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MPI Journal Article Examines Prospects for Participation in Mexico's Upcoming Election by Mexicans Living Abroad
Press Release
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MPI Journal Article Examines Prospects for Participation in Mexico's Upcoming Election by Mexicans Living Abroad

WASHINGTON — Despite having 10.6 million Mexican citizens of voting age residing in the United States, Mexico’s diaspora likely will play a small role in the 2012 Mexican presidential election that will occur on July 1.

A new article, The 2012 Mexican Presidential Election and Mexican Immigrants of Voting Age in the United States, from the online journal of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) examines the prospects for participation in the upcoming election by Mexicans living abroad, using the most recently available U.S. Census Bureau data to characterize this population by size, geographic distribution and age of voting eligibility. The Migration Information Source article also details the history and process of external voting in Mexico and the participation of the Mexican diaspora in the 2006 Mexican presidential election, which marked the first time that Mexicans living outside of Mexico could vote.

Among the article’s findings:

  • Of the 11.7 million Mexican immigrants of all ages residing in the United States in 2010, more than 10.6 million were ages 18 and older. (Mexican election rules permit voting if the person is a Mexican citizen, is at least 18 years old, is registered with the Federal Electoral Institute’s federal registry of voters and has a valid voting ID card.)
  • About three-quarters of adult Mexican immigrants in the United States lack U.S. citizenship; nearly two-thirds came after 1990.
  • Nearly half of Mexican adults living in the United States reside in California or Texas.
  • As of February 15, the Federal Electoral Institute had received slightly more requests for absentee ballots for the 2012 election than in 2006, with an estimated 61,687 absentee ballots requested. In 2006, 56,749 absentee ballots were requested.
  • Ultimately, there were 32,632 absentee ballots cast in the 2006 election, 87 percent from the United States. By contrast, 41.8 million Mexicans within Mexico exercised their right to vote, compared to 1 percent of eligible Mexican nationals abroad.

The period to register to vote in Mexico’s upcoming election closed on January 15, 2012. Postal electoral packets, containing the absentee ballot and information regarding the candidates and their platforms, were scheduled to be mailed to eligible absentee voters between April 16 – May 20.

The article also provides a breakdown of absentee ballot requests by country and by U.S. state of residence (for top states). The article can be found online here.

For more information or to speak with one of the authors, contact MPI Deputy Director of Communications Burke Speaker at (202) 266-1920 or Director of Communications Michelle Mittelstadt at 202-266-1910.


The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.