DUBAI // American expatriates living in the UAE can for the first time vote in a Global Primary for presidential nominations of candidates to run in the November 8 general election.
The UAE is one of 40 countries around the world hosting an in-person voting system for Democrats and Republicans living abroad, with polling stations to open in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from March 1-8.
Expatriates will be able to play their part in the bare-knuckle candidate race, currently being led by Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.
The results will decide which candidate carries the most weight when each party elects its official nomination in July.
Democrats Abroad – UAE, the official arm of the Democratic Party in the Emirates, has launched its campaign to help American citizens.
After March 8, the votes of Americans living in more than 190 countries will be counted.
“This year Democrats in the UAE will help select a presidential candidate that will represent the best hopes and aspirations of our nation,” said Courtney Hagen, Chair of Democrats Abroad – UAE.
“Democrats Abroad’s Global Presidential Primary allows Americans in the UAE to have a voice in who will be the party’s presidential candidate, whether remotely or at dedicated voting centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“This is the first time that a primary for overseas Americans will be physically held in the UAE.
“It’s a great opportunity for Americans to stay involved in the political process when they would normally miss it as they are not in the US to vote in their own state.”
Americans living abroad can register to vote at anytime during election season. However, in presidential and state elections, those living overseas can only vote by absentee ballot, but can register online.
In the 2016 presidential race Super Tuesday falls on March 1 - the day when the highest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party officially nominates those in the running.
Participating states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado caucuses, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota caucuses, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming Republican caucuses.
Individuals are sent a ballot in the post to then return to their state electoral party, sealed in a confidential envelope.
“My advice would be, whether Republican or Democrat, we are all Americans and one of the major important rights of passage that all of us share is the right to vote,” said Dr Steven Anderson, chairman of the Republicans Overseas in the UAE.
“Due to the fact that around 8.3 million of Americans live overseas does not mean that we have lost that right. It maybe a tad more challenging to do so, but it can be done and it is still equally important.
“The Republican and Democratic country-by-country overseas organizations and the US Embassies are the conduit of assistance for American voters to obtain their absentee ballots to make their voices heard.” In the UAE, booths will be open for polling by Democrats from March 1-8 at the Dubai American Academy and the American Community School of Abu Dhabi. Republicans can vote via post.
For more information, visit www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter.