Thousands of Mexicans vote in-person at Chicago consulate for historic Mexico presidential election

ByRob Hughes, Christian Piekos, and Cate Cauguiran WLS logo
Monday, June 3, 2024
Thousands of Mexicans in Chicago vote in presidential election
For the first time, Mexican nationals casted in-person ballot votes for a presidential election Sunday at the Mexican Consulate in West Town, Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands are expected to vote at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago on Sunday in a historic presidential election.

For the first time a woman, former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, is poised to become Mexico's next president.

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If Sheinbaum is elected, she would also be the first Jewish president in a largely Catholic country.

This is the first time Mexican nationals can cast a ballot at the consulate in-person. Mexicans living in Chicago can also vote by mail or electronically.

"For me, it's most important election of my lifetime," voter Paulette Moreno said.

Even if Sheinbaum is not elected Mexico is still likely poised to make history. Sheinbaum's main opponent is also a woman, Xochitl Galvez, who is a former senator and a fierce critic of the country's outgoing president.

"It's huge. It's marvelous," Moreno said. "It's incredible to see that two ladies are, will have the opportunity to be the president of our country. It's kind of a dream come true as you can imagine."

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Officials expected more than 2,500 people to vote in-person on Sunday. The excitement was high Sunday morning, but as the day went out and the lines grew, so did frustration.

Doors opened at 8:30 a.m. at the Mexican Consulate on the Near West Side and close when the polls close Sunday evening in Mexico. At around 11 a.m., Ashland Avenue was closed Southbound from Ogden to Jackson due to the election, city officials said. It is unknown when the road will open again.

Crowds of voters waited with anticipation and some with concern after the wait to cast the ballot turned into hours for some.

"This is sad and the INE... who allows people to vote, wasn't ready and was not respectful," voter Abel Vences said.

Eduardo Puga with the National Electoral Institute, or INE, said despite the fact that polls close at 7 p.m, election officials say everyone who registered to vote would be able to vote.

There were 223,961 Mexican citizens who registered to vote in the countrys elections from abroad, according to Puga and INE. That total includes 56,249 through mail voting,151,989 through online voting, and 15,723 for in-person voting. For Illinois specifically,10,560 Mexican citizens registered to vote, with 2,885 through mail, 6,358 through online voting, and 1,317 for in-person voting. There were 1,500 spots available for in-person voters at the Chicago Mexican Consulate for those who did not register but have a valid voting ID card.

Wright College Professor Javier Salas said female leadership in Mexico will uplift rights for women in Mexico.