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Reporters on the Job

Observing the Vote: Correspondent Monica Campbell accompanied a couple of different groups of Mexican elections watchers during Sunday's elections in the state of Oaxaca (this page). She personally witnessed many of the infractions later reported by observers. "It was relatively quiet in the morning. But soon truckloads of voters arrived, driven by PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) operators. I saw a PRI backer standing next to a line of voters telling them "Vota PRI" - vote PRI. I saw PRI operators standing in booths with voters and other voters exiting the booth unfolded their ballots and showed the PRI operators, dressed in red shirts standing nearby, how they voted," says Monica.

She says at every voting station there were at least half a dozen PRI supporters assigned to "assist" voters.

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At the last polling booth she visited, the station stayed open past the closing time. Voters were still standing in line and the atmosphere was growing tense. "The observers I was with were ordered back to the capital for their own safety. There were reports of observers being harassed elsewhere. So we didn't see what happened in that town when the ballot boxes were carted off to be counted."

David Clark Scott
World editor