How Mexican citizens in Texas can vote in Mexico’s 2024 elections

Mexican flags wave along a street in Houston. Mexican citizens living in Texas will have new options for voting in their country’s elections this year. Credit: Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

By Maria Probert Hermosillo, The Texas Tribune

With two women frontrunners, Mexico will likely elect its first female president on June 2, and Mexican voters living in Texas will be able to vote for the country’s president, other federal offices and some governorships.

Mexico has allowed citizens living abroad to vote since the early 2000s, and as of Feb. 8, 630,513 Mexicans living abroad are eligible to vote. In Texas, about 240,000 people have gotten voter IDs from the Dallas and Houston Mexican consulates and are eligible to register to vote in the June election.

Mexicans living abroad will be able to vote more easily this year using an online option on their mobile phones, said Juan Hernandez, the former secretary of migration for the Mexican state of Guanajuato who served as a cabinet member for former President Vicente Fox. Voters in certain countries, including the U.S,. will also be able to vote in person at certain Mexican consulates for the first time.

For president, voters will choose between candidates Claudia Sheinbaum of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party, Xotchil Gálvez of the Broad Front for México — a coalition of opposing parties — and Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizen Movement party.

Unlike elections in the U.S., where the Electoral College decides presidential elections, Mexico uses a simple majority vote to elect its president. In 2006, Felipe Calderón won by just 0.4% of the vote.

“You know, half a million [Mexican] voters in the United States, if the election is that close, can easily turn the election in Mexico,” said Tony Payan, director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at the Baker Institute, a nonpartisan policy research organization based at Rice University in Houston. “That I think is important. It’s unlikely, but it is important to consider.”

Payan says Mexican voters in the U.S. and Texas are an important bellwether — Mexicans living abroad tend to overwhelmingly choose the winning candidate in Mexican elections.

The number of people in the U.S. who could be eligible to vote in Mexico’s elections has increased dramatically in recent years after a 2021 constitutional amendment allowed Mexican nationality to be passed on indefinitely, which means people of Mexican descent can get Mexican citizenship even if their parents weren’t born in Mexican territory, as long as they can prove they had family with Mexican citizenship some time before.

“In the coming decade, I think we are going to see a Mexico that is highly linked to the Mexicans abroad,” Hernandez said.

In 2021, Mexico City elected its first migrant congressperson to represent Mexican citizens living abroad.

Here’s how Mexican citizens can vote in Mexico’s elections from Texas:

What dates do I need to know?

Feb. 25: The deadline to register to vote for those living abroad

April 7, April 28, May 19: Presidential debates will be broadcast on INE social media and Mexican radio and television platforms

May 18: Online voting opens at 8 p.m. CST and closes at 6 p.m. CST on June 2

June 1: The Instituto Nacional Electoral must receive mail-in ballots by 8 a.m. CST

June 2: Election Day in Mexico and also in person at consulates

What documents do I need to vote?

  • Have a current Mexican voter ID (INE credencial para votar)
  • To obtain a Mexican voter ID you need: Proof of Mexican citizenship (birth certificate or document of Mexican citizenship), a photo ID (including passport, Mexican driver’s license, or any government credentials with a photo) and proof of residence abroad (including phone, utility or school bills)
  • If you don’t have a Mexican voter ID or yours expired, you can get one at your nearest Mexican consulate or embassy. Make an appointment by calling 424-309-0009, visit their website or visit in person. Mexican consulates and embassies are accepting walk-ins for voter IDs until Sunday, Feb. 25.

How do I register to vote from abroad?

Register to vote at the INE website using your voter ID. If you register to vote from abroad, you will not be allowed to vote in person on June 2 in Mexico.

How to vote

Online: You should receive an email no later than May 3 with access codes and a link to enter the electronic voting system.

On May 18, you will receive another verification code, either a 6-digit SMS message or a QR code that you can access with a downloadable app. You will need both codes to access the electronic voting system. Then you will submit your vote and verify all information.

By mail: You will receive your ballot during the first week of May at your home address, with an instruction manual and pre-paid envelope to mail it. Make sure to fold the ballot and submit it in the same colored envelope; if you have any time constraints call 866-986 8306.

