FAQs from Democrats Abroad About Voting in the Global Presidential Primary

Tricia Lyman - Democrats Abroad Costa Banderas Chapter
February 8, 2016

Q:  Am I eligible to vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary?
A:  Any US Citizen living  abroad, who will be at least 18 years old on Election Day 2016, and who is a member of Democrats Abroad is eligible to participate, on the condition of not having voted (or intending to vote) for a presidential candidate in any other state primary in 2016.

Q:  How do I join Democrats Abroad?
A:  Just visit Democrats Abroad online and fill out the form. It will only take a minute or two. You will have to have a local street address and telephone and tell us the state where you last voted. Tell your friends to join, too.
Q:  Can I join on the day of the Primary?
A:  Yes absolutely. Our voting centers will be equipped to register new party members on the spot but you will have to bring a passport and proof of your residence---i.e. a Mexican permanent residency card or a utility bill with your name on it.
Q:  How do I vote in the Global Presidential Primary?
A:  There are two ways you can vote in the Global Primary. The FIRST WAY is to go to the Puerto Vallarta VOTING CENTER during March 1 or March 3 for voting between 9:30 am and 1:00 pm at the International Friendship Club, located above HSBC on Calle Libertad Corner just past the Insurgentes bridge. The Voting Centers will be convivial places where you can meet with fellow Democrats, exchange views, and vote for your favorite candidate. Just be sure to bring your American passport.

Q:  Going to a Voting Center sounds like fun, but I can't attend that day, or I live far from the nearest voting center. Is there another way I can vote?
A:  Yes. The SECOND WAY way to participate is by REMOTE VOTING. You can download a ballot, mark it, sign it, date it, and send it to us either as an email attachment or via old-fashioned snail mail (or you can even fax it!). It has to be postmarked no later than March 8 to be valid.
Q:  When does Remote Voting begin and how do I do it?
A:  NOW! From January 11 to March 8, it is possible to download and complete a ballot via Remote Voting, and if you would like to do so, please go to Democrats Abroad. There is a full set of instructions that accompany the ballot.

Q:  I cannot download and/or print a ballot but I want to vote via Remote Voting. What do I do?
A:  Go to a local cyber café and follow the previous instructions. They usually have scanning and faxing capability too so you should be able to fax or attach to an email.

Q:  Where do I return my ballot (and only my ballot) after I complete it?
A:  If you are voting in the Global Primary for President only, you're returning it as an email attachment, then send it to PrimaryVoting@democratsabroad.org.
Q:  What if I prefer to vote in my last state's or alternate site's primary?
A:  If you would prefer to register to vote in your state's primary and/or the general election and receive your ballots here in Mexico, you can go to Vote From Abroad. Please request both an FPCA (Federal Post Card Application) and a FWAB (Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot). This system is set up to assist people regardless of their party affiliation. Give this as a return address for your ballot: Your name, 2163 Lima Loop, PMB 130-375, Laredo, TX 78045. The ballot will arrive here in PV at Mail Boxes, Etc. However, you must let us know you're doing so, by emailing tjensen1942@hotmail.com with your name and state and we'll notify you when your ballot arrives.

Q:  What Information is required on my ballot?
A:  Your full legal name, date of birth, your country of residence (e.g. Mexico), address of residence in Mexico, voting address in the US (or at the very least, the state in which you vote), and if you are returning it by email, your email address.  You must also sign and date your ballot for it to be valid.

Q:  Why do you need all that information? And why do I have to sign my ballot? Isn't it secret?
A:  This is a partisan election for a political party, not a federal election. By signing your ballot, you are attesting that you are a properly qualified party member in good standing, and that you haven't voted in any other Primary election. And if the results are challenged and we are called upon to provide proof of the validity of a ballot, your signed attestation will be that proof. We will note only that you voted, as is the case at any voting station in any election.
Q:  Why should I vote in the Global Primary instead of my home state Primary?
A:  Lots of reasons. First, it's a bit of a hassle to vote in your home state primary. You'll have to find out from your home state party what the rules and regulations are for eligibility and for casting absentee ballots in a primary. Each state is different, because a primary election or caucus is not a federal, national election.
Second, your vote may not matter all that much in your home state primary.  Think about it: ten million votes may be cast in the NY state primary, but maybe five hundred thousand in DA's Global Primary. Your vote is simply more powerful in our primary.   
Third, by casting your vote in the Global Primary, you'll help give DA a stronger voice within the Democratic National Committee. If lots of Americans abroad vote and make their voices heard, the powers that be will take notice, and then we have a better chance of achieving some of our most important policy goals for those of us who live abroad.
And ... So sheer turnout - raw numbers - really does matter, and that's why we want you to vote in the Global Primary. Simply put, it's in your interest to do so.

Q:  I want to vote in a Republicans Abroad Primary. Can you help me out?
A:  No. The GOP does not have a primary for its members abroad. The Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary is the only opportunity for Americans living abroad to participate in the nominating process of either party. Besides, at this point, wouldn't you really rather be a Democrat? Join us at Democrats Abroad.

Q:  The specific question I have hasn't been answered on this FAQ. What do I do?
A:  Write to us at PrimaryVoting@democratsabroad.org with your question and we'll get back to you with an answer as soon as we can.

Read related: Register to Vote in the US Primaries and General Election from Vallarta-Nayarit

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