Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sign Up for Voter Registration Training -- Help your Fellow Americans

During the week of Feb. 5-12, almost 600 Americans in Thailand voted in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary! While this was a big accomplishment, the fact is that for the general election in November, we're back to the old method -- everyone has to send their absentee ballots back to the U.S. And to do that, we have to make sure that as many Americans as possible are registered to vote. Democrats Abroad Thailand has a long tradition of helping Americans in Thailand get registered, helping almost 3000 Americans vote from Thailand in 2004. We want to do that again, but we need the help of our members!

Fortunately, the US Embassy has arranged for a NON-partisan voter registration workshop for Americans who want to do what I consider one of the most patriotic things any American can do -- which is help a fellow citizen participate in our democracy, and vote. The training is FREE, and will be held at the US Embassy THIS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 29, from 1 to 3 p.m. Please REPLY to me at this email ASAP and we will get you on the list to attend.

The details (as provided to me by the US Embassy Voting Assistance Officer) are below.

I hope that you can spare three hours of your time to become trained on how to help people register to vote -- in this year, we need everyone's help!

Best wishes,

Philip S. Robertson Jr.
Chair -- Democrats Abroad Thailand (DAT)

Email from American Embassy Bangkok follows:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Voting Assistant. This coming year will be a busy one for voting activities, as we will actively promote overseas voting for the presidential primaries and election. The Federal Voting Assistance Program is a non-partisan organization dedicated to guiding voters in the overseas voting process. Your primary roles will include the following: to help with correct completion of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) by utilizing the Voting Assistance Guide (VAG); to promote voting awareness in your American community; and to assist with voting outreach events.

As a Voting Assistant, you will need to be knowledgeable about the use of the VAG. All states have slightly different procedures for overseas voting as outlined in the Voting Assistance Guide. The FPCA will facilitate communication between the local election official and the voter. Once the voter has submitted a FPCA, the local election official in his or her county will be notified of his or her presence overseas and accordingly send any registration forms or absentee ballots to the address listed on the FPCA at the appropriate time.

We appreciate your contribution to this program, as it is crucial for its success. As a volunteer, you will act as an extension of the embassy by increasing the awareness through creative means which will uphold our American values. Unfortunately, embassy personnel cannot reach every community in order to spread the promotion of voting and information about election dates, so we are counting on you to enhance voter participation in American communities throughout Thailand.

The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit of the US Embassy will host a non-partisan Federal Voting Assistance Workshop at the Embassy. Here are the details:

Who: Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will send representatives from Washington D.C. to present the workshop to volunteers wishing to help out with overseas voting and to spread the word
When: Friday, February 29th
Where: American Embassy Bangkok/Consular Wait Room or NOB Cafeteria
Time: 1300-1600
What: The workshop will help volunteers to become educated on the overseas voting process
Bring: Questions! Questions! Questions!
P.O.C.: Sierra Dunaway, ACS, 02-205-4561, DunawaySS "at"

You must RSVP before the workshop to ensure all participants are on the visitors' list for Access and Security.

Remember: Your Vote Counts. Can America Count on You to Vote???


Sierra Dunaway
Voting Assistance Officer
American Embassy Bangkok
Tel: 02-205-4561
Fax: 02-205-4103

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bangkok Post Reports on DA Primary and Thailand Results

Unfortunately, the Bangkok Post sometimes doesn't fact check -- there was no DAT election center at any Starbucks in Bangkok -- rather, it was at a Starbucks in a Tesco Lotus mall up in Nongkhai, on the Thai-Lao border! But 15 years in Thailand have taught me to just confront these situations with a smile and a small shake of the head. This is a continuation of their incorrect story on Feb. 5 which resulted in me fielding calls from a handful of American voters in Bangkok who were evidently hunting for the right Starbucks in Bangkok to cast their vote. We got them sorted out and they came over to the FCCT in time to make their voice heard. All that said, we do appreciate the coverage the Bangkok Post has given us -- this story below was front and center in the headlines on their website all day yesterday (Feb. 22). And it is a catchy headline...

