The great thing about the Democrat party is that while the superdelegates might seem to be, on one hand, undemocratic, they can be employed to actually create a better democracy in terms of voting, and this primary system. Here we will look at a delegate contingent of 22 that represents voting Democrats around the world.
Today, right now in fact (assuming it’s the 5th in various places around the world), registered Democrats are voting in 30 countries for their Democratic candidate. Of these 30 countries, Australia is on. Voting for registered Americans (registration was required by the 31st of January, otherwise it has to be ‘on the spot’. The only requirement is a U.S. passport) is happening in Melbourne (the Queensberry Hotel) and Sydney (the Agincourt Hotel). Of other countries, there is voting in a Thai Starbucks, and (of course) a pub in Ireland. The Democrats Abroad Global Primary (that’s what they are calling it) isn’t a one-day event though. It starts today, and finishes on the 12th. A full week to vote.
With roughly 6 million eligible American voters abroad, I suspect the candidates don’t oppose this part of process. But, generally, turnout is poor. And while the delegate contingent may be 22 delegates, 8 of them are superdelegates (Christine Schon Marques (International Chair of the Democrats Abroad Organisation), Toby Condliffe (International Vice Chair), Robert Bell, Connie Borde, Liv Gibbons, Theresa Morelli, Brent O’Leary, Leo Perez Minaya (Vice Chair for the Americas Region)). The remaining 14 delegates are tied to the vote that occurs today.
You might be thinking that that is proportionally high for such a small list of possible voters. After all, there is no guarantee that all 6 million will turn out. Thus, to level the playing field, all Democrats Abroad (delegates and superdelegates) votes only count for half. So while there are 22 delegates as a whole, they only count for 11 votes total. This is still a larger contingent than the U.S. territories. However, it is less than what less-populated states receive, like Wyoming and Alaska, with 18 delegates a piece.
I don’t suspect there will be any polls available through the day, or even a tally by the close of voting to be honest. However, with that said, the current results from the Indonesian booths was 75% to Barack Obama, 25% to Hillary Clinton. I guess you could call Indonesia a ‘hometown state’ for Obama. He did, after all, live there and attend school for roughly 4 years with his mother.
An attempt to speed up the process, and generate a bigger turnout, was the introduction of Internet voting this year. It’s the first time it’s been used in the process. Republicans Abroad does exist, but in their wisdom, run separately from the Republican party. So, instead of being able to provide a service like this, they simply ensure that people are registered back home to vote. A whole lot of good that does if you’re not actually going to be State-side come voting day.
Rather than being of anything huge importance for the primary race (other than what could end up being a crucial 11 delegates – so it could end up being significant), I thought this part of the process was rather neat. That even abroad, Americans could still take part in the primary race. It would be interesting to see the polls and statistics when the voting is in. I will probably follow up in it. But in the end, voting for Super Tuesday has already begun – and it didn’t even start in the U.S..