In Mexico voters head to the polls Sunday to elect mayors and other local leaders in 14 states ending a campaign season marred by mudslinging, threats and in murder in some regions.
“We don’t want more promises,” sang a trio of musicians strumming guitars on a street corner in Ciudad Juarez. “We want actions.”
The young musicians captured the mood of voters in Mexico as a hotly contested election for mayor concludes.
“We need more books, not guns,” said Jay Hernandez, a student and one of the musicians. He said he was studying the candidate’s proposals before casting a ballot.
Voters in Ciudad Juarez could elect the first woman mayor. Maria Antonieta Perez of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, is running against the Enrique Serrano of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
“A woman would be best,” said Rosa Martinez, the mother of two girls ages 14 and 16. “We need more security for our daughters.”
“We need more jobs,” said HIlario Gallegos, a father of five, who drives a bus. He was leaning toward the Perez, the PAN candidate.
Perez is trailing Serrano who has a well organized and financed campaign.
She’s accused his campaign of promising gifts to supporters and offered cash reward for proof of vote buying. Serrano’s campaign doubled the reward money for proof.
Elsewhere in Mexico the campaign trail has been marred by threats and violence. Candidates in Oaxaca, Chihuahua and Durango have been murdered. Other candidates have reported being threatened.
In Nuevo Laredo, a stronghold for the Zetas drug cartel, the PRI could lose its tight grip on power. Carlos Canturosas Villareal could be the first PAN candidate elected mayor in the border city since 1974.
He’s running against the PRI’s Carlos Montiel Saeb.
After El Manana, the leading Nuevo Laredo newspaper, reported on ties between Montiel and a money launderer behind bars in Texas, hackers attacked the site.
The Zocalo newspaper in Coahuila also suffered a cyber attack just days before voters in that border state cast ballots.
Turnout may be the deciding factor in many elections. Low turnout could favor the PRI which has a proven track record in getting out the vote.
“A lot of people don’t vote because they’re disillusioned,” said Abraham Arizmendi, a street vendor who sells “churros.”
But the father of five said he hopes people vote. “It’s our civic duty.”