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Community Organizing Gone Global: Democrats will register anyone outside the US as long as they are members of Democrats Abroad

By: Sandra Snyder, U.S. Citizen, Resident of the Republic of Panama, Radio Talk Show Host and Writer

In the President’s speeches, as he has traveled around the Latin American region in recent months, he has often referenced the importance of the Latin American vote. First reaction to this statement would be that he is referring to people of Latin American heritage who are now American citizens living in the US or perhaps abroad.  But, this seemed like a strange topic for him to address in a foreign country.  Who votes in a US election is not of paramount interest to those abroad.  They would be more interested in other issues relating directly to them.  That is, unless you consider the recent announcement of a Global Primary to be held by the Democrat Party on May 6. 

 A little research of the Democrats Abroad International website and those of affiliate members around the world confirm this.


The Democrats Abroad 2012 Global Presidential Primary (hear after to be called Global Primary) and Regional Delegate Election will be held during the period from May 1 to 6, 2012.  Voting will be done in person at Country Committee Voting Centers or by an absentee ballot upon request.  Requests for an absentee ballot must be made no later than April 30, 2012 to a Regional Vice-Chair.  Members can vote by email, fax or mail.    

 It also raises a number of questions and a possible answer to why the President is speaking to Latin Americans in foreign countries about elections in the US.  Country Committee Voting Centers sounds much like community organizing.  Perhaps a broader range of potential voters exists in this expanded region than previously imagined.  In these countries Membership in the Democrats Abroad may be the determining factor for voter eligibility rather than citizenship of the US or state affiliation.  Again quoting from the web site: Democrats Abroad Guide to 2012 Global Primary & Regional Delegate Elections

 5.1 The Registration Procedure

When a Voter arrives, their membership should be checked at the Registration Table before they are given a Ballot….  On the Ballot the Voter is to print out his / her name, address, country and region.

 The Ballot also calls for the voter to sign a Party Pledge of Support and a Certification Statement that he / she has not voted in another Presidential Primary.   If the would-be voter is not a member of Democrats Abroad but is eligible to become a member (i.e., is an US citizen, of age and a resident of the geographical area for which the Voting Center is being operated), he / she should be given a new membership application. When complete the Voter’s citizenship and a local address needs to be verified with by additional documentation (passport, utility bill, driver’s license, etc.)  If verification cannot be completed, the Voting Center Manage has the option of allowing the Voter to receive a provisional ballot later to be verified.

 Further, in recent years there has been an effort to move the voter registration process to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, FVAP – further and further removing the voter from the State.  Each year more states comply with the Federal rules for voting.  In the past a representative of FVAP has visited various countries to train voter registrars from the community and the Embassy.  This year in Panama, for example, it was stated that this would not be necessary as so few members of the community actually took advantage of the program.  Note that those few were historically representatives for the Republicans and members of the Embassy. 

 Further, this voter assistance program requires participants to register all comers regardless of party and make all voter registration events open to all – not be a party affiliated event. 

 A review of the Democrat’s Abroad Global Primary website in light of recent campaign speeches made in the region raises many questions about the President’s objective.  Especially in light of illegal immigration and moves to afford rights of citizens to those not entitled.  It would appear that voting in the Democrat Global Primary is possible simply by being a member of the Democrats Abroad and that can be accomplished by joining, even at the final moment of actually voting.

 The light has now been shown on these issues.  Next they need to be studied under a microscope. 



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