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News > Latin America

Mexico's Puebla Suffers Rash of Ballot Burglaries, One Dead

  • Election officials count ballots after polls closed during presidential election in Mexico City, Mexico July 1, 2018.

    Election officials count ballots after polls closed during presidential election in Mexico City, Mexico July 1, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 July 2018

Thousands of marked ballots were stolen in the city of Puebla as hooded, armed men enter polling stations fire into the air and escape with ballot boxes.

Only hours before the polls closed in Mexico’s highly contentious general elections, the city of Puebla suffered a rash of ballot robberies at polling stations, leaving one person killed and voters unable to make their selection for president, the state governor, and congressional representatives.

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The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) confirmed that one of their local chairpeople in the state of Puebla, Fernando Herrera Silva, was also assassinated on Sunday.

In a statement, the PRI said, "We demand the state and judicial authorities to clarify this attack, which also recorded three other people injured. This process is marred again by acts of violence and it is the duty of the state government to guarantee the safety of citizens, in the free exercise of their rights."

At around 2:00 p.m. local time a group of eight to 10 armed men raided the Emiliano Zapata school in the city of Puebla entered the polling station on Sunday and overturned the ballot boxes in shot their guns in the air.

Officials at the station closed the voting facility out of fear even though voters were insisting they should be allowed to cast their ballots.

At 4:00 p.m. five or six other armed men entered the polling station set up at a different school and fired shots into the air, wounding a poll worker and then stole the ballot boxes for president and for the Puebla state governor.

Simultaneously armed youths stole all the ballot boxes at the Fundadores de Puebla primary school, confirmed Mexico’s electoral institute. Electoral authorities canceled the vote there despite voter protests.

Two other schools in Puebla were raided by several armed, hooded males late Sunday afternoon who stole the already marked voter ballots from the station leaving behind a trail of ballots with the peoples’ votes.

The Puebla Attorney General's Office has not issued an official statement on the series of ballot burglaries.

The PRI announced that Fernando Herrera Silva was gunned down at his home.

Local media is saying that the perpetrators were from the state’s ruling party - PAN (National Action Party).

Mexico is voting on Sunday for its president, state governors, Congressional representatives and 1,000s of local level representatives.

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