• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
US Berliners 'feel the Bern' at global primary
Americans voting in Berlin for the US global primary. Photo: Democrats Abroad Germany.

US Berliners 'feel the Bern' at global primary

Emma Anderson · 7 Mar 2016, 12:03

Published: 07 Mar 2016 12:03 GMT+01:00

A fully stocked bar, live music, comedians, young hipsters mingling with grey-haired retirees - the scene on Sunday night was quite literally far from the long queues and austere atmosphere of a typical US primary polling spot.

Berlin’s Democrats Abroad hosted their third Global Primary on Sunday with more than 600 people in attendance - nearly twice as many as the 380 people who voted in 2008 when Barack Obama battled Hillary Clinton for the nomination.

“All over, at the other global primaries that have been going on worldwide, there has been in fact a larger turnout than in 2008,” Democrats Abroad Berlin Chair Gwendolyn Lynch told The Local.

Photo: Emma Anderson/The Local.

“My opinion personally is that it does have something to do the political scene and the Republicans who are being presented to us. There’s a lot of crossover this year of people who usually vote Republican who are choosing to register with us today.”

Lynch told The Local on Monday that Bernie Sanders "definitely had more ballots cast in his favor than Hillary Clinton," but organizers had not yet counted mail-in or online votes that are still coming in.

Unlike the Republican Party, the Democrats have allowed the party’s international branch to host a Global Primary since 2008, where expats can vote in-person with the group Democrats Abroad, which is given state-level recognition in the Democratic National Committee.

The group will send 13 delegates and eight super-delegates this year to the Democratic National Convention, which is more than the state of Wyoming's total of 18.

An estimated 8.7 million Americans live abroad - more than the population of Austria. Both parties tout elections like that of comedian Al Franken to the US Senate in 2008 as showing the impact of absentee and expat votes: Franken beat out his Republican opponent with the help of absentee ballots.

This year, Democrats Abroad voting centres were were set up in a dozen cities across Germany and around 120 places worldwide throughout last week.

Munich also had a record turnout this year with 35 percent more people than in 2008, according to Democrats Abroad Chair Quaide Williams.

Voters have until Tuesday to send in their ballots, so the final tally of votes will not be released until those have been collected, Williams told The Local.

Republican voters or those who miss the global primary can still vote in the state primaries where they last lived by mail-in or electronic ballot, depending on the state.

SEE ALSO: How to vote as an American expat

In Berlin, American expats started lining up almost an hour before voting started at 3pm to drop their ballots in a box in front of the American flag before grabbing a drink to enjoy the live entertainment. Voters came from all walks of life, old to young like actress Elena from Boston and Casper from Seattle.

"It’s really sad that more people don’t vote,” Casper told The Local. "Even though my one vote might seem small, it’s such an important election and there’s actually a choice."

While voters wore buttons and hats for both Bernie Sanders and Clinton, many seemed to lean more in favour of Sanders, according to organizers like Lynch. At one point a speaker asked the crowd who they voted for and a louder cheer could be heard for the Vermont senator.

Sanders’ appeal wasn’t just with young voters at the primary, either - even German-American actress Doris Kahn, who turns 90 this year, told The Local that she voted “with her heart” for the long-time independent politician.

"It means a lot to me to vote because it’s my conviction, with all my heart," Kahn said.

Kahn was born in Münster, spent her childhood in Berlin, but moved to New York in the 1950s and later started a family, eventually becoming a citizen. 

"I love America, it’s still very important to me,” she said. "I always did what I should [and voted] when I lived there… I’m happy to be here and vote for America."

German-American actress Doris Kahn after voting in Berlin. Photo: Democrats Abroad Germany.
Story continues below…

Republicans vote absentee

Those who miss the global primary and members of the Republican party abroad can still vote in the state primary where they last lived - and in 24 states, where a parent is eligible to vote.

The organization Republicans Overseas isn't given the same standing within its party as Democrats Abroad, but works with expats to register to vote absentee.

"Everyone I know who can vote absentee has already done so - I certainly did," said Republicans Overseas chairman Thomas Leiser, who is registered in Texas, to The Local.

Some states allow ballots to be sent by email, while others must be printed and sent by mail. While this process may not be as simple as slipping a ballot into a box, Leiser urged Republicans to "fulfill one's duty to vote".

"In my case, every step you add is one more step that you might not take, but for voting, I would fulfill every requirement they might have, except for standing on my head.

"How difficult is it to stick it in an envelope and send it?"

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Anderson (emma.anderson@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Munich pharmacy’s nighttime porno show draws crowd
Photo: DPA

When a police patrol in Munich's Sendlinger Tor area noticed a crowd gathered outside a pharmacy window they went to investigate. But the onlookers weren't interested in a new line of flu medicine.

Small town mayor beaten up for plan to house refugees
File photo: DPA.

The mayor of the small northern town of Oersdorf, Schleswig-Holstein, was beaten up by an as yet unknown person, police reported on Friday, seemingly because of plans to provide a home for refugees.

Fire at major Ruhr area hospital kills at least two
The fire in Bochum. Photo: DPA

Tragedy struck the western German town of Bochum on Friday morning when a huge fire broke out in a hospital in Bochum, killing at least two people.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd