Sunday, January 29, 2012

Culture Of Respect For The Law

The United Mexican States (Yes, that is it's real name, not Republic of Mexico, etc.) has a very strict voter identification system. There is one and only one voter identification card. There is no voting without it. And it is used as the defacto national identification card. And if a person fails to renew or obtain a card, there is no "amnesty" for the lazy and indolent. (h/t Stein Report)

USA Today by David Agren January 29, 2012


MEXICO CITY – Office worker Ana Martínez lined up at 7 a.m. on a recent Sunday to renew her voter credential, a document required at a polling station to vote.

But voting was not the main reason she was getting it. The free photo ID issued by the Federal Electoral Institute had become the accepted way to prove one's identity — and is a one-card way to open a bank account, board an airplane and buy beer.

Voting was almost an afterthought to Martínez.

"They ask for it everywhere," she said. "It's very difficult to live without it."

But the Mexican government demands personal responsiblity from its citizens as well:

Though some U.S. states allow people to vote without IDs, Mexico makes no exceptions for individuals lacking the proper documents. The Federal Electoral Institute also refused to extend the registration period or grant an amnesty for those applying late, leaving more than a million people ineligible to vote.

"It is a matter that has to do with a culture of respect for the law," Francisco Guerrero, one of the nine commissioners on the institute, told the newspaper Reforma.

The agency makes no apologies for the tough rules or requiring photo identifications, given Mexico's history of troubled elections. "We started from such a point of distrust, especially in the electoral system," institute commissioner María Marván said.

"In order to strengthen democracy, we have to start believing in our own institutions. That's a big challenge in Mexico."

Personal responsibility, mandatory identification, and, more importantly, no amnesty. No amnesty for its citizens at home, but the government of Mexico demands it of us?

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