When Mexico's Congress allowed its country's citizens to vote from abroad for the first time in 2006, local immigrant-rights activist Carmen Cornejo leapt at the chance to cast her ballot for President Felipe Calderon.
With the 2012 Mexican presidential elections scheduled for Sunday, Cornejo, a naturalized United States citizen born in Mexico, already has sent in her absentee ballot for Josefina Vazquez of the incumbent party PAN.
"Participation in the Mexican elections by Mexican nationals [living abroad means] that we care about the two countries, we care about the destiny of the two countries and we want both countries to succeed," Cornejo explains.
She is one of the 2,324 Arizona residents who have registered to mail in their ballots for the Mexican presidential elections. An estimated 80 million of her countrymen will head to polling stations tomorrow to replace Calderon.
According to Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute, of America's 50 states, Arizona has the sixth highest number of Mexican nationals participating in their home country's elections. California, as you might expect, is number one, with 12,908 registered Mexican voters.
Arizona's numbers are up from 2006. That year, Arizona had 1,476 registered Mexican voters. Since then, the number has increased 57 percent.
The number of actual votes sent to Mexico from Arizona for this election has not yet been tallied. But six years ago, 1,121 Mexican nationals in Arizona voted via mail-in ballots.