Friday, October 5, 2012

In Argentina and Chile, Early Voting Begins



Four years ago, shortly after Cristina Fernández first won election to the presidency of Argentina, Buenos Aires was still the site of election frenzy, as both Spanish and Italian politicians plastered walls, buses and utility boxes with posters for their European campaigns. Many Argentines have dual nationality in those countries, and are eligible to vote in their elections, and Italian dual nationals even have their own representative in Italy’s parliament.
None of those countries is in campaign mode this year, but the US presidential election is drawing attention all over the world, and the Southern Cone countries are no exception. You won’t see the same conspicuous campaigning that you would if European countries were involved but, according to the Buenos Aires Herald, 25,000 US citizens residing in Argentina are eligible to cast absentee ballots. US Ambassador Vilma Martínez, whose official residence in Palermo appears in the above photograph, hosted a special event for the first day of absentee voting. Seven hundred voters cast their ballots.

Across the Andes, in Chile, things are proceeding in a similar manner. As in Argentina, US citizens can cast their ballots in person, or mail them to Santiago’s US embassy, which will forward them north for no additional charge. I don’t know how many US citizens reside in Chile, but one estimate says about 10,000.

Information on voting absentee while overseas is available through the Federal Voting Assistance Program. Interestingly, resident foreigners can vote in Chilean elections, and Argentina is considering legislation to let them do so.

Campaign Update: Dateline Romney Nui
In related news, the New Yorker has posted the winner of the moai-themed cartoon caption contest that appeared in the magazine a few weeks ago, about which I posted my own entry. Given that all the captions were clever, I can’t complain about the winner, but my own personal preference came in third.

Tango by the River
As announced, there’s been a postponement of my digital slide lecture on Buenos Aires at Tango by the River in Sacramento, which will now take place Friday, October 26th, at 6 p.m.
Limited to a maximum of 50 people, the event will also include tango performances; admission costs $10 at the door, or $8 in advance. I have spoken here several times before, and we always sell out, so plan in advance. Signed copies of my Moon Handbooks on Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile and Patagonia will be available at discount prices.

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