Shanghaiist is happy to learn that we finally have a chance to break free from the shackles of political impotence and actually make somewhat of a difference in the increasingly heated U.S. presidential campaign. Democrats Abroad, the overseas branch of the U.S. Democratic Party, is holding its first global presidential primary from February 5th through the 12th. For the first time, expatriates who are American citizens have a chance to vote in the Democratic primary without having to mail in an absentee ballot (or for states that have caucuses, travel back home). According to the organization’s press release:
“In the past, overseas voting could be both complicated and cumbersome. We’ve been working hard to make the process easier for voters around the world,” says Christine Schon Marques, International Chair of Democrats Abroad.
Just as the primary season back home gets into full swing, Democrats living overseas will be choosing their candidate, too. The Democratic global primary allows for balloting by Internet, fax and post. Traditional drop-in Voting Centers will also be open in more than 30 countries around the globe.
The worldwide election results will determine the 14 delegates who will join eight DNC members in Democrats Abroad’s delegation of 22 to the Democratic National Convention. These delegates will be elected at a combination of regional and global meetings held during early 2008. These meetings also provide an opportunity for Americans abroad to shape the party’s election platform.
The Democrats Abroad site has a list of over thirty “country groups” that we’re assuming will have the drop-in voting centers, and China is not on the list. If we’re right, that means those of us here are going to have to vote online, through snail mail, or by fax. Voters will still have to use absentee ballots to vote in the national election in November. While some voters may still want to cast absentee ballots where their votes may have more of an impact in states with ultra competitive primary races, we’re still happy that for the first time, expats are now an official voting bloc.
Supporters of Democratic candidate Barack Obama (this particular Shanghaiist is one of them) are hosting an event at 7pm next Tuesday, January 29th, for interested folks to register in the global primary, and to learn more about who they believe is the most thoughtful and dynamic candidate in the race. The party will be held at the bistro roomtwentyeight, downstairs at the new boutique URBN hotel (#183 Jiaozhou Lu behing Jing’an Temple), with drinks and snacks to be served.
The party will be limited to 100 people, so RSVPs are required and can be made by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. For those who are interested in registering online before or in place of attending the party, you can do so here. Shanghaiist will be there; come say hi before you register.
Photo by laphoto1.