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Signing Up A Remote Electorate For November...

by Blake Cook / July 19, 2004 5:43 AM PDT

MEXICO CITY - Georgiana Dubin, 87, came to Mexico from Missouri in 1936 but says she has never voted in a U.S. election. The former dancer attended a luncheon last week hosted by Diana Kerry, sister of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, and filled out a registration form to cast the first ballot of her life.

"I've been living here all these years, and I just realized that every vote counts," she said.

The votes of U.S. citizens living abroad are being courted by the Democratic and Republican parties more aggressively than in any previous election, officials from both parties said. They said the narrow outcome of the 2000 election, which George W. Bush won with a 537-vote margin in Florida over Democrat Al Gore, has motivated them to register every voter possible, including the millions of citizens who live abroad and are often overlooked.

Sharon Manitta, a spokeswoman for Democrats Abroad, who lives in Salisbury, England, said her group had chapters in fewer than 30 countries for the 2000 election but has them in more than 70 countries now. She said one chapter, Donkeys in the Desert, was opened in Iraq by employees of the recently disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority.

"It's just been incredible, just remarkable," said Manitta, who added that four months before the election, her group has already registered more than 8,000 voters in Britain.

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