Obama takes India while winning global Democratic primary

Obama takes India while winning global Democratic primary
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First Published: Mon, Feb 25 2008. 11 49 PM IST

Updated: Mon, Feb 25 2008. 11 49 PM IST
New Delhi: Results are in from the first global primary for Democrats in the US presidential race, and the outcome in India mirrors those around the world.
Presidential hopeful and Illinois senator Barack Obama pulled in 71.1% of the votes in India, followed by New York senator Hillary Clinton, who got 27.7%. In the country, 343 Democrats cast ballots—169 by the Internet and 174 at a voting centre in New Delhi earlier this month.
Worldwide, 23,000 Americans in 100 countries voted in the primary. Obama won 65.6% of the total vote compared to Clinton’s 32.7%.
HEAD TO HEAD (Graphic)
“I think that it’s quite remarkable how many people want to participate when you give them an avenue, which the global primary really did,” said Carolyn Suvage-Mar, chairwoman of Democrats Abroad India, the group that administered the primary here. “All of those people would have had a very difficult time participating if it weren’t for the global primary. They would have been effectively disenfranchised.”
In the global primary, which lasted February 5-12, Democrats Abroad is considered to be a 51st state, said the group.
A total of 22 delegates would come out from this primary to the US Democratic national nomination convention, with half a vote each, amounting to 11 votes, according to a press release issued by Democrats Abroad.
Of the 11 delegates, Obama received three delegate votes and Clinton 1.5 delegate votes. The rest—6.5 votes—will be determined in two ways: 2.5 votes will be determined at the Democrats Abroad global convention in April and the rest by four so-called superdelegate votes, according to the release.
The global primary was the 11th straight win for Obama since 5 February, dubbed Super Tuesday, when a total of 22 states and American Samoa held their primaries and caucuses. Owing to the complex nature of the US political party’s rules, delegate counts wary between the several agencies doing the counting.
But according to the Associated Press, Obama has 1,351 delegates to Clinton’s 1,262, not including the delegates yet to be awarded based on the global primary.
A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to seal the nomination.
Among the countries that saw significant polling, Clinton won in Israel, the Dominican Republic and the Phillipines.
Amanda Engelland-Gay, 23, flew from Mumbai to New Delhi so she could vote in the election on 12 February, after she missed the deadline to vote online. Engelland-Gay, a project manager for US-based retail company Steve and Barry’s, has been in India for just over a year, and she voted for Obama. “I realized with chagrin the morning of Super Tuesday that I hadn’t voted,” she said. “Obviously, this election is an incredibly important one, and I had to make sure I was getting my voice out there.”
Rita Soni, country head of responsible banking for Yes Bank in Mumbai, also voted for Obama. She felt Obama’s campaign did more for the vote abroad than Clinton’s, hosting call-ins from his sister and wife who spoke on issues concerning Americans abroad. Soni, 38, said this was the first primary she ever voted in.
“Living abroad, I actually feel more of a connection to America,” said Soni, who voted online. “The Americans are very concerned with politics because it affects our friends and family who are still living there.”
For the first-time ever, online voting enabled Democrats in every corner of the world to take part—including Adam Lutchansky, a contractor working for the US Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
“The online Democrats Abroad Global Primary expanded the frontier of voting opportunities, and it works easily, even from the harshest continent on Earth,” said Lutchansky in a press release.
Republicans Abroad operates independently of the Republican Party, and therefore can’t hold in-person or Internet votes abroad. It has said in the past that it is organizing to get more overseas Republicans registered back home before the primaries.
According to Suvage-Mar, Democrats Abroad will soon set up chapters in Mumbai and Bangalore, two locations that have large numbers of Americans.
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First Published: Mon, Feb 25 2008. 11 49 PM IST