Democrats Abroad FAQ

We get a lot of questions about Democrats Abroad and the Global Primary. Here’s a list of some of the most common questions and answers.

Q: What is Democrats Abroad?
A: Democrats Abroad is an official arm of the Democratic Party representing members who live abroad. In many ways it is treated like a state by the Party.

Q: Okay, what is the Democrats Abroad Global Primary?
A: Democrats Abroad holds its own Primary, which allows overseas voters to cast a ballot to send 13 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention (which is how we nominate the Democratic candidate for President). This makes Democrats Abroad similar in size to Alaska (16 delegates), Vermont (16 delegates), and Wyoming (14 delegates).

Q: Can I vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary and my home state’s Presidential Primary?
A: No. If you vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary, you should not vote in your home state’s Presidential Primary (but you can vote in all other races allowed by the state).

Q: Why should I vote in the Global Primary instead of in my home state?
A: There are two main reasons. The first is that the number of votes per delegate in Democrats Abroad is much lower, so your vote carries more weight — in 2008 approximately 25,000 voted in the Global Primary. More than 150,000 voted in Vermont for a similar number of delegates. The second is that the Global Primary starts on Super Tuesday, which gives some of us the ability to help build momentum instead of voting later in a state race — for example, California doesn’t hold their primary until June.

Q: But I read on the FAQ posted by Democrats Abroad France that 500,000 people vote in the Global Primary. Who is right?
A: The 2008 election, which was the highest turn out ever for Democrats Abroad, had 25,105 votes cast (check out http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/DA-D.phtml). The 500,000 number that DAFR has put out there is completely made up and in no way realistic.

Q: Are there states where it’s better to vote in the state ballot, rather than the Global Primary?
A: If you are in an early voting state: New Hampshire, Iowa (via tele-caucus), or South Carolina, yes, vote in your state’s primary. Otherwise you are better off voting in the Global Primary. Obviously, if your state is a caucus state, and you don’t intend to return to vote, the Global Primary is your only option.

Q: What about winner-take-all states?
A: There are no winner-take-all states in the Democratic Primary. The Democratic Party rules specify that all states award delegates proportionally, as long as a candidate recieves at least 15% of the vote.

Q: What do I have to do to vote in the Global Primary?
A: You need to register with Democrats Abroad (you can do this through the Vote From Abroad). We recommend that you do so before 31 January. If you aren’t registered by then, you can still vote in person by going to the polling place with your passport and proof of address (a student ID is sufficient for University students), or via attesting with the Remote Ballot (see below).

Q: How can I vote in the Global Primary?
A: The easiest way to vote in the Global Primary is to use the Remote Ballot. To do this you must register with Democrats Abroad before you vote (you can do this through the Vote From Abroad). Your Remote Vote Ballot can be returned by fax, scanned and sent by email, or posted to a number of locations (which are listed on the ballot instructions). Otherwise, you can vote in person at a number of polling locations: Worldwide Voting Centres. If you plan to vote in person, you need to bring your passport and proof you live in the country you’re voting in (bill in your name, student ID, etc).

Q: Does registering with Democrats Abroad change my voter registration in my home state?
A: No, you will still be able to vote in your home state as usual. If you vote in the Global Primary, you attest to not vote in the presidential primary in your home state.

Q: So if I vote in the Global Primary, all I do is leave the presidential primary blank on my state ballot?
A: Yes, it’s that easy.

Q: I’ve never lived in the USA, but I’m a citizen. Which address do I use? Which state do I register in?
A: You register with the last address of your parents, in the state they resided in.