Mexican voters are heading to the polls Sunday to elect likely their first female president and more than 20,000 government officials in the largest election in the country’s history.

MEXICO CITY — Voters in Mexico are participating in the country’s largest election ever — casting votes Sunday to fill more than 20,000 local, state and federal positions and almost certainly elect their first female president.

But rampant violence has marred the road toward one of the most consequential elections in Mexico’s history.

Criminal groups have taken over large parts of Mexico as they fight for territory to traffic drugs into the U.S., make money from migrant smuggling, and extort residents to fuel their illicit enterprise. Violence against political figures has also persisted throughout this election cycle, resulting in a 150% increase in the number of victims of political violence since 2021, according to an analysis from Integralia, a public affairs consulting firm that researches political risk and other issues in Mexico.

These have greatly dismayed Mexican voters, leading most of them to cite security as a top issue of concern. About 6 in 10 Mexican adults consider the city where they live to be unsafe due to robberies or armed violence, according to a survey by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography published in April.

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