Democrats Abroad History
Democrats Abroad started simultaneously in London and Paris in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater. Under the leadership of Toby Hyde and Al Davidson, funds were raised and committees formed. However, votes could not be cast because in 1964, U.S. citizens residing abroad did not have the right to an absentee ballot in most States.
Hyde and Davidson lobbied party leaders and through their efforts, John Bailey, the DNC Chairman, recognized the London and Paris committees. In 1972, Chairman O’Brien granted Democrats Abroad nine non-voting delegates to the National Convention. In 1976, Democrats Abroad gained the status of a full Democratic state committee with voting delegates to the National Convention. Finally, in 1992 Democrats Abroad switched from a worldwide primary system to a worldwide caucus system for selecting delegates to the National Convention.
In June of 2007, Democrats Abroad voted to kick-off our 2008 delegate selection process with a global primary, so that Democrats around the world can easily participate. A number of centers will be available for in-person voting, and we’ll also provide for mail and on-line voting, ensuring that every Democrat abroad has the opportunity to vote. The global primary will be followed by regional caucuses and a global convention to select our delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
Over the years, Democrats Abroad has grown from two small committees in London and Paris to include committees throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. As Americans overseas learn more about their right to vote and participate in the US political process, even though they are away from home, Democrats Abroad continues to grow.
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