Thousands of Mexican nationals vote in Chicago to elect the country’s first female president.

Well before 5 a.m., people eager to vote for Mexican presidential election began forming a line in front of the Mexican consulate in Chicago. By noon, thousands of people flooded South Ashland Avenue, forcing police to close streets and erect barricades to control the lines.

For the first time, Mexican nationals were able to vote in person at consular offices around the world, in a historic election in which the country prepares to elect its first female president. Voters will decide whether Claudia Sheinbaum, aligned with the left-wing Morena party, or Xochitl Galvezwith the center-right PAN party, will succeed Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, populist and creator of the Morena movement.

With only nine voting booths at the Mexican consulate, the process was long and frustrating for some in Chicago — some waited more than 10 hours — but they were enthusiastic and determined to vote.

For some Mexican immigrants, the possibility of vote in person from Chicago encouraged them to vote, many for the first time. Others said the election of the first female president had prompted them to wait in line despite the lack of coordination.

“We want to vote, we want to vote,” dozens of people chanted as lines stopped and the sun beat down on their faces. While 1,317 Mexican nationals registered to vote in person in Chicago, there were only 1,500 electronic ballots available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who had not registered but had a valid Mexican voter ID card, according to the National Electoral Office. Institute, or INE.

A total of 10,560 Mexicans in the Chicago area registered to vote in person, online and by mail, making Chicago the second city with the second highest number of Mexican nationals registered to vote in the United States, said Eduardo Puga of the National Electoral Institute. .

The latest census data indicates that one in five Chicago residents identify as Mexican. People from across the Chicago area, suburbs and neighboring states who had not registered traveled to the Mexican consulate in Chicago hoping for a chance at one of the 1,500 electronic ballots. Hundreds of people are expected to be left behind.

“They (the INE) underestimated our power, our presence in Chicago,” said Edith Cortez, a native of Guerrero, Mexico. She has lived in Wood Dale for 34 years, but “one day” she wants to return to Mexico, she said. Even though she was frustrated after waiting more than six hours to vote, she refused to leave.

“It makes me proud to see so many Mexicans here ready to vote,” Cortez said. “This shows how hungry we are for change in our country; we must unite, because after all, former politicians forced us to leave our country and go to the United States.”

A female president opens the door to a domino effect of change in a country so deeply tied to a macho culture, Cortez said.

“We are making progress, whoever wins, we are going in the right direction.”…

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