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Creating a virtual 51st state
U.S. Democrats can click to vote from Canada
From Monday’s Globe and Mail
December 17, 2007 at 5:37 AM EST
American citizens living in Canada will be able to use the Internet to vote in the U.S. presidential primaries for the first time in 2008, but only if they’re Democrats.
Democrats Abroad, an organization representing more than seven million Americans living outside the U.S. , is holding its first “global primary,” allowing American ex-pats in Canada and around the world to vote online as part of a virtual 51st state.
Unlike Republicans Abroad, whose members must still vote by absentee ballot in their home states, Democrats Abroad is recognized as an official branch of the Democratic National Committee, and will send 22 delegates to the party’s convention in August, putting its influence on par with states like Idaho (23) and North Dakota (21).
In previous elections, these delegates were selected in caucuses held around the globe, requiring American citizens to actually show up at polling centres. In 2004, a group of just 80 Americans gathered in Toronto ‘s Metro Hall to showcase their support for John Kerry or Howard Dean.
But in next year’s primary, Democrats across Canada can vote through the mail or on the Internet, and organizers hope to dramatically increase voter involvement.
“We hope in Canada to see a lot more than 80 people participating,” said Toronto ‘s Toby Condliffe, international vice-chair of Democrats Abroad. “There are hundreds of thousands of Americans here, so you might say that anything would be an up-tick.”
Democrats living in Canada can sign up at http://www.VoteFromAbroad.org throughout the month of January, and vote from Feb. 5 through 12. The results will be announced on Feb. 22, and Democrats Abroad from around the globe will gather at a caucus in Vancouver next April to select their delegates.
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