Should I vote in the primary at home or abroad?
January 22, 2008 6:09 AM   Subscribe

I currently live overseas but am registered to vote in Texas. If I want to help Obama's campaign the most, should I vote in the 4 March Texas primary, or the 12 February Democrats Abroad primary?
posted by grouse to Law & Government (12 answers total)
 
Both options may be too late. By Feb 5 it's possible that the candidate will be chosen. If that's not the case, I'd say vote in the Feb 12 Dems abroad primary. By Mar 4 I'm fairly certain it will be over.

The best way you can help him right now is to make sure family and friends in the Feb 5 primary/caucus states vote for him.
posted by jk252b at 6:23 AM on January 22, 2008


There will likely be a winner before March, agreed.
posted by caddis at 7:00 AM on January 22, 2008


Both! There's no way they'll notice.
posted by smackfu at 7:02 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Assume for the purposes of this question that I will not vote in both.
posted by grouse at 7:04 AM on January 22, 2008


Remember there is also a huge array of statewide and local races on the Texas primary ballot in March. If some of these are also important for you, you might want to vote in your Texas primary.
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:11 AM on January 22, 2008


I would vote in the Democrats Abroad primary. It's a chance for him to put up some numbers in a primary that's not restricted to one region. Clinton has been outpolling Obama nationwide, although the gap has closed somewhat. Were he to pull some good numbers in a generalized primary like that, he would be better positioned to be able to say that he's got broad support.
posted by azpenguin at 7:16 AM on January 22, 2008


I can still vote for the other races at home, even if I vote in DA for president.
posted by grouse at 7:26 AM on January 22, 2008


Vote in Texas. Here's why:

Democrats Abroad delegates will only get half a vote this time! Also, they only get 22 delegates (out of 4049 total), so really, that means the most possible number of votes you could influence with your vote would be 11.

Texas gets 228 delegates and they will all get to vote at the convention.

The schedule is a tough thing to predict, but I would argue that unless you have a chance to vote in a Feb 5-or-earlier state, it won't make a ton of difference. After Feb 5, a majority of states will have had primaries. At that point, there will either be one candidate who will have enough delegates to make it impossible for the others to go on, or it will become a long, bloody, state-by-state battle, in which case it doesn't matter whether it's in February or March - it'll all be about counting up delegates. In which case it'll be good to make a strong showing in a state like Texas, where there are lots of delegates to be had.

So: vote in Texas.
posted by lunasol at 10:31 AM on January 22, 2008


Clarification, when I said "unless you have a chance to vote in a Feb 5-or-earlier state, it won't make a ton of difference" I mean that the timing of your vote wouldn't make a ton of difference, not that the vote itself wouldn't make a ton of difference. Your vote will definitely make a difference, just more so in Texas than with the DA primary.
posted by lunasol at 10:33 AM on January 22, 2008


the most possible number of votes you could influence with your vote would be 11.

I thought pledged delegates were awarded proportionally.
posted by grouse at 10:42 AM on January 22, 2008


I thought pledged delegates were awarded proportionally.

They are, though the exact rules for delegate math vary by state and are extremely headache-inducing.

I guess I was trying to make the point that even if every single Dem Abroad voted for Obama (and I know a lot of State Department folk love him, but still), that would only be 11 votes at the Convention.

Incidentally, it might be tempting to say, "well, given how big Texas is, it makes sense that they would have so many more delegates, and one's vote could be represented just as well by voting in a small primary that would yield 11 votes as a large one that would yield over 200." I'm not sure how many Dems Overseas there are, but only about 800,000 people voted in Texas in the 2004 Dem Pres Primary in 2004. In order for the delegate counts to be fair, there would have to be less than 40,000 Dems Abroad voting, which seems like a stretch, especially given that voting will be so easy this year (as you probably know, it'll be online), and considering how many people there are voting overseas this year who probably want the troops to come home.

/political geekery
posted by lunasol at 11:32 AM on January 22, 2008


If you come from a precinct in Texas with a small number of democrats, you will help whomever you vote for more. You could also write the precinct chairman and give him or her any resolutions you would like to have put forward.
posted by ubiquity at 1:06 PM on January 22, 2008


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