Barack takes Bangkok


Barack Obama has easily won the primary election by Democrats Abroad, held at a Bangkok Starbucks and other unlikely venues worldwide early this month.

Obama trounced Hillary Clinton by about 2-to-1, the results showed. No one was in third place.

Polls in Thailand were set up in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Udorn Thani and Nong Khai, as well as Internet voting.

Of 598 votes cast by American Democrats in Thailand, Obama won 415 votes against Clinton's 169 - 69.4 per cent against just 28.3 per cent.

Edwards (5), Kucinich (4), Biden (2), Uncommitted (2) and Richardson (1) also won votes in Thailand, according to tallies by Democrats Abroad.

These are the official, worldwide results released by Democrats Abroad headquarters in Washington:

  • Barack Obama 65.6%
  • Hillary Clinton 32.7%
  • John Edwards 0.7%
  • Dennis Kucinich 0.6%
  • Joe Biden 0.1%
  • Bill Richardson 0.1%
  • Uncommitted 0.2%

Overseas Americans who back the Democrat Party voted by Internet, mail and in person, according to results released by the Democrats Abroad group in Washington, an organisation sanctioned by the national party.

More than 20,000 U.S. citizens living abroad voted in the primary, which ran from Feb. 5 to Feb. 12. Obama won about 65 per cent of the vote, according to the results released on Thursday in Washington.

This gave Obama his 11th consecutive victory in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Most primary elections, conducted to choose a party's candidate for the November election against Republican John McCain, are at the state level.

Voters living in 164 countries cast votes online, the group said.

Expatriates voted in person in more than 30 countries. Apart from the Bangkok coffee-shop poll, they voted at hotels in Australia and Costa Rica, and at a pub in Ireland.

The results took about a week to tabulate as local committees around the globe gathered ballots.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama Wins Democrats Abroad Global Primary

Global Election Determines Delegates to Democratic National Convention

Online Voting Successfully Enables American Democrats Worldwide to Participate

Washington, DC – Today, Democrats Abroad announced that Senator Barack Obama has won the organization's Global Primary. The results were certified by the International Chair in Geneva, Switzerland.

The results of the Global Primary are as follows:

Biden 0.1%

Clinton 32.7%

Edwards 0.7%

Kucinich 0.6%

Obama 65.6%

Richardson 0.1%

Uncommitted 0.2%

These results determine the allocation of 4.5 delegate votes at the Democratic National Convention. Senator Obama won 2.5 delegate votes, and Senator Clinton 2 delegate votes. A further 2.5 votes will be determined at the Democrats Abroad Global Convention in April. In addition, Democrats Abroad holds 4 superdelegate votes. A total of 22 delegates, each with a half vote, will attend the Convention.

The Democrats Abroad Global Primary was conducted February 5-12, 2008. Balloting took place at voting centers in over 30 countries, by mail and fax, and for the first time, on the Internet through a secure online voting system. Online ballots were cast from 164 countries and territories, from Antarctica to Zambia.

"With the U.S. image so badly damaged by the present Administration, American Democrats living overseas were eager to have their voices heard," said Christine Schon Marques, International Chair of Democrats Abroad in Geneva. "Across the board we saw an enormous diversity in participation, including many first-time voters."

For the first-time ever, online voting enabled Democrats in every corner of the world to take part -- including Adam Lutchansky, a researcher at the US scientific mission at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. "The online Democrats Abroad Global Primary expanded the frontier of voting opportunities, and it works easily, even from the harshest continent on Earth," says Lutchansky.

Under the Democrats Abroad Delegate Selection Plan, the results of the worldwide primary are to be applied to the Regional Caucuses once the allocation of delegates to each Caucus is made. Rounding to determine the allocation among the Regions results in 2 delegates to be elected by each of the Americas and Asia-Pacific Regional Caucuses, and 5 delegates to be elected by the Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Caucus, resulting in one delegate each for Obama and Clinton in the Americas and in Asia-Pacific, and three delegates for Obama and 2 for Clinton in EMEA.

