> Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 11:20:15 -0700 (MST)
> From: fnsnews@...
> Subject: FNS News: The Democratic Primary Comes to
> To: fns_nmsu-l@...
> February 3, 2008
> Political News
> Super Tuesday in Mexico
> On Tuesday, February 5, Democrats in the US states
> having presidential
> primaries or caucuses won't be alone in helping
> select their candidate for
> the 2008 fall face-off with the Republicans. In
> Mexico and other foreign
> nations, US citizens abroad will also have an
> opportunity to cast ballots
> for their standard-bearer. Organized by Democrats
> Abroad, the Mexico
> primary will help choose 22 foreign-based delegates
> who will participate
> in the Democrat's 2008 nominating convention. A part
> of the Democratic
> Global Primary for US citizens abroad, the Mexico
> primary is scheduled to
> run between February 5 and 12. Other Latin American
> countries where the
> primary will take place include Costa Rica, Panama
> and the Dominican
> In an e-mail interview with Frontera NorteSur,
> Nancy Evans, Mexico
> representative for Democrats Abroad, said the US
> immigrant community was
> showing an "overwhelmingly positive" response to the
> electoral initiative.
> "The first ever Global Primary put on by Democrats
> allows each and every one of us to have an impact
> upon the candidates who
> are running for US president on the Democratic Party
> ticket," Evans said.
> "The global primary is not merely a 'straw vote' or
> a 'beauty contest,'
> it's a way to express our US presidential candidate
> preference. The
> concept of one person-=1 vote is truly in play
> Starting on Super Tuesday, the Mexican primary will
> allow expatriates and
> other US citizens abroad the opportunity to cast
> ballots via the Internet
> and fax. For the first time, polling stations, or
> voting centers, for US
> citizens are scheduled to open on February 5 in and
> around Puerto
> Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Miguel Allende and
> Mexico City, all areas with
> high concentrations of US immigrants. Evans said any
> US citizen who will
> be 18 years of age or older on November 4, 2008, is
> eligible to
> participate in the primary.
> According to primary rules, prospective voters can
> register on-site at one
> of the voting centers but must provide an acceptable
> identification. Additionally, each voter will be
> asked to sign a
> declaration foreswearing participation in any other
> US primary or caucus.
> Evans framed Super Tuesday south of the border as a
> concrete way for
> expatriates to overcome the sense of powerlessness
> they feel about their
> ability to influence the US political system.
> Expatriates care deeply
> about developments in their native land, she said,
> but dont feel they
> have much impact on the political process from
> hundreds of miles away.
> According to the Democratic Party activist, shes
> received complaints from
> US citizens about not receiving requested absentee
> ballots on time or at
> all during previous elections.
> "It's a really fascinating development in the nature
> of US politics and
> how they are affected by globalization," said Dr.
> Sheila Croucher,
> professor of
> political science at Ohio's Miami University. "This
> is a unique
> circumstance because the Democratic National
> Committee treats Democrats
> abroad as a 51st state."
> The author of a forthcoming book from the University
> of Texas Press about
> US immigrants in Mexico, Croucher called the Mexico
> primary an example of
> the "political transnationalism" of the times. She
> cited both the 2008 US
> Democratic primary in Mexico and the 2006 Mexican
> presidential election in
> the US as indicators of this trend.
> Although widely-criticized for its costly price-tag
> but ultimately low
> degree of voter participation, the 2006 Mexican
> presidential election
> allowed Mexican immigrants residing in the United
> States to cast absentee
> ballots in a presidential election back home for the
> first time. On an
> ongoing basis, all three of Mexico's major political
> parties maintain
> offices and representatives in the United States.
> In a phone interview with Frontera NorteSur,
> Croucher challenged the issue
> of "dual allegiance" expressed by critics of
> expatriate voting, whether in
> Mexico or in the US. The Ohio professor criticized
> the potential
> hypocrisy of politicians critical of Mexican
> nationals who vote in
> Mexican presidential elections from the US while US
> citizens cast ballots
> in US presidential races from Mexico.
> Both Croucher and Evans concurred that US-born
> residents of Mexico are
> concerned about issues including the Iraq war,
> impeachment, Medicare and
> taxes. Many expatriates want Medicare payments, a
> system which they have
> paid into all their lives, extended to Mexican
> doctors and hospitals.
> Another hot topic is taxation. "Many people complain
> that the US is one of
> the few developed countries that levies taxes based
> on citizenship and not
> residence," Croucher said.
> Though virtually ignored by the US media, the
> Democratic primary in Mexico
> has received some nods of attention from the partys
> aspirants. According to Croucher, New Mexico
> Governor Bill Richardson, who
> dropped out of the race last month, made a phone
> call to a Democrats
> Abroad regional meeting in Mexico City last October.
> Hillary Clintons
> campaign sent a video to the same meeting, Croucher
> said. Other candidates
> have e-mailed answers to policy questions from
> Democrats Abroad, she
> It's still a hard guess how many US-born immigrants
> currently reside in
> Mexico, but some estimates put the number at one
> million-strong. The US
> Census Bureau does not count US citizens in Mexico
> or other countries, and
> US Department of State does not make public its own
> calculations based on
> security reasons.
> Depending on the closeness of Tuesday's election
> results, the Mexico
> primary could end up being a surprising factor in
> choosing the Democrats'
> 2008 candidate. "We hope, in fact, that Democrats
> Abroad members voting as
> a bloc worldwide will have a major impact as "the
> 51st state upon the US
> presidential candidates and make our presence felt
> at the Democratic
> National Convention in Denver, Colorado in August
> 2008," Evans affirmed.
> For Croucher, the Democrats Global Primary is a
> watershed in modern
> politics. The event, she noted, "steps up
> institutionalization of
> (expatriate) voices and involvement in the American
> political system from
> -Kent Paterson
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