Despite initial claims to the contrary, it appears Baja California's July 7 elections were fair and clean — and the final vote tally seems to prove it.
Over the weekend, Fernando Castro Trenti, the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), conceded defeat to Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), losing by just under 25,000 votes.
On election night, both candidates claimed victory, and, when election officials announced Vega de Lamadrid had amassed an irreversible advantage, PRI partisans cried foul and demanded a recount. That led to a week of scrutiny of vote tabulations at every polling place.
In the end, the final results were not much different from those announced the night of July 7. But proof of the election's legitimacy did not come from the recount as much as from the high level of cross-over voting.
While the PRI retained mayorships in Tijuana, Tecate, and Ensenada, the PAN picked up just two — in Rosarito and Mexicali. The PRI carried ten districts in the mayors' races, but Castro Trenti won in only four of those ten, as thousands of voters split their tickets, voting for a PRI mayor and a PAN governor.
The same trend held true in state legislative races. For example, in three districts in which the PRI won seats, Castro Trenti lost to Vega Delamadrid. Altogether, the PAN won the legislative races in ten districts, the PRI in seven. Because both the PRI and the PAN ran as coalitions, both will have to share power in the state legislature with a variety of smaller political parties.