Democrats Abroad Regional Caucuses will take place in Brussels on March 15 and 16, 2008, for Europe-Middle East-Africa and in Vancouver, BC, on April 11, 2008, for the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

The Democrats Abroad Global Convention will take place in Vancouver, BC, April 12-13, 2008.

The Democratic National Convention will take place in Denver, Colorado, August 25-28, 2008.

The U.S. Presidential Election will take place on November 4, 2008. Deadlines for requesting overseas absentee ballots vary per state. To vote in the U.S. Presidential Election in November, overseas voters must request a ballot from local voting authorities in the place where they last resided in the U.S., also possible at

For a complete look at the Global Primary results broken down by country committee, please visit

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Photos from the DAT Poll at the Roadhouse

Thanks to Don Linder, DAT Vice-Chair, for taking these photos. And thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help organize the polling center, and to all the Americans who took time on a Saturday to come out and vote in what is surely one of the most exciting Democratic Primary contests EVER!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Results from DAT Polling Stations in Nongkhai and Udon Thani -- Feb 9th and 10th

Democrats Abroad Thailand organized polling centers to give Americans up in the Northeast of Thailand the opportunity to vote on the weekend of February 9 and 10. In Nongkhai, we used a Starbucks outlet (but the article from the Associated Press which did not specify which Starbucks -- leading to puzzled calls to DAT officers from Americans asking "what, I can vote at any Starbucks?") and Udon Thani, we were kindly hosted by the Charoen Hotel.

These are partial results, based only on the Americans who turned up to vote at the polling centers, and not including any who may have voted by internet or fax. There were reported by Mike Carroll, the Voting Center Manager for the NE and volunteer who put in so many hours to support this effort in Isarn!

Sen. Barack Obama -- 80%
Sen. Hillary Clinton -- 14%
Gov. Bill Richardson -- 6%

Thanks again to Mike and the band of volunteers in Isarn! In Nongkhai, DAT would like to thank Penny Khounta, Charles Alton, Gary Jahn, and Kevin Kamp. In Udon, we would like to thank Frank Brunet, John Murphy, John Neihaus, and Paul Pitarys. DAT looks forward to working with all of you to establish a formal Northeast Thailand Chapter of DAT in the coming months.

DAT also wants to thank the Starbucks in Nongkhai, the staff and management of the Charoen Hotel, and all the folks at Steve's Irish Clock Pub in Udon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

DAT Chiang Mai Polls on Feb. 5th and 9th

DAT's Chiang Mai and the North chapter opened voting centers at the AIDSNet Foundation in town (Feb. 5 and 9) and Payap University (Feb. 5 morning) and saw very good turn-outs of Americans turning out to help determine who will be the Democratic nominee for President.

With the very important caveat that these results are partial, and do not include any email, fax or mail votes from the North, here is what happened:

Feb. 9 -- AIDSNet Foundation

Sen. Barack Obama -- 84%
Sen. Hillary Clinton -- 16%

Feb. 5 -- AIDS Net Foundation

Sen. Barack Obama -- 87%
Sen. Hillary Clinton -- 9%
Uncommitted -- 4%

Feb. 5 -- Payap University

Sen. Barack Obama -- 66%
Sen. Hillary Clinton -- 28%
Sen. Joe Biden -- 3%
Rep. Dennis Kucinich -- 3%

Thanks to Gary Suwannarat, Catherine Nesbit, Martha Butt, Carol Grodzins, and all the other DAT Northern chapter volunteers who helped at these important polls! DAT really appreciates your support. We also appreciate the support of the leadership and staff at the AIDSNet Foundation and Payap U. for making space available for DAT to hold the polls!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Results of DAT Voting Center -- Bangkok -- February 9, 2008

Democrats turned out from Bangkok and suburbs, and as far away as Pattaya and the eastern seaboard to vote at the DAT Voting Center at the Roadhouse Barbecue at the corner of Suriwong and Rama IV Road! A very good time was had by all, voting and dining on the excellent food and beverages on offer from Chef Dana (from Maine - who was the first voter at the poll) and his great staff.

