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Study finds many Mexicans abroad ready to vote back home

Study finds many Mexicans abroad ready to vote back home

MEXICO CITY — Most Mexicans living in the United States would cast ballots for elections back home if they have the chance, according to a study released on Monday.

The survey by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 87 percent of the 4,836 Mexican citizens interviewed in the United States would vote, if they could, in Mexican elections.

Although the result was overwhelming, it did not cover all sectors of Mexicans in the United States and no margin of error could be calculated. Interviews were conducted with those visiting Mexican consulates in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Raleigh and Fresno to obtain Mexican government identification documents.

The survey comes as Mexico's Senate is considering a measure already approved by the lower house of Congress to permit Mexicans to vote abroad.

"The desire to vote in Mexican elections is almost universal among the Mexican population in the United States," said Roberto Suro, the Center's director, speaking at a news conference at the government's Foreign Relations Department here.

He said 42 percent of those interviewed said they had taken their Mexican voting credential with them to the United States.

The deputy secretary for North America of the Foreign Relations Department, Geronimo Gutierrez, said the results help "give a greater understanding of what the Mexican community in the United States is thinking at this moment."

The Chamber of Deputies voted on Feb. 22 to approve voting abroad as of the 2006 presidential election and the measure was sent to the Senate.

Proponents say the expatriate Mexican population deserves the right to vote without being forced to return home. However some politicians have expressed concern about foreign influence and financing creeping into Mexican elections.

An estimated 4 million of the 10 million Mexicans abroad have a voting credential.

Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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