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Constitutional conversation with Pamela San Martín.
Mexico has one of the most sophisticated sets of electoral procedures. With stringent rules around the use of money and expedited accountability mechanisms, control over TV and radio propaganda, a national electoral census, and a system of randomly selected citizens who staff polling stations and count votes, Mexico boasts a very robust electoral system. At its core is a national autonomous institute that oversees and organizes electoral procedures in the country. This model is one built over several decades of reforms and in parallel with the country’s transition to democracy, as a response to historical distrust in elections.
In this talk, former Electoral Councilwoman of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute, Pamela San Martín, analyzes some of the distinct elements of Mexican elections and its main challenges and opportunities. Her talk will provide key comparative insights into how this young democracy ensures free and fair elections and what lessons it holds for other democracies, young and old, such as the US, and beyond.
Pamela San Martín
Pamela San Martín is a lawyer from Mexico City who has dedicated her career to advancing human rights, freedom of expression and democratic institutions. Between 2014 and 2020, she served as one of 11 Electoral Councilors at Mexico’s National Electoral Institute — the highest position in the country’s electoral management body. There she worked on organizing peaceful elections and managing key issues of campaign regulation and freedom of speech and information. As Electoral Councilor, San Martín played a central role in developing policies to guarantee minority rights in democratic processes including trans and disability rights, and quotas for indigenous people. She has also sat on the editorial board of one of Mexico’s most widely circulated newspapers. Prior to her time at the Electoral Institute, San Martín worked at Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission for almost a decade. She is currently a consultant on elections, democracy, and human rights, particularly in countries facing polarization and violence, and has participated as an expert in international observation mission.