Today, 24 August 2008, a group of Americans living in Manila gathered at the Quezon Bridge to show their support for US Senator Barack Obama’s bid to become the next American president, and to encourage Americans living in the Philippines to register to vote Online.
More than 200,000 American citizens live in the Philippines--many of them Filipino-Americans with dual nationality. With an estimated 6 million Americans living outside of the US , only 1 million of whom voted in the last presidential election, Democrats Abroad believes that American citizens living abroad can help make the difference in this election.
“In the past two US presidential elections, a few thousand votes in a few key states have determined the elections’ outcomes,” said David McCauley, Acting Chair of Democrats Abroad–Philippines.
“Many US citizens living in the Philippines aren’t aware that they can easily vote by absentee ballot, and it’s never been more crucial that they make their voices heard. Every vote really does matter.”
At today’s rally, McCauley conveyed personal stories of the Obama family, whom he’s known since the 1980s when he worked with Senator Obama’s mother in Indonesia .
“Barack Obama’s mother was a remarkable woman who cared deeply about development in Asia and raised a very special son, with a unique sense of strength and caring,” said McCauley.
“Senator Obama’s election will restore America ’s leadership in promoting global economic development and understanding, and it will strengthen the bond between the United States and the Philippines . No American should sit on the sidelines when they can take part and vote,” he added.
“In the past, registering to vote from outside the US could be a complicated affair, but this new website makes it easy,” said McCauley. The group he leads is promoting the Website as a quick and easy way for Americans to request absentee ballots and obtain voter information.
Quezon Bridge was chosen as a gathering place for today’s rally to symbolize Obama’s efforts to build bridges for problem solving across ethnic and political lines. More than 50 such “Yes We Span” events have been held by Democrats Abroad chapters around the world, playing on the Obama campaign’s motto of “Yes We Can”.
Today’s event comes on the heels Senator Obama’s selection of Joe Biden to be his running mate, and is a prelude to tomorrow’s opening of the week-long US Democratic Party Convention in Denver, Colorado, which will culminate with Senator Obama accepting his party’s nomination on Thursday before a crowd of 75,000 supporters.