Voters line up for Democrats Abroad primary

The Associated PressFebruary 6, 2008 

— Americans seeking a change in foreign policy and a new national image abroad flocked to churches in Rome, town halls in England and an Irish pub in Hong Kong on Tuesday to vote in a Democrats Abroad primary.

The voting will determine who gets the 11 votes allocated to Democrats Abroad at the Democratic National Convention in August. The group is allowing online voting -- a first for voters overseas -- that will continue for one week.

Porchester Hall in central London was jammed with high-spirited voters Tuesday evening as rival groups backing Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama chanted and waved banners for their candidates.

Republicans, meanwhile, made their Super Tuesday choices known through absentee ballots and predicted their party would unite behind whomever is nominated and keep control of the White House.

Most Democrats abroad focused on the razor's-edge contest between Clinton and Obama.

"I'm voting for Hillary. I'd like to see a woman in the White House," said Alison Kurke, who was first in line to vote at the American Episcopal Church of St. Paul's in Rome. "I think she can hit the ground running."

But James McGuire, 24, a Web site developer from Massachusetts who traveled to Rome from the Umbrian town of Orvieto, favored Obama.

"I think it's one of the most important in years," he said of the 2008 election. "If we do not get Barack Obama in the presidency, then we will have two families for over 20 years in the American political system. And I think that's unacceptable."

Americans voting overseas on Super Tuesday said they were particularly influenced by the candidates' foreign policy credentials. Democrats said they wanted a president who would steer the U.S. away from the Bush administration's foreign policies, which have alienated many allies.

"We need a dramatic change in tone and tenor, and we need someone who truly, genuinely understands other cultures and can project that to the world," said Clifford Aron, 50, a businessman from Brooklyn who lives in Warsaw, Poland.

Turnout for the Democrats Abroad primary was expected to be high, and results will be announced later this month.

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