elections

The President and Executive Secretary of a Jalisco political party brought an action of unconstitutionality before the Supreme Court, requesting the invalidity of the norm that grants local governments exclusive and unilateral power to reduce the duration of electoral campaigns in cases of risk to public health and safety, as occurred due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, the challenged provisions established an exception to the general rule of the duration of electoral processes, as well as a special rule that authorizes local governments to reduce electoral campaigns time limits up to 30 days.

Among several other grounds, the plaintiffs challenged the measures based on the violation of the functioning, autonomy and independence of the Public Electoral Body, as the Local Congress directly attributed to itself the exclusive and unilateral power to extend the start of the electoral process and the reduction of the electoral campaigns, thus violating Article 41, section V, paragraph c, first paragraph, point 3 and Article 116, section IV, paragraphs b) and c) of the Federal Constitution.

By decision of 5 December 2022, the Superior Chamber partially upheld the challenge brought by the claimants and declared the norms unconstitutional. In the present case, the Court found that, while local governments have the power to establish the starting dates of electoral processes, as well as the duration of their various stages, the government of Jalisco had violated the principle of certainty of elections by conferring upon itself the power to modify the duration of electoral processes due to health risks. In particular, the Court considered that, while local Congresses have the power to establish the date of the beginning of the electoral processes and the duration of the pre-campaigns and electoral campaigns, it is for the local electoral public bodies to identify the public health and risk to the population that may justify the adjustments to the beginning, development and conclusion of said processes. In this regard, Local Congresses do not have faculties that correspond to the electoral authority since only the latter have the necessary expertise to duly and carefully analyze the extraordinary circumstances that may suggest the necessary regulations to safeguard the security and integrity of the population.

Full text of the decision available at dof.gob.mx es