The results of the votes cast between 3 and 8:30 p.m . at the Voting Center were the following:

Sen. Barack Obama -- 63%
Sen. Hilary Clinton -- 35%
Sen. Joe Biden -- 1%
Rep. Dennis Kucinich -- 1%

Please note that these results are partial, and do not include votes by email, fax or mail that may have been cast by Democrats in Bangkok.

Thanks go to Andy Boname, the Voting Center Manager, and all the great volunteers who came out to assist their fellow Americans vote.

Thanks also to Dana and the Roadhouse staff for keeping us well fed and watered throughout the day and for making your great venue available for our polling station!

Go Democrats in 2008!

Super Tuesday in Bangkok

By Don Linder, Vice-Chair, DAT

Super Tuesday Democratic primary polling in Bangkok took place in a very different atmosphere from what you’d expect in say, New York, California, Alabama, or North Dakota. Democrats Abroad Thailand (DAT) organized polling for the first Global Democratic Primary at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm. The bar was open, as it always is from afternoon on, and although we’d asked the bartender to change the TV broadcast shown on the several flat screen TVs from Bloomberg to CNN, he switched to Al Jareeza TV, which featured substantial coverage of the primaries. Definitely not Kansas anymore.

The Democratic Global Primary gives a voice in the primary process to the millions of full-time American ex-patriates and many more American travelers. A voter who has registered with Democrats Abroad may choose to vote securely on-line or by paper ballot at a polling station. Voters in the global primary may not vote in their state primaries. Democrats Abroad will have a delegation of 22 voting delegates at the nominating convention in August, effectively making it the “51st State.”

There are 700 plus Americans registered with DAT, and by 6 pm, nearly 200 votes had been cast. Three other polling locations in Thailand – in Chiang Mai, Nongkhai, and Udorn Thani – serve ex-pats from around the country, as well from neighboring Laos and Burma.

The concerns of Americans living abroad often differ from those living in the States, as evidenced at DAT’s Issues Forum held last week at a local Starbucks. While an informal straw poll indicated that the Iraq war, the economy, and health care were top issues, the number one concern was America’s standing in the world/international relations – a grassroots issue for those who work, play, and go about their daily lives on foreign soil.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Great Observation from DA Thailand Volunteer at 5 Feb Polls

Just want to say how nice it was to work together Tuesday for Democrats Abroad. Did you see the write up in the Bangkok Post? I find our group so refreshing after being among Thais all the time who approach elections with fear and trepidation, afraid to talk about the issues important to them. My Thai wife voted two weeks ago: the environment of the polling station was covered with formality, police and lack of any discussion. Back home they just said, there were no bribes this year. Hopeless. What a contrast to all of us sitting at the bar and around different tables exchanging ideas freely.

The most striking moment for me on Super Tuesday was when an 18 year old girl named Bouquet came up to the ballot box to insert her ballot for the first time in her life. She was giggly and excited and smiled so broad you could see the sunbeams breaking through the dark clouds of powerlessness which is part of being a teenager. She stepped up to the plate and claimed her rights to make a change. 18 and hopeful. They may have told her children are to be seen and not heard. But last Tuesday she said: Yes I can!
I was at the other side of the ballot box. I couldn't help but shake her hand and thank her for coming out today. So she got her Dad to take a picture of us shaking hands. Her Dad was silent behind the camera. But as a fellow father, I saw his grin of pride. I knew in my heart he was thinking: Yes, she can! It was a victory for me too: as I finished a day of volunteering to insure a free and fair election. We all did that together.

So Bouquet is the one I pondered about. I want us as Democrats Abroad in Thailand to encourage young people and their folks and their expat teachers to pick up the scent of this Bouquet ...learning to participate in public life and become young Democrats with a real voice that can bring change. Yes, we can.

