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Expats to Get a Vote and a Voice

Mags Petela

Voters can cast a primary ballot in person on February 5. Here in Mexico, voting centers will be set up in Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan.

Imagine yourself on February 5, so-called Super Tuesday, sitting on your Mexican patio, your laptop computer open and connected to the Internet. You press Enter on the keyboard, and your vote for the Democratic candidate for president of the United States is instantly, securely recorded with the Democratic Party.

No es un sueño - its not a dream, it's a reality. Between February 5 and 12, 2008, millions of U.S. citizens living in Mexico and more than 100 other nations will be able to vote in a historic, first-ever online Global Presidential Primary to choose the Democratic nominee for president.

No computer? No problema! Voters can cast a primary ballot in person on February 5. Here in Mexico, voting centers will be set up in Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Can't get there? Just send your ballot by mail or fax instead! But you must check your local listings and notices for the times and locations in your area. Be sure to bring another eligible voter with you when you vote, and notify others in your email address book about the chance to vote online, Howard Feldstein, Ajijic resident and Chair of the Democrats Abroad Mexico Country Committee, recommends. So we can maximize our voice as expats.

This new process is unique to the Democratic Party. After the primary, members of Democrats Abroad worldwide will elect 22 voting delegates to represent citizens living outside the U.S., as the so-called 51st state, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, next August, DA Chair Feldstein says.

It's all part of a growing political trend and has been reported in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune: Americans living abroad are finally getting a voice. But why should anyone living abroad vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary instead of their home states presidential primary? A vote in the Global Primary makes party candidates, leaders, and legislators sit up and take notice of the needs of Americans living abroad - needs that include gaining Medicare coverage in our foreign homes, tax equity for Americans working overseas, and simplified voting procedures.

In addition, primary voting in your country of residence is just plain easier than voting absentee in the U.S. Here in Mexico, particularly, ensuring timely receipt and return of an absentee ballot by mail can be challenging. With 23 states running primaries on or before February 5, voter registration procedures and deadlines are often confusing, and absentee ballot mailings from abroad can miss some early primary dates. The answer?

Choose the Global Primary! says Feldstein. You're more likely to have your ballot get to the right place at the right time because we offer the options of voting by fax or mail within Mexico, at in-person voting centers throughout Mexico, and by Internet. Our online voting system has been successfully used in Europe for years.

For the Democratic presidential candidate, however, the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary is the easiest way to vote, the way that ensures your vote will be counted in time and, most importantly, the way that will increase your political voice as an American living abroad.

U.S. citizens in Mexico, including Mexican-Americans with dual nationality, can vote in the Democratic Global Primary if they meet these few simple criteria:

  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Be 18 years of age or older on or before November 4, 2008.
  • Reside temporarily or permanently outside the United States.
  • Be a member of Democrats Abroad before voting in the Global Primary.
  • Declare, upon voting, that you meet the above requirements and that you are NOT voting in your home states Democratic presidential primary or caucus.

    Those who want to vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary by mail, fax, or internet must join Democrats Abroad by January 31, 2008 (its free) at www.DemocratsAbroad.org/join. Those participating in person at voting centers on February 5 can join Democrats Abroad right then and there. More information about this unique and historic Global Primary can be found at www.DemocratsAbroad.org and www.MexicoDemocrats.org. Sign up at www.VoteFromAbroad.org, which will link you up with the new members page at Democrats Abroad.

  • Published or Updated on: February 1, 2008 by Mags Petela © 2008
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