In person: You can vote at INE-approved Mexican consulates on June 2. The consulates in Dallas and Houston are approved in Texas. More information on voting in person is available here.

Which offices are on the ballot?

  • President
  • Senate — all 128 seats
  • Chamber of Deputies — all 500 seats
  • Governorships in Chiapas, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, Puebla and Yucatan, as well as Mexico City’s head of government
  • Migrant representatives for Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca

Who are the presidential candidates?

Claudia Sheinbaum

Political Party: Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (Morena)

Age: 61

Political experience:

  • Head of government of Mexico City, 2018-23
  • Head of Tlalpan Delegation, 2015-17
  • Member of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s presidential campaign, 2006
  • Secretary of the environment for Mexico City under López Obrador

Sheinbaum supports López Obrador’s social programs, such as the government pension for older citizens and has expressed wanting to continue his overall legacy. She has also expressed support for renewable energy. Sheinbaum is of Jewish ancestry and has a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s and doctorate degree in energy engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She was previously married to Carlos Imaz, the founder of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and she served as the party’s first woman head of government of Tlalpan, a delegation that is part of Mexico City with a population of more than half a million people.

Earlier this month, Sheinbaum condemned U.S. efforts to build walls along the U.S.-Mexico border and said she supports more investment in Latin American countries whose citizens are likely to emigrate, mirroring López Obrador’s stance on immigration.

Xochitl Gálvez

Political Party: Partido Acción Nacional (PAN)

Age: 60

Political experience:

  • Senator for Mexico City, 2018-present, overseeing the Commission of Indigenous Affairs and serving as secretary of the Commission of Anti-corruption, Transparency and Citizen Participation
  • Head of Miguel Hidalgo delegation of Mexico City with PAN, 2015-18
  • Ran for governor of the state of Hidalgo as a coalition candidate for PAN, PRD and the Labor Party
  • Creator and director of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Development Commission of Mexico, 2003-06
  • Director of the Office for the Development of Indigenous People during Fox’s presidency, 2000-03

Gálvez gained national attention when the president called her out for criticizing his social programs during one of his nationally-televised morning press conferences, then refused to let her respond from the audience. Soon after, she announced that she would join the PAN, PRD and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) coalition, known as the Broad Front for Mexico.

Gálvez, who is of indigenous background and grew up in a low-income community in the state of Hidalgo, got her bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from UNAM and went on to become the founder of High Tech Services, a company focused on developing high-tech spaces and buildings, promoting clean energy and security processes. She has spoken about developing training programs for coding and innovation if she were to win the election.

Gálvez is running from the center-right and has opposed most of López Obrador’s policies and supports the privatization of Pemex, the mammoth state-owned energy company. She has also spoken in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthy and supporting the middle class, where she has found political support.

Jorge Álvarez Máynez

Political Party: Movimiento Ciudadano (MC)

Age: 38

Political experience:

  • Federal deputy, 2015-18, 2021-present
  • Served as his party’s secretary for organization and national political action, 2013
  • Local deputy for the congress of Zacatecas with the PRI and Partido Verde Ecologista de México Nueva Alianza coalition, 2010-13
  • Council member for the city of Zacatecas with the PRD, 2004-07

While Gálvez and Sheinbaum announced their candidacies for president early, Álvarez Máynez entered the race after his party’s original candidate, Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel Garcia, withdrew in December. He is now the youngest presidential candidate in Mexico’s history, but the center-right candidate lacks the widespread recognition of the two front-runners. Álvarez Máynez is betting on the younger generation’s support and is vocal about social progressive issues including marriage equality and the decriminalization of abortion. He has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, and master’s degrees in constitutional rights and human rights from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.

When it comes to immigration, Álvarez Máynez has criticized past presidents for their lack of a migration policy at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, which he claims has become a highly militarized zone. Despite Álvarez Máynez calling for more attention to human rights at the country’s southern and northern borders, he has been vocal about praising El Salvador President Nayib Bukele’s strict security strategy, which has included suspending civil liberties and mass incarcerations to curb gang violence. Máynez has signaled that he plans to mirror this strategy in Mexico if he wins.

Where to find more information about the voting process:

Where to find more information about candidates:

Maria Mendez contributed to this story.

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