Two recent developments affecting elections in Mexico are plans to issue a national identification card and use electronic voting booths more frequently. The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) has been charged with preparing a photo ID card that will serve as both a voter registration card and for regular identification purposes. Originally, they planned to have it ready for use in the 2012 presidential elections. However, renewing the registered voter rolls that include over 77 million people has proved challenging and costly. Still, one of the IFE’s members recently stated that the agency remains committed to achieving this goal and that several millions of registered voters will have to renew their current voter registration cards anyway, as they are set to expire soon.
Mexico has also been toying with the idea of using electronic polling booths. Currently, the norm is using paper ballots and placing them inside transparent, plastic boxes. The transparent boxes were developed in order to protect against fraud or ballot-stuffing that was a problem in Mexico for many years. The IFE has been tasked with studying the experiences of other countries that use electronic voting booths and determining whether they are worth investing in. The legislature of the state of Hidalgo has also taken an interest in these machines. In fact, it plans to use electronic booths during Hidalgo’s statewide elections this year. They have tasked an independent commission to determine the procedures and regulation to be followed in handling these machines. Though these electronic booths will only be used in a few municipalities and the traditional, plastic boxes are expected to be around for some time, this change represents a growing trend in how elections are conducted in Mexico.