For American expats living in Victoria, Tuesday March 3 is a significant day.
Super Tuesday is the day when most American states hold primaries and caucuses to vote for candidates for the upcoming federal election.
Thirteen states, one U.S. territory and a separate state category for Americans living abroad will vote to award a total of 1,357 delegates. In total, 1,991 delegates are needed to win a nomination. This makes it an imperative day for the Democratic party to select its presidential candidate. Presently, there are several top contenders including Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren.
Republicans are also voting today, though President Donald Trump is predicted to win as the Republican candidate with little opposition, causing several Republican states to cancel their primaries altogether.
“This is the most important presidential primary in at least a generation,” said Heidi Burch, chair of Democrats Abroad Victoria and the Islands, a branch of an international expat democrat group which seconds in size only to expat U.S. military members. “This is an opportunity as democrats living abroad to have an impact in the decision: who is going to take on the Republicans, who is going to take on Trump?”
Globally, Democrats Abroad has a population of more than 150,000 members, with approximately 1,400 on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; there are approximately 1 million American expats in Canada, the largest population living abroad.
Democrats Abroad counts as its own state party and gets its own set of 21 delegates, though people can also choose to vote in the last state where they resided.
“There’s more impact if you vote in the DA category though, because your vote will be one among thousands versus millions,” Burch said.
While in-country voters only have today to vote, expats have an entire week to make up for the time differences around the world. On Tuesday, polls opened in Australia and then continued to open around the world.
Americans can vote in-person at specified events, as well as online or by mail.
For members of Democrats Abroad, an in-person vote will be held on Saturday March 7 at the Knox Presbyterian Church at 2964 Richmond Rd. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Anyone who is not a member of Democrats Abroad but is an American citizen who will be 18 by Nov. 3 can register in person by signing an affidavit.