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The remote vote – Does it count?

This contribution has been submitted to Webdiary by a student in the Online Journalism unit for the Masters in Media Practice and Masters in Publishing courses at The University of Sydney as part of the unit's assessment. The topics covered in the pieces awaiting publication are interesting – and diverse. We hope that Webdiarists will enjoy reading them, as well as giving these aspiring journalists plenty of constructive commentary.

The remote vote – Does it count?
by Kate Hersey

Every time the USA elects a new President, it seems that the whole world is voting. Everyone has an opinion and the media is full of headlines on the topic. On November 4, however, the final decision will be made solely by US citizens. And in an election that looks to be a tight race up until the very end, every vote counts. Including my own.

I recently had a discussion with a close friend who questioned whether it makes sense for me to vote from abroad. Does my vote from abroad even matter? Why is it important? Will it be counted?

I agree that there is skepticism, especially after the ballot mishaps in 2004, but in the wake of the Bush administration the will for change is strong. I’m an optimist and I won’t have troubles from the past deter me from voting.

But what about the around six million other US citizens living overseas? Unlike in Australia, voting in the USA is not compulsory. In the 2004 election, only around 56% of eligible US citizens took advantage of their right to vote.

Often voters residing outside of the USA don’t know how to go about voting from abroad says Todd St Vrain, NSW Chair of Democrats Abroad. In an effort to raise public awareness and mobilize potential voters, local Democratic Party volunteers have been handing out leaflets asking Sydneysiders to: “Tell an American to vote!”

To further support the expatriate US community in voting from outside the USA the website http://www.votefromabroad.com/ was established for this election. The site contains helpful directions on how to vote from overseas along with other information surrounding the election.

“It’s a significant development since 2004,” says St Vrain. “Its going to be a tight election as the past several elections have been, so hopefully [the website is] facilitating, so more people can vote.”

University of Sydney student and US citizen Michelle Jimerson has taken advantage of the website and will also be voting. “I think its very important to vote regardless of where you are,” she says. “It’s a privilege that I can vote, so I definitelly want to take advantage of it.”

But there seems to be a significance to the expatriate vote in this election that goes beyond the legal right. “I think that we as Americans living abroad feel very much first hand the consequences of the policies of the Bush administration,” says St Vrain. “Suddenly a lot of people don’t hold the US in the esteem that they once did.”

Jimerson says she not only sees her vote as being a voice, but a contribution. “It’s important [to vote], because America is a powerful source and if it can be seen as more of a positive powerful source then that’s good,” she says.

I come to the same conclusion. While taking advantage of my right to vote in this election is important to me, I am hoping for more. I don’t just want my vote to be counted, I want it to count.

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Rebel colonists and the "right" to vote

I don't know how this email came my way or why but check this out kiddies: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10341.

Leaving aside the question of whether their constitution is valid, these nutters don't deserve a vote.

Looks like they are turning their own insane foreign policy on thier own.

Maybe we should send in the Paras or a few Redcoats.

Heavens save Her Majesty. 

"It is a wise child that knows his own father"

Claude; you mean I'm not in the Will? Thought so....

Intestate

Justin, to the best of my understanding Claude doesn't have a Will. He does, however, have a Won't.

Claude, show us your LW&T

"Now listen son"

Bloody hell, all this time I was convinced of my avarian roots.  

It would appear I have been wrong, even deluded; for all these years my roots have been of a feline nature. I am in fact a tom cat with a diabetic daddy named Claude. I suppose it could have been worse, dad could have been named Malcolm or Duncan or somthing like that.

Anyway this revelation has been a shock and it will probably take yours truly nanoseconds to recover. I suppose its  like thinking you are the King of England then finding out you are really a poor barrister.

Anyway Claude, er daddy, thanks for claiming me as your own and thanks dearly for admitting paternity to so many wonderful witnesses hear at WD and the rest of the universe.

Funny, most tom cats couldn't care less about their kids. Claude is exceptional, don't you all agree?

Shit beautiful wings one day, a bloody kilt and bow the next. Though I do look good in a bow.

PS. Any chance at getting a peek at your LW&T?

PPS. Do you know a good barrister who may be interested in a paternity case?

Can I break it gently to you Justin Obodie?

Having had THE OPERATION I have no offspring.  But, purrrrrrrrrrr, if you would like to contribute to the cost of my insulin or vet bills, just give us a yell.

Kate Hersey, welcome to Webdiary, you had no idea this was going to happen to you did you?  It gets worse.  Try kitty litter.  Purrrrrrrrrrr, smooge, weave, smooge - where was I?

OK - done

I've just registered some cool dude by the name of Claude, that should balance things out.

Now, listen son

Justin Obodie, I prize loyalty above all things (being a cat - hee hee - cat joke) and I'm sticking with pussy.  Hillary gets my vote as a write-in candidate.

An absolute hoot

I have just applied to register Kevin Rudd to vote. A National reader might like to register someone to vote for McCain and balance it out.

What silly people these rebel colonists are - it doesn't matter who is the President, we always get a warmonger. Being CIC seems to go to the head. I do hope her Excellency, Quentin Bryce, keeps herself under control.

Leader of the free world?

Kate, if only all of us could have a vote for the so called leader of the free world.

See this in The Economist. The global electoral college.

12 votes for McCain and 7955 votes for Obama.

Why is the US so out of step with the rest of the world?

Let's hope that all US citizens make their vote count and in doing so think about those of us who have no say in electing the "leader of the free world".

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