Does the picture below (found on Facebook) accurately describe laws regarding voter identification cards in Mexico?

Mexican voter ID laws

To vote in Mexico every eligible Mexican citizen has to have a tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram.

All citizens are required to personally enroll and show proof of birth or citizenship.

Applicants are required to personally return to collect their voting credential.

So how is it that we can't upgrade to Mexican standards without being called racist? Maybe it's because one political party is dependant [sic] on voter fraud.

  • 15
    Answers should attempt to address the claims in the first three sentences. Please don't respond to the fourth and fifth sentences, as they are not claims that can be answered with evidence; they are a political opinion, and are therefore off-topic.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 12, 2015 at 0:43
  • This is assuming that voter fraud is a big deal--something they aren't proving. Aug 17, 2015 at 1:16
  • It might be worth adding that such strict ID requirements apply in many other countries, indeed a Russian voter might be similarly skeptical of the claim that in the US, not only can one vote without documents, but there is fierce opposition to requiring any ID.
    – RomanSt
    Aug 17, 2015 at 20:14
  • @LorenPechtel it also fails to address the cost of the ID cards and accessibility and availability of the offices that citizens must personally visit twice to get them.
    – phoog
    Dec 17, 2016 at 14:18
  • @phoog You and Loren are referring to the final sentence in the image, correct? Dec 17, 2016 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, these claims are true.

The department of the Mexican government responsible for the integrity of the electoral process is Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) [National Electoral Institute]. My answer refers to their resources extensively.

Going through the claims:

  1. "To vote in Mexico every eligible Mexican citizen has to have a [ID card]"

The INE English summary discusses this claim:

The photo-voting card issued free of charge by the IFE to all citizens that have requested to be included in the electoral registry is an essential document to exercise the right to vote. In exceptional cases clearly foreseen by the law and for the purpose of voting within the national territory, a citizen who does not carry and show his/her photo-voting card on the day of the elections is not allowed to cast his/her vote.

Note: The second sentence, read literally, would actually refute the claim (and the first sentence), but it appears this is a mistranslation of the confusing triple negatives. I think the word "Except" is missing at the start of the third sentence.

That's a bold claim for me to make, so I looked for some other evidence to support it.

USA Today confirmed, in a 2012 story, with interviews with appropriate officials that the id IS strictly required:

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.

Also, this Spanish site about the 2015 Mexico Elections explains that voting card is required, and only people issued with them will appear on the electoral rolls. (I am not sure of the page's provenance though.)

I think it is reasonable to conclude that the troublesome sentence was mistranslated.

  1. "tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram."

Examples of the different types of cards can be seen on this INE web-site.

Photos, thumb-prints and "holographic" embossing can be seen.

The site allows particular ids to be checked against a database.

Sixteen security features of the card are published to help people inspect the cards. Whether they are "tamper-proof" is a matter of opinion/definition.

  1. "All citizens are required to personally enroll and show proof of birth or citizenship."

This INE site shows the type of documents that are required for first time voters ("Primera vez"): Photo id, nationality documents and proof of address.

  1. "Applicants are required to personally return to collect their voting credential."

This INE document describes the process, including a step of receiving a voucher with a date on it. After than date, you must return to the same office, present the voucher and have your fingerprint verified to receive the card.

(My Spanish is poor, so I would appreciate some verification that I have this right.)

  • Good answer. You're probably right about confusion with respect to negatives. I tried to verify this, but the site's navigation is terrible and I couldn't find the original document your citation came from. Aug 19, 2015 at 0:50
  • @MichaelWolf: As in an original Spanish document that the English summary I linked to was derived from? That's a shame.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 19, 2015 at 1:22
  • 3
    To put this great answer into context. The card that allows you to vote is a de facto national ID for any legal transaction in Mexico. usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-01-22/… The wider issue here is about national ID cards and not about voting: In any country in which there exists a national ID card use of this card is required to vote. The USA (and e.g. the UK) have a tradition of opposing any national registries and IDs, which is what makes identification requirements problematic since not every citizen will have the necessary ID. Dec 17, 2016 at 21:18

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