Why Democrats living abroad have more power on Super Tuesday than anyone else

Louis Staples
Monday 02 March 2020 14:15
news

Super Tuesday is finally upon us.

Today Democrats will vote in primaries and caucuses across America, taking a big step towards deciding on their 2020 presidential nominee.

Super Tuesday is the day in the political calendar when the biggest number of US states hold primary elections and caucuses. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other day, so it’s sort of a big deal.

With states from all over the country voting, Super Tuesday typically represents a presidential candidate's first test of national electability. So all eyes will be on frontrunner Bernie Sanders going into Super Tuesday 2020. Will his diverse coalition of voters pull through? Or was South Carolina the start of a comeback streak for Joe Biden?

It’s not just people living in America who vote on Super Tuesday.

Democrats living across the world can vote in person and online in their own polls. Democrats Abroad functions just like its own state in the primary contest, sending 13 delegates to the Democratic Convention.

In 2016, 35,000 Democrats voted across the world, from Australia, Britain and Guatemala, to India, Thailand and Norway; 69 per cent of Democrats Abroad backed Sanders, while 31 per cent voted for his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Why is it important for Democrats living abroad to use their votes?

With 13 delegates, Democrats Abroad returns almost as many delegates to the all-important Democratic convention as states such as Vermont and Wyoming. This is despite the fact that population-wise it has far fewer voters.

Travis Mooney-Evans, International Coordinator for Bernie Abroad – the global campaign for Bernie Sanders – told indy100:

It is such a well kept secret that the voting power per capita is much higher in Democrats Abroad. By far and away it's three times the voting power of any other state.

How are campaigns mobilising?

The Sanders campaign has been very active across the UK in particular, where Democrats can vote in person in London, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Oxford and Cambridge. Larry Sanders – Bernie’s older brother who represents the Green Party in the UK – is leading the campaign for his brother in Britain. In 2016, he read out the delegates awarded to his brother in a particularly moving moment from the Democratic convention.

At a campaign event organised by Bernie 2020 UK, several Sanders supporters were planning on voting for him from abroad on Super Tuesday.

One Sanders supporter said:

I supported Sanders in the 2016 primary over here. Being a Florida voter I knew that my vote would have a much bigger impact in Dems abroad than in Florida because the polling for Sanders in 2016 wasn't good in Florida so I wanted to make sure he won here.

Another said:

We're out there canvassing all the time in London and the UK... We're constantly reminding people how they can vote.

Other candidates have international support too.

The Independent’s international editor Olivia Alabaster spotted supporters of Pete Buttigieg – who was the first candidate to qualify for the Democrats Abroad ballot in November 2019 – in London.

But on the eve of Super Tuesday, the former South Bend mayor announced that he would be suspending his campaign. He was soon followed by senator Amy Klobluchar, with both endorsing Joe Biden. Remaining candidates on the Democrats Abroad ballot are Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard.

How do Democrats vote from abroad?

To find out how to vote abroad or in person from across the world, visit DemocratsAbroad.org

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