Dr. Donald S. Persons, Foreign Expert
ASEAN Institute for Health Development
Mahidol University

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Voting Results from Bangkok Polling Center -- 5 February 2008

Democrats Abroad Thailand (DAT)'s polling center at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand was a big success, with hundreds of Americans resident in Thailand coming out to exercise their right to vote to determine who will be our Democratic nominee for President. The results of the voting was as follows:

Sen. Barack Obama -- 68%
Sen. Hillary Clinton -- 29%
Sen. John Edwards -- 1%
Rep. Dennis Kucinich -- 1%
Uncommitted -- 1%

These results are partial, and do not reflect any voting by internet, fax, or regular mail. They only reflect the votes of those Americans who came to the FCCT on February 5, 2008. There will be another voting day in Bangkok on Saturday, February 9, from 3 to 8:30 p.m. at the Roadhouse Barbecue restaurant, located at Suriwong and Rama 4 intersection (closest BTS stop is Sala Daeng). A map is available at -- look forward to seeing more of you on Saturday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Nation (Bangkok) -- US Expats Vote in Primary Poll in Thailand

The Nation (Bangkok)
US expats vote in primary poll in Thailand

Published on February 5, 2008

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand was decked out in red, white and blue on Super Tuesday, as expatriate Americans of all ages had their say on which Democratic Party candidate should compete in the race for presidency in November.

The Chair of Democrats Abroad Thailand, Phil Robertson said this was the first time Democrat Primaries were happening in 34 countries across the globe, as well as over the Internet, and he expected a couple of hundred voters of all ages to come from all around the region to vote here in Bangkok.

"When I talk to friends of mine who aren't American they all say to me, 'You guys should be more careful about who you elect'. I think people who live overseas are broadminded and have an important voice, so I think I have a duty to make sure that voice is heard," he said.

While Democrats were divided as to who will make the best presidential candidate, Robertson said they would unite behind whoever was chosen to run for presidency.

Greg Auberry, 45, and wife Veronica Suozzi, 46, have lived abroad for many years, and have spent the last four in Hanoi. They brought their two young children all the way from Vietnam for their first taste of democracy.

"This is our democratic moment and they're so excited about it. We came to shop for groceries and we're also shopping for a presidential candidate!" Auberry said.

After much consideration, Auberry said he had decided to vote for Hillary Clinton.

"I think Obama's a much more exciting candidate, but I think in the long term Hillary will know how to govern in Washington. I think he [Obama] needs to earn his stripes. The economy, Iraq, there's too many variables for me to vote for him," he said.

He said he was unsure who would win the candidacy as it was a very tight race, but his children had their predictions ready. Dean, 10, although not an Obama fan, saw him as the frontrunner.

"I think Obama. I don't want him to win, but I think a lot of people like him," he said.

Meanwhile Ella, 4, is an Obama supporter for as good a reason as any other.

"She wants Obama, cause she like's his name!" Auberry said.

A couple of other Obama fans were Dr Jeffrey Wachtel and Dr Donald Persons.

Dr Wachtel, a leadership advisor, is from Florida and has lived in Thailand since 2001. He met, and almost found himself working for, George W. Bush Jr before he was elected President. This year he voted in his state primary, not as a Democrat Abroad, and had a last minute change of heart on his preference.

"I voted for Hillary and closed the envelope up. Then I saw the Iowa results and saw Obama had won. Barack showed all the signs of what we want in a leader. To me, he seems the number one candidate with the ability to lead," he said.

"It convinced me that Americans would vote for a black man who was a real leader and that showed me he was electable. That swayed me away from what was practical to what I thought was best for our country."

His friend Dr Persons, who has lived in Thailand since 1984, and attended Obama's church in Chicago, agreed.

"Barack has young people excited. She [Clinton] won't mobilise the people," he said.

"This guy is rock solid, good integrity, he speaks the truth and won't be pulled by the nose. The world needs him in that position. Governments of the world will be able to sit down together and talk."

Dr Persons said worry over his inexperience was irrelevant.

"The bureaucracy tells them what they do and what they don't do. He's not just alone, they will guide him. It'll be great for the America, for the world," he said.

Elizabeth Gray Boname, originally from Texas, has lived in Thailand for almost a year with her husband and two young children.

She said she was saddened by the change in foreigners' views of Americans over the past decade.

"As someone whose lived overseas since 1993, it's enormously sad for me as an American, to see how much the perception of our country has changed."

