POSTED: Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 6:23pm
UPDATED: Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 10:49pm
EL PASO - About 80 million voters in Mexico cast their ballots in the country's presidential election Sunday.
Voters are deciding between a candidate who is trying to restore a once dominant party back to power in Enrique Peña Nieto, another candidate who lost by a slim margin six years ago in Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Josefina Vasquez Mota who is looking to become the country's first ever female president.
"We can't ask for change if we don't vote," said a voter in Juarez. "There has been a great turnout so far and hopefully everyone cast a vote."
There were reports of long lines at the 44,000 precincts in the country, even with polling sites opening late throughout the country.
UTEP Political Science Professor Irasema Coronado, PH.D., said Mexico's electoral authority has really emphasized transparency in the voting process.
"The Instituto Federal Electoral, the IFE, have put a lot of resources insuring elections are free, fair and transparent," said Coronado.
Early results showed PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the lead by a slim margin.
Peña Nieto is trying to get his party back into power after governing for seven decades and losing in the last two elections.
PAN candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lost in a tight race to current president Felipe Calderon.
Coronado said the winner of the election will have to help rebuild the economy.
"The gap between the haves and the have nots has widened over time and it's not good when you have people that cannot meet their basic needs," Coronado said.
She said the new president will have the opportunity to open new dialogue with the United States on how to help put a stop to the violence.
"Mexico cannot do this on their own and the United States needs to acknowledge that and become a true partner in addressing the war on drugs," Coronado said.
She said they need to look at the fire arms crossing over the border as well as money laundering and drug consumption in the United States.
There have been no reports of major violence.