Federal and State electoral officials have traditionally worked separately. The IFE (Instituto Federal Electoral), which deals with federal elections and has even fined national parties for violating rules during campaigns, has usually avoided exceeding its jurisdiction. It has done so to avoid disputes with the various regional electoral agencies that are tasked with overseeing local or state elections in their respective states. However, the two groups have recently agreed to work in closer collaboration in order to ensure that regional elections in 2010 go well.
The political importance of 2010 is somewhat eclipsed by the decisive July 2009 elections that saw most of the federal legislature, governorships in six important states, and several other local posts throughout the country up for reelection. Last year, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) made a strong comeback on a national level after having been pummeled in the 2006 presidential race and reestablished itself as a dominant political party in Mexico. Though no one is predicting a similar, large political shift this year, 2010 will see various mayors, local city councils, and governorships up for grabs. Thanks, in part, to efficient oversight by electoral agencies like the IFE, the PRI’s comeback was not marred by any major reports of fraud or ballot-stuffing. Everyone is hoping the same holds true this year as well.
As such, several state and local electoral officials met with the IFE’s President last year to agree to cooperate on a greater scale in order to share ideas and strategies on how to confront the logistical challenge of ensuring clean processes, managing voting booths, and training election workers in a year with so many different elections. For Mexico, this is important since ensuring effective oversight is key to establishing the legitimacy of a race’s results and creating trust in public institutions.