" Americans overseas head to polls" AP--Internet Voting

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Tue Feb 05 2008 - 09:18:44 CST


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A little more information about the Internet voting withing the text of the following article.

Americans overseas head to polls


By ROBIN McDOWELL, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 19 minutes ago


Americans living overseas started lining up in hotels and coffee
shops Tuesday to vote for Democratic candidates in the 2008 U.S.
presidential elections, while others — for the first time ever — cast
ballots online.

But some voting experts expressed fears that Internet ballots were
vulnerable to tampering, computer hacking and could not be
authenticated or recounted.

Indonesia, where candidate Barack Obama once lived as a child,
kicked off the Super Tuesday campaign at the stroke of midnight. More
than a hundred people turned out at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in the
normally bustling capital, saying America needed to restore its
reputation across the globe.

"Living overseas, I think that's the most important thing," said
Peter Gardiner as he waited in line with his family. "We've had eight
years of an administration that has basically destroyed America's

While voting was taking place in more than 20 U.S. states Tuesday,
the busiest day in the U.S. primary election season, overseas balloting
lasts for a week. Polling booths were being set up in locations ranging
from a doughnut shop in Cambodia, to a pub in Ireland, to a French cafe.

"This is a critical election. We are at a tipping point," said Don
Bryant, a retired U.S. Army medical officer among dozens voting at the
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.

"The direction it goes will make a big difference in the life my children have."

Some 6 million expatriates are eligible to vote, but only a fraction
have done so in the past. Up until recently, their only option was to
mail absentee ballot request forms to their last U.S. county of
residence, then wait for ballots to be delivered in time to vote.

Melissa Howell-Alipalo, a longtime resident in the Philippines, was
among those voting online Tuesday — an option that, like overseas
in-person voting, is not available to Republicans.

"I registered with Democrats Abroad, I was approved, received my
ballot number and a pin code in an e-mail. I clicked on the hyperlink,
entered my ballot number, address and birth date."

Then presto, Howell-Alipalo said, she voted.

Barbara Simons, a member of the nonprofit Verified Voting Foundation
and a critic of electronic voting, warned, however, that "just because
it was simple, doesn't mean it's successful."

"How do I know if ballot box stuffing was done?" she said in a
telephone interview. "How do I know they were legitimate votes? This is
not the way to run an election."

Republicans Abroad has operated independently of its national party
since 2003, and therefore cannot hold in-person or Internet votes
overseas. But it is organizing to get more expatriate Republicans
registered back home in time to receive their ballots overseas and cast
them in primaries later this year.

Dozens of people stopped by Japan's polling both in downtown Tokyo.

"I love that we get to cast the first votes on the Super Tuesday
primary day," said Lauren Shannon, a Pennsylvania native and chairwoman
of Democrats Abroad there. "I see a significant difference between
concerns of voters abroad and at home, and I feel we should have an
individual voice."

Hundreds of Democrats were registered in Indonesia, a predominantly
Muslim nation of 235 million, where Obama lived with his mother from
the age of 6 until 10, growing up with exotic pets, like his monkey
Tata, and tasting rare delicacies, from snake meat to grasshoppers.

"There is a bit of rooting for the hometown boy," said Tristram
Perry, the public diplomacy officer at the U.S. Embassy, as an early
tally at the J.W. Marriott gave Obama a resounding 75 percent of the
votes to 25 percent for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"It is the first time someone who grew up in Indonesia is running for president."

But Ari Bassin, a 31-year-old New York native, said he was sticking with Clinton.

"She brings heft to the table and has respect from around the world that, at this point, I'm not sure Obama has," he said.

The Democratic National Convention in August will include 22
delegates from overseas. Under party rules, they get half a vote each
for a total of 11. That's more than U.S. territories get, but fewer
than the least populous states, Wyoming and Alaska, which get 18
delegate votes each.

The overseas delegates will be selected through a combination of local, regional and worldwide caucus meetings.


Associated Press reporter Anthony Deutsch in Jakarta and Hrvoje
Hranjski in Manila and Michael Casey in Bangkok contributed to this






Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The
information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written
authority of The Associated Press.



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