Behind a module for collecting signatures where the photograph of the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, stands out and under a sign that says: “We Mexicans want #QueSigaAMLO”, Saraí tells of the support that is missing to comply with your daily goal. “We have to deliver 30 [firmas, por voluntario]”, Says the member of the civil association That Follow Democracy, one of the organizations in charge of collecting the 2.7 million supports required by law to endorse the popular consultation on the revocation of the president’s mandate, the first in the history of Mexico, which will ask Mexicans if they want their government to continue until 2024.
Although the INE has postponed the consultation, which was scheduled for April 10, 2022, in the midst of a new political struggle for the budget assigned for next year, the supporters of the president hasten the step to get the signatures so that the vote be a reality. There is still no new date defined, but for this exercise to be carried out, it must first be validated by at least 3% of the electoral roll in at least 17 states of the country, as dictated by the general law for the revocation of mandate, approved last september.
Armed with propaganda and their power to convince, since November 1 the supporters of the president request signatures in various parts of the capital with a large influx of pedestrians, such as Metro stations, public squares, schools and even vaccination points. On Calzada del Hueso, in front of High School 5, one of the covid-19 vaccination centers in the Tlalpan delegation, a supporter of the president invited pedestrians to sign a week ago to support the consultation. “For the first time in history we are going to be asked if we want a president to continue or not,” he explained through a megaphone, as captured in a video broadcast on social networks.
According to the latest deadline set by the electoral authority, those promoting the consultation have until December 25 to collect support. They have less than a week left and so far the INE has only validated 1.2 million signatures, although the organizations assure that they have already collected almost six million. The electoral authority has reported that more than 210,000 supports received presented irregularities, such as that the credentials belonged to deceased persons or the photos uploaded in the application were of dogs or objects such as vases.
At the corner of Calle Moneda and the Madero pedestrian corridor, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the historic center of the capital, right in front of the National Palace, Saraí invites pedestrians to support the consultation. “Can I have your signature as a gift, please? Will you give me your signature? ”He says over and over again. Some passersby stop to listen to her and others simply ignore her and go on their way. “Sign to make the Mandate Ratification a reality!” Says the propaganda that he gives them. However, as of December 1, the INE prohibited the use of the word “ratification” in the advertising used to promote the consultation.
“We are taking to the streets so that on April 10 you can go out to vote if you want the president to stay,” explains Saraí. By getting a yes for the signature, the process is very fast. In less than five minutes, the volunteer writes down the name and voter code of the person concerned on a sheet of paper, takes a photograph of their voter ID from the front and the back and uploads them to a mobile application of the INE.
Afterwards, he takes a photo of the person who is about to support the consultation and, finally, he asks for his signature on the screen of a cell phone. One possible signatory after another, Saraí advances, from 12 noon to five in the afternoon, on her day. The volunteer takes a break behind the module and talks to her partner, who is also tired of going behind the pedestrians. “How many do you have?” He asks.
“Like 15, and you?”
—25. You need 15.
Saraí only needs to get the support of five more people with their valid electoral credentials and in an hour her shift ends, but she says she will stay until the two of them get 60 supports for the day. “We try to put them all together so that we can go calmly,” he explains and assures that his work is voluntary and that he does not receive payment for it. “We don’t even come from Morena [el partido del presidente] nor from the INE, we come from an institution [Que Siga la Democracia] and we are supporting because we are not even charging, we are supporting, “he says.
“They don’t pay you anything?”
—No, we are in another institution, but they pay us for our work there.
Let Democracy continue is a civil association that registered on October 11 with the INE as “promoter of the consultation for the Ratification of Mandate,” as reported on its website a day later. Its president, Gabriela Jiménez Godoy, has assured that they have already passed the necessary signatures for the consultation, by delivering more than 5.7 million. “We are millions of Mexicans who support the consultation of the revocation of the mandate. That is why we want to ask the competent authorities to carry out this exercise ”, he said this Monday when he went to the INE to deliver dozens of boxes with supposed support.
Today, more than 2 million signatures were delivered, with which we added a total of 5.7 million.
– Let Democracy Follow (@QueSigaMX) December 20, 2021
Meanwhile, in the other corner of the historic center of the capital, in front of the Templo Mayor, Juan Carlos rejects a volunteer from the same civil association who asks for his signature. “I think they are unnecessary expenses because it is the same, they make investments and in the end nothing happens, it is silly,” says the citizen. “In the end the same thing always happens, it will stay [el presidente] in the position and they are not going to do anything ”, he considers.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.