Hondurans are preparing to vote in the much-anticipated Nov. 26 presidential elections, including nationals living in United States. Yet, of the approximately one million Hondurans permanently living in the United States, only 50,100 are eligible to vote, according to the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal, TSE.
The amount is low for various reasons. Voter registration was done door-to-door by the Secretary of Exterior Relations, or SRE, using the addresses of Hondurans who have registered their address with their local consulate.
The vast majority of the one million Hondurans in the United States are undocumented and fear arrest or deportation by registering their addresses. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has increased its rate of arrests by 43 percent between January and September of this year compared to the same months last year.
Others don’t have correct information of how to register their addresses with the consulate. Without an official address, Hondurans can’t register to vote.
The TSE told La Prensa that for the past two years, and particularly since late August, they have been going to homes of Honduras, mainly in major cities across the United States, in order to update addresses and social security numbers so that Honduran nationals living abroad can register to vote. The TSE said this year’s voter registration is higher than that of the 2013 presidential election by eight percent.
The National Register of Persons of Honduras, RNP, and Honduran consulates in the United States said they were asked by the TSE to provide the agency with names and addresses of nationals there, but only two or three days before voter registration legally ended. By law, voter registration for Hondurans ends seven days prior to when citizens vote.
A representative of the RNP said they also conduct some brigades with TSE funding, but the agency’s small budget inhibited it from going to more homes to update IDs and voter registration.
Registered Hondurans can vote in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Washington and Atlanta, after which time TSE representatives from Honduras will travel to the U.S. and transport the ballots back to Honduras for counting.
The RNP said that for next year, the agency will provide booths in U.S. consulates for Hondurans to update their addresses and register to vote at any time of the year.