Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bad Eruviel

The PRI candidate for Mexico State has been found guilty of campaign shenanigans:
The Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Branch of the Federation found that the candidate for the "United for You" coalition, the priísta Eruviel Ávila, committed two campaign acts before he was permitted to, for which only an economic sanction is contemplated.
Such retroactive fines don't really serve as a disincentive against electoral shenanigans. Does anyone looking back on 2006 deny that Fox's violations were well worth the penalty? With the presidency at stake, would anyone's behavior be modified by having to pay a few millions dollars several years later? The problem is that money isn't a scarce enough commodity to discourage campaigning malfeasance, and electoral authorities don't want to wade into the hornets' nest of invalidating results. Understandably so--determining the threshold of violations at which an election should be nullified would be nightmare. Fox violated the electoral laws, but to such a degree that Calderón's victory wasn't legitimate? I don't know how you begin to approach that.

But there is a scarce commodity that electoral authorities are ignoring: time. With campaigns of just 45 days, why not chop a week or two off of the PRI's next gubernatorial election? Or, if the decision comes in early enough, why not make Ávila sit for a week during the campaign? That would likely modify candidates' behavior.

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