This photo shows an American citizen voting in Dublin in a 2008 primary. The scene is being repeated today. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Ray O’Hanlon
In contrast to the spectator status of Irish citizens living in the U.S. as Ireland went to the polls last Friday, U.S. citizens in Ireland will be able to cast ballots in today’s “Super Tuesday” primaries.
Dublin will join today’s eleven primary states as Democrats Abroad Ireland, a state committee within the Democratic Party, will be operating voting centers from New Zealand to Panama and all the way to Bachelors Walk in Dublin.
Any U.S. citizen or dual national can register and vote on site on the day, provided they will be 18 years old by the day of the U.S. General Election on November 8, said a statement from DAI.
The polling station will be located in the Arlington Hotel, Bachelors Walk, and will be open from 4 to 8 p.m.
Said the statement: “Informal polls within Democrats Abroad worldwide show strong support for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But Ireland is thought to hold a particular advantage for Hillary Clinton, given her historic ties to Ireland through the UCD Clinton Institute and Bill Clinton's help in securing the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement.”
Added the statement: “Richie Cunningham of Sligo is one such example: ‘I worked the length of Manhattan and all five boroughs, and the Bill Clinton years were good years for the Irish in the States. I've no doubt that Hillary can do the same.’"
Mr. Cunningham went to the U.S. on a Morrison Visa in 1991 and became a U.S. citizen before returning to Sligo in 2002 to rear his children.
Competition between Sanders and Clinton has driven robust turnout in Iowa, New Hampshire, and most recently Nevada. And Ireland is no different, according to DA Ireland's chair, TJ Mulloy.
"Sanders is like Michael Healy Rae, a party unto himself in many ways. We are seeing unprecedented registrations on a daily basis," Mulloy said.
"This is outstripping what we saw in 2008 between Barack and Hillary. We thought that was a once in a generation nominating phenomenon, but here we are again just eight years later.”
“The biggest surprise is the vast spread of the registrations: Kerry, Donegal, a lot of Galway. They're outnumbering Dublin registrations the last week. Bernie's supporters are passionate, and they're driving complacent Hillary voters to make sure they're registered as well.”
Those casting ballots in Dublin in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary will be sending a total of 21 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in July.
The way things currently stand, the Democrats are alone in tapping into registered members living outside the U.S. The Republican Party does not presently offer such voting facilities to its supporters living overseas.
Said the DAI statement: “Only Democrats take account of Americans living overseas, cultivating voters in what have been razor thin margins in recent U.S. elections. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota puts his win by 312 votes out of 2.9 million cast down to the diaspora American vote in 2008.”
U.S. citizens have the right to vote absentee in all federal elections, regardless of where they may be living in the world. Estimates of U.S. citizens living in Ireland vary from fifty to one hundred thousand.
U.S. citizens unable to vote in person can also cast ballots by email by going to www.democratsabroad.org. They can also use regular mail. Either way, all ballots must be emailed or posted by March 8.