Barack Obama wins Democrats Abroad primary

Friday, February 22, 2008

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois and 2008 US presidential candidate won another primary this time in the support of Democrats living outside the United States winning the Democrats Abroad Global Primary after the results from the contest held across the globe have been tallied.

Obama got about 65 per cent of more than 20,000 votes submitted overseas. Democrats in more than 160 countries cast ballots by mail, fax, in person and for the first time, online. The group set up voting sites in more than 30 countries. The polls were open for one week, starting on February 5 and ending February 12. Most were not typical polling stations - balloting was held in bars, private clubs, or coffee shops.

Democrats Abroad is a officially sanctioned organization recognized by the national Democratic party. This means that Democrats Abroad gets 14 of the 4,000-plus votes at the national convention and is treated like a "state committee" despite not being an American state. However, the votes are half votes and not full votes. So far 9 delegates have been awarded due to the Global Primary, the other 5 will be chosen at a Democrats Abroad convention in Denver in April.

The chair of Democrats Abroad India, Carolyn Sauvage-Mar said, "There were 100 and something voters who brought their kids, their friends, their families. Because they wanted that sense of being together for a really important political moment." Also adding, "This really gives Americans an opportunity to participate."

Sauvage-Mar noted that new and younger voters showed up to the events, including a couple of 18 year olds, Indian-Americans and naturalized citizens from Ghana and the United Kingdom. Giovanna Melandri, the Italian Minister for Youth and Sports holds dual citizenship in Italy and the United States, and is a Democrat, cast her vote for Obama.

"It wasn't an easy choice for me. I would still love seeing a ticket with Obama and Hillary, a drive for change is what is needed in the U.S. and I think that Obama has that drive," Melandri noted in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

The Republicans have their own organization for citizens overseas, Republicans Abroad, however, it is not treated as a "state committee" by the Republican National Committee which heads the Republican Party. As such, they do not hold a primary and do not seat delegates at the convention.