The Influence of Mexican Voters Abroad on Presidential Elections

Mexican-American voters in the US, numbering 1.5 million, hold potential sway over Mexico's 2024 presidential election. Xavier Medina Vidal highlights their evolving influence, while stressing the need for nuanced understanding and political engagement.

The Influence of Mexican Voters Abroad on Presidential Elections
Millions of Mexicans in the US Could Influence Mexico's Election.

For the vote of Mexicans who registered in the United States to vote in Mexico's next presidential election to be decisive, approximately 500,000 people would have to participate, of the million and a half who have a voter ID card, estimated Xavier Medina Vidal, head of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington.

In the United States, 226,661 potential voters were registered, according to data from the National Electoral Institute, he noted at the conference “The Mexican vote in the United States: its weight in the elections of both countries in 2024”, convened by the Center for Research on America of the North (CISAN).

The professor and researcher recalled the figures for the Vote of Mexicans Living Abroad, where the majority of the votes come from the United States:

To participate in the 2006 voting process, 40,876 Mexicans registered in the American Union, of which 31,621 did so; in 2012 there were 59,115 and 40,714, respectively; In 2018 the proportion was 181,873 and 98,740; For the 2024 elections, 226,661 have registered, he detailed.

In his presentation, Medina Vidal commented that the territory that Mexico lost to the United States in 1848 is a nation. In the North American country there are approximately 36 million legal Mexicans. In Texas, 85 percent are Latino; that is, 9.6 million of the 11 million inhabitants, according to the US Census Bureau.

This population received 40.2 percent of the votes, compared to 39.8 percent of non-Latino whites. “Even with this, we have not reached a level of representation equivalent to or higher than African Americans, although demographics are not destiny, that is, they are not the solution.”

In that country, they call the Latino vote a “sleeping giant”, they describe it in a derogatory way as an “unawakened community”, because even though it is the largest ethnic group, it does not have enough political power.

The key is that if there were an immigration reform there could be 20 million more voters, a notable growth of the electorate and with openness to various ethnic groups, there would be an additional 40 million, the US Congress knows this very well, which is why there is no, nor will there be, he declared.

It is worth mentioning, he said, that in the neighboring country to the north, Latinos are the youngest electorate, and with this, we anticipate that, depending on the variables, they will be the largest group.

And he pointed out: considering the electoral weight in California and Texas, the largest states, they practically “cancel” each other, because we know the political orientations that the second state has towards the Republicans, and California towards the Democrats. . The cases of Arizona and New Mexico have less influence on that process.

Meanwhile, the academic secretary of CISAN, Juan Carlos Barrón Pastor, moderator of the meeting, stated that the vote coming from abroad has been important in the 2012 and 2018 elections, and remains to be seen in 2024.

Of the nine million Americans who live outside their country, one, and a half million have legal residence in Mexico. Last year there were well over 20 thousand applications to achieve this immigration status.

In turn, Roberto Zepeda Martínez, researcher at the academic entity, reiterated that the suffrage of Mexicans abroad in a close presidential competition could be a decisive factor. The most essential thing is that this sleeping giant is not considered as a uniform vote or towards a single political faction.