Human remains were found in at least two voting booths in Mexico’s Baja California state as the country voted in midterm elections on Sunday, according to state officials.
Forensic investigators are working to determine who the remains belong to and the source of them, Baja California State Attorney General’s Office communications director Bibi Méndez told CNN en Español.
The discovery of the body parts follow one of the deadliest midterm election seasons Mexico has seen in recent years, raising fears of potential violence and intimidation on election day. Polls have since closed.
In Sinaloa state, several voting centers were forced to close early on Sunday after facing threats from armed groups, the Electoral Institute of the State of Sinaloa (IEES) reported. The incidents included the violent theft of ballot boxes and the beating of some officials, the authorities said.
According to a report by risk management firm consultancy Etellekt, 96 politicians have been assassinated since the electoral campaign began in September last year.
The president of the National Electoral Institute of Mexico, Lorenzo Córdova, said some “incidents” had occurred at polling locations and were handled according to the law.
“Considering the challenges facing this election regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the balance is undoubtedly positive for our society and Mexican democracy,” Córdova said.
The vote was widely seen as a referendum on Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who notably came to power promising “hugs, not gunshots,” but has so far failed to curb violence in Mexico. The recent wave of political assassinations has shaken a country already devastated by organized crime turf wars for most of the past two decades.
Victims include Alma Rosa Barragán, a mayoral candidate in the state of Guanajuato who was gunned down in the middle of a rally 12 days before the election, and Abel Murrieta, a mayoral candidate in the town of Cajeme, Sonora state and former state’s attorney, who was shot and killed in broad daylight on May 13 as he handed out campaign flyers.
“The country is at peace. It’s being governed. There are no risks of instability,” López Obrador said last week. But he also acknowledged what has become painfully obvious to millions of Mexicans. “We are facing the scourge of violence every day,” López Obrador said.
CNN’s Karol Suarez contributed to this report from Mexico City.