It’s a historic day for Mexicans in the Bay Area. It’s the first time they can vote in a Mexican election while living abroad — one that is likely to result in the country’s first female president.

Voters are choosing between two women, Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez. Sheinbaum, who is Jewish, is an academic, former mayor of Mexico City, and a member of the ruling Morena party. She promises to continue outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s populist policies. Gálvez, of Otomi indigenous origin, is a former senator and tech entrepreneur who pledges to fight drug cartels.

Adair Guzmán, from Veracruz, was the first Mexican to arrive at 5 a.m. Sunday at the Mexican consulate in San Francisco, one of 23 cities allowed by Mexico’s National Electoral Institute to host in-person voting. At 26 years old, Guzmán was one of a few young voters among a crowd of predominantly older compatriots. “It is a great satisfaction that we can vote abroad,” said Guzmán. “It was through social networks that I was able to inform myself.” Guzmán said he took a day off from work to be able to vote, an opportunity that not many Latin American countries offer to their citizens living abroad.

Angélica Guerrero, 50, arrived at the consulate at 6 a.m. Originally from Tlatelolco in Mexico City, Guerrero said electing a female president “reflects an opening in ideology and strength that we women have always had, and is now starting to get recognized.”

According to Alejandro Araiza, a representative of the National Electoral Institute of Mexico (INE), there were 262 people registered to vote from abroad at the San Francisco consulate. “This vote is the largest election in history in terms of voters and in terms of the number of positions,” said Araiza. There are 128 Senate seats up for grabs in the election, as well as 500 federal deputies (similar to the U.S. House of Representatives) and 9 governorships. 

“This is historic,” said Armando Sánchez, 48, who was thrilled to see so many people lined up to vote alongside him. “We come here to be part of history.”

Election day is scheduled to end at 5 p.m.

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