She said Obama was her preferred candidate because he was so refreshing.

"For the first time in a long time I actually have excitement for who is going to be our next president. I think he's an exciting candidate, I think he's someone who signals more change," she said.

Chris Kimble, Chair of Republicans Abroad Thailand, was the lone Republican in attendance. He said he was working on forging ties between the two groups, and although Republicans living abroad cannot physically come to vote as the Democrats can, he and his colleagues had worked hard to encourage people to vote in their home state ballot.

"We try to educate Americans on how to vote overseas. The biggest thing is to let Republicans know they can vote and how they can vote. We don't really put one candidate over the other," he said.

Both parties agreed on one thing: the presidential race is set to be a close and exciting one.

"This is gonna be an interesting election with a lot of controversy," Mr Kimble said.

Democrat supporters currently residing outside of the US who didn't have a chance to vote today, can do so in Bangkok this Saturday, February 9, and at other regional centres over the next few days.

See for details.

by Lily Partland

The Nation

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thai News Agency -- Democrats Voting in Bangkok

Americans cast ballots in Thailand for new US president

by Lance Woodruff

BANGKOK, Feb 5 (TNA) - Americans in Thailand – in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nong Khai and Udorn – are voting in Super Tuesday, an historic international primary.

On Super Tuesday in Bangkok, Americans joined their compatriots in Tokyo, Manila, Phnom Penh and Paris, for example, in casting paper ballots which will be sent air express to Geneva, Switzerland for official counting.

"The American public have had enough of George W. Bush and his failed war in Iraq and failed economic policies," said Democrats Abroad chairman Phil Robertson.

For the first time in United States political history, Americans around the world have voted for a change of government in Washington by casting their ballots formally in recognised polling stations in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nong Khai and Udon Thani in Thailand, and more than 100 other cities worldwide. .

Super Tuesday in the United States—like last Sunday's Super Bowl football contest -- is 'super' because it's the biggest primary election day for the 2008 presidential race.

Americans living overseas at some 100 locations around the world – beginning with Jakarta, Indonesia, where the American polls opened at midnight local time – voted Tuesday in the first offshore primary elections in American history. The Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok was the venue for America's first offshore polls in Thailand.

For some Americans it is their very first election. For 18-year-old Bouquet Harger, a Matayom Six student at Mater Dei Institute in Bangkok, a Thai-American excited by the choice she had to vote – her very first as a Thai or as an American -- for the first American woman president in history, or perhaps America's first Black president.

But her years in one of Bangkok's finest girls' schools have prepared her for citizenship not only in Thailand, but as a world citizen. And as a Thai-American she has the privilege of being a citizen in two countries.

American Democrats by definition are voting for what some would call 'regime change', suggests Democrats Abroad in Thailand chairman Phil Robertson, as Republican George W. Bush has occupied the White House for two terms, and Democrats, by definition, want a Democrat in that office.

But more than that, according to Mr. Robertson, "many American voters casting their ballots today are opposed to misguided American military intervention in Iraq and the threat of further adventures in the Middle East, and the failed economic polices of President George Bush."

Numbers of independents and Republican American voters are coming out to register as Democrats, Mr., Robertson says, because they are dissatisfied with the course of the American politics, from the war in Iraq, to the meltdown of American social services and the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis. They are voting to repudiate the polices of the Bush administration, he said.

Americans around the world are also voting for Joe Biden, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson, but for the climate of the polling booths in Bangkok, it looks like it will be a close race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which may not be decided until the Democratic National Convention in Denver in Colorado.

Thailand-generated American Democrat votes be pivotal in influencing the US Democratic presidential candidate in November, says Mr. Robertson, who predicts that whatever candidate the Democrats field in August, they will sweep the polls against the Republican candidate, which at this point looks like Sen. John McCain, who is respected by most Democrats, even if they don't agree with his politics.

The US Presidential election will take place on Tuesday November 4, when the successor to President George W. Bush is chosen by American voters.

Additional American voting will take place again on Saturday from 3-8:30pm in Bangkok and on Saturday and Sunday in NongKhai and Udon Thani. (TNA)