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Young Mexican voters reflect on historic election

Jared Treviño shows his inked thumb, proof that he voted in Mexico's election. (Samantha Esquivel/YJI)

Matamoros, MEXICO – During the national election this month, more than 100 million Mexicans lined up outside their voting districts with one goal in mind: voting in one of the most historical elections in the country’s history. 

Usually, the political race is dominated by several male candidates. Now, it was a battle mainly concentrated between Xóchitl Gálvez and Claudia Sheinbaum, both women. 

According to Jared Treviño, an 18-year-old college student from Matamoros, voting for the first time felt “a bit curious.”

“I didn’t expect it to feel like a test,” said Treviño. “A bit pressured when others came out first.”

In the last election, young people had the least participation in any Mexican election. This year’s political race was expected to be different. In past years, the political climate in Mexico has been severely polarized. 

On one side, the candidate Gálvez was represented by the conservative parties, while Sheinbaum stood on a more liberal side. This was a great influence in some of the first time voters’ final decisions. 

College student Juan Pablo Herrera, a rising sophomore from Matamoros, said, “the only parties I know are PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party, a conservative party] and Morena [Regenerational National Mover, a liberal party.] We know as citizens, from older people’s words, that every president has robbed us, but at least we should hope for one that leaves something good for us.”

Although these elections garnered a lot of attention since it was the first time most of the candidates were women, it was still important for people to vote and exercise their voice.

“It was reported that only 60% of my neighbors voted, which I find very disappointing,” said Herrera, “Although it made it easier for me to vote, I wouldn’t have minded to wait longer in line if it meant that most of the people in my neighborhood had voted.”

Voting is the most direct way to have a say in the decisions that are made in a democratic country. The candidates citizens vote for represent what the country’s ideologies will look like and the projects it will direct its budget towards. As the budget comes from the taxes citizens pay, it’s crucial to choose wisely the president who will handle that money.

“It’s important to vote because it’s on us that they – the government – make good decisions for our country,” said Celeste Padme, a college student and first time voter from Matamoros.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, most young people’s first sources of information for political news are social media platforms, which sometimes are filled with misinformation and fake news.

Padme stressed the importance of staying informed.

“To vote, it’s important to read, and to know how the country is going to be handled,” Padme said. “We can only depend on ourselves but if we don’t read we can fall into something worse.”

Samantha Esquivel is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Matamoros.

Regina López is a Senior Correspondent with Youth Journalism International from Mexico City.

More from YJI about Mexico’s elections:

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