It is possible to centralize the organization of elections, but not in the terms proposed by the presidential reform. This is also not the time. In 2007, when the PRI was the third political force in Mexico below the PAN and the PRD, its bench presented a constitutional reform project, which called for a single body, the IFE, to hold both federal and local elections. That project to centralize the election ceremony did not succeed. Fifteen years later, we face a new attempt to dismantle the State Electoral Bodies (OPL), only now that the party promoting reform is in power.
In a 2010 book titled The Arbitrators of the State Election, the current president of the INE, Lorenzo Cordova, and jurist Cesar Estudillo wonder whether the reform proposed in 2007 by the PRI was technically, legally, and constitutionally viable. After analyzing the biological and constitutional structure of federal entities and the 31 electoral institutions of the erstwhile Federal District from a legal perspective, the authors concluded, and I agree with them, that it is feasible to hold elections. Focusing on a single national body, as holding elections is not an expression of sovereignty, but a techno-administrative activity that allows the sovereign expression of the people.
However, from a political point of view, as a measure to limit governors’ interference in elections, this would be, in the words of the authors, “a false path”: “the solution is not to remove the powers that currently exist to concentrate them in national bodies.” are reserved for. […] The solution lies in betting on guaranteeing the autonomy of these organizations and in expanding and strengthening the still meager mechanisms of financial, administrative and political accountability. The electoral reforms of 2014 had bet on this.
Today, the context differs from the 2007 context, as an argument for austerity (really?) an unprecedented form of amalgamation proposal, allowing the majority party to take control.
Can the conduct and organization of elections be centralized in a single body? Cordova and Estudillo’s analysis is still valid: it can be done, but the political cost is unaffordable in the current state of our democracy. In Mexico, it is still of vital importance who counts the votes and as long as we vote on the ballot, it would be wise to maintain the current dual model of conducting elections; Yes, in order to power the citizen vote, a formula that guarantees the budgetary autonomy of the INE and the OPL would have to be introduced in federal and local constitutions, in a way that protects the public funding of political parties.