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The Tijuana weekly Zeta on Friday called for Baja California state electoral institute President Rubén Castro Bojórquez to resign for having played such a partisan role in elections when the institute is supposed to be unbiased. Castro Bojórquez is allied with the PRI.
The paper's front page says, "They Want to Contest the Election Rusults — But There is No Way to Turn the Page."
Meanwhile, at Friday morning's meeting of the Coparmex business group, Carlos Torres Torres told MexicoPerspective that he was confident that National Action Party gubernatorial candidate Francisco Vega would continue to hold a wide lead over PRI candidate Fernando Castro Trenti in the official vote count. Torres knows the unpredictable nature of Baja California voters well — the former deputy led in the polls for Tijuana mayor in 2010, but lost to the PRI's Carlos Bustamante, just as Castro Trenti led in some polls but lost to Vega in the gubernatorial race. This year, if all voters for PRI mayoral candidate Jorge Astiazarán had also voted for Castro Trenti, the PRI candidate likely would have won the governorship. Torres headed Vega's campaign in Tijuana.
At the Coparmex meeting, national columnist and TV commentator Sergio Sarmiento said that for Mexico to reduce the poverty that affects nearly half the country's residents, it must grow more economically and enact true reforms. He did not discuss the Baja California elections — but did address them in a column on Monday, July 15.
Also Friday, because the state legislature race in District 12 between the Democratic Revolution Party's Roberto Dávalos and the PRI's David Ruvalcaba was apparently ruled to have ended with less than 1% separating them, a vote-by-vote recount was being held. Dávalos held just a 62-vote lead at one point during the recount, Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias reported. Dávalos was part of the PAN coalition, and the PAN said it would file suit over the recount, because the official tally gave Dávalos a lead of 1.5% before a PRI-dominated electoral board threw some votes out, thereby reducing the lead. Dávalos eventually won.
Update, July 15: Campestre magazine editor Eugenio Carrasco in his column in El Mexicano said the PRI will bury Castro Bojórquez, with the only question being whether he will be buried "boca abajo o boca arriba" (face down, or face up). Carrasco had kind words for Castro Trenti, whose face graced the June edition of Campestre; Vega was featured on the March cover.
The Baja California Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute on Wednesday allowed vote-by-by recounts in various districts from Sunday's election, even though the law only allows such recounts if there is a difference of less than 1% between candidates at the end of the official vote count. The National Action Party cried foul, complaining that the Institutional Revolutionary Party-leaning president of the institute, Rubén Castro Bojórquez, was violating the law and clouding the gubernatorial victory of the PAN's Francisco Vega. In the preliminary count, Vega had 47.1% and the PRI's Fernando Castro Trenti 44.1%.
What was supposed to happen on Wednesday was the official election count, which involved taking the official vote totals posted on ballot boxes and recording them into a whole.
Milenio reported that the vote-by-vote count was later suspended in districts after PRI candidate Fernando Castro Trenti said counts should only be made of ballot boxes where the official vote tabulation was placed inside, instead of outside where the tabulation was supposed to have been attached. Regular citizens are randomly chosen as precinct officials, and they are not always the best at following directions; for example, many polls opened late because the poll workers arrived late. After polls close, the poll workers were to count the ballots in the presence of each other and record the vote totals on an official document to be attached to a box containing the ballots that were cast.
The Tijuana news agency Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias reported that in Tijuana District 13, 180 official tabulation counts were placed inside ballot boxes and that the totals for those boxes were apparently counted as zero in the preliminary vote count known as the PREP. (Even if their totals were not counted in the PREP, the boxes would have been opened and the tabulation counts recorded in the official count that began Wednesday.) The PREP apparently counted those precincts as having their results in, thereby inflating what percentage of the vote it claimed had been recorded.
Anomalies were found in some of the recounts that were done.
Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias reported that in one precinct in Tijuana District 10, Vega was recorded as having 419 votes when the recount showed him as having 119. It was not clear whether this was an error made by the company that put together the PREP or by the precinct workers.
The news agency said that in Ensenada Precinct 14D3, the official tabulation count said the PAN got 456 votes, when it actually got 88.
The news agency also reported that the PRI gubernatorial candidate might be gaining more than 1,000 votes from the vote-by-vote count in Tijuana District 16. It was not clear whether, if this was true, it came mainly came from just tallying the votes from boxes where the official vote-total document was mistakenly placed inside, or how much this might have resulted from poll workers' recording vote totals poorly or how much it was a result of the company in charge of the PREP getting some totals wrong.
And Castro Trenti would need far more than those 1,000 votes in every district to make up his 25,000-vote deficit. Baja California has 17 electoral districts.
Update: The PRI coalition wound up winning by 3,265 votes in District 16, while the preliminary count had the PRI coalition winning by 2,508. So the PRI picked up 757 votes, not more than 1,000.
Update, July 14: In the end, Vega wins by a 24,959-vote margin, Frontera reports; the difference in the preliminary count, or PREP, was 25,554. What was all the hullaballoo about? Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, July 11, 11 p.m.: Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias reports that official count shows margin in District 12 tightening and emotions high: the Democratic Revolution Party's Roberto Dávalos had a 688-vote lead in the preliminary count.
Update, July 12: Frontera reports that Dávalos wins by 30 votes.
El Sol de Tijuana writes about how Bojórquez's partisanship is disturbing the state's entrepreneurial class.
Frontera story about Bojórquez (PDF).
January Milenio story talking about Bojórquez's partisan credentials, and how he reportedly repressed students when he was rector of the Autonomous University of Baja California.