a “breath of fresh air” and emphasized that the PRI would win in the 2021 federal elections as well.

…Oct. 20, 2020

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