Democrats Abroad are holding international primaries around the world at 91 locations across 33 countries between the 1st and 4th of May. Democrats Abroad is a political organisation that represents Americans supporting the Democratic Party that are living temporarily or permanently outside of the United States. The organisation is treated as a state party just like the state political parties across America. Democrats Abroad receives eight votes within the Democratic National Committee.
This Democratic presidential primary provides Democrats living abroad with an opportunity to vote for their choice for the party nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in September of this year. “Of course, Barack Obama is the only candidate running for the Democratic Party’s nomination, but by holding the primary we give voters in St Andrews and the surrounding area the opportunity to select the delegates to represent Democrats Abroad at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina this September,” remarked St Andrews’ voting centre manager Andree Dean.
The Republican Party does not provide delegates to Americans living abroad so the Democratic primary is the only opportunity for overseas Americans to vote at a physical location during an election cycle. However, for the general election all Americans must vote via absentee ballot. The website VoteFromAbroad.org is a helpful resource for Americans living abroad who are seeking to register to vote or request an absentee ballot.
The Democratic global primary in St Andrews was held at the Union on Tuesday 1 May, and is also taking place today, between 11am and 6pm. In order to be eligible to vote in the St Andrews primary, you must be a Democrats Abroad member, over eighteen, and cannot previously have voted in a state presidential primary during this election cycle. You can find out about becoming a member at DemocratsAbroad.org.
It may seem like an unusual place to have held a presidential primary, especially since it is one of only five locations in the UK to have one. Dean explained the reason for a primary in St Andrews by stating that, “holding a Global Primary here gives the large numbers of Americans that make up our St Andrews community the opportunity to take part in the same democratic process that our family and friends back home have been engaged in over the past few months.”