Matt Pascarella in Mexico City
Greg Palast in London
Monday, 3 July
Gore v. Bush. Kerry v. Bush. Obrador v. Calderon.
But they will call it -- after they steal it. Reuters News agency reports that, as of 8pm Eastern time, as voting concluded in Mexico, exit polls show Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the "left-wing" Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) leading in exit polls over Felipe Calderon of the ruling conservative National Action Party (PAN).
We've told you again and again: Exit polls tell us how voters say they voted, but the voters can't tell pollsters if their vote will be counted. In Mexico, counting the vote is an art, not a science -- and Calderon's ruling crew is very artful indeed. The PAN-controlled
official electoral commission, not surprisingly, has announced that the presidential tally is too close to call.
On the ground in Mexico City, our news team reports accusations from inside the Obrador campaign that operatives of the PAN had access to voter files which are supposed to be the sole property of the nation's electoral commission.
We are not surprised.
This past Friday, we reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had obtained Mexico's voter files under a secret "counterterrorism" contract with database company ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia. (See BUSH TEAM HELPS RULING PARTY "FLORIDIZE" MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION)
The FBI's contractor states that, following the arrest of ChoicePoint agents by the Mexican
government, the company returned or destroyed its files. The firm claims not to have known collecting this information violated Mexican law. Such files can be useful in challenging a voter's right to cast a ballot or in preventing that vote from counting.
It is, of course, impossible to know if the FBI destroyed its own copy of the files of Mexico's voter rolls obtained by Choicepoint or if these were then used to illegally assist the Calderon candidacy.
But we can see the results: as in the US, first in Florida then in Ohio, the exit polls are at odds with "official" polls.
The foreign mainstream press has already announced, despite the polling discrepancies, that Mexico's elections were fair and clean -- which would be a first for that country where Obrador's party has seen its candidates defeated by "blatant fraud" before. The change this time is that the fraud is simply less blatant.