Photo ID required to vote in Mexico.
TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – Hundreds of Mexicans living in California drove for hours on Sunday to vote south of the border for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as president, persuaded by his pledges to stand up to U.S President Donald Trump and end graft and violence at home.
Exit polls Sunday evening showed Lopez Obrador had won by a large margin, and his rivals both conceded shortly after polls closed.
Queuing under the hot sun at Tijuana polling booths, many Mexican voters who had crossed the border from California told Reuters that they trusted Lopez Obrador most to protect the roughly 12 million Mexicans living in the United States.
“This man is the only one who can make Trump end his persecution and racism against Mexicans,” said Luis Evans, 58, who drove from Los Angeles to a voting booth about a mile from the border.
“If there’s not a change in Mexico with Andres Manuel, then God help us.”
Lopez Obrador has pledged to not let Mexico become a “pinata” battered by the United States and rejects Trump’s plan for a border wall. He has also struck a nationalist tone on plans to boost the economy.
Trump has accused Mexico of sending criminals and rapists into the United States and is almost universally disliked in Mexico.
Josefina Serrano, 44, who rode eight hours from Sacramento on a bus organized for voters, said she voted for Lopez Obrador because she was tired of corruption and violence in Mexico, as well an anti-Mexican attitude in the United States.
“I came because I want things to change, and to shut up even President Trump,” she said. “Living in the United States, you’re called out for being Mexican – not just by Trump, but by everyone. They think we’re all corrupt.”