LEADERS from the U.S. Republican National Committee (RNC) say approximately 15,000 U.S. citizens in Costa Rica are eligible to vote in the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections, and they view every single one as a potential vote for George W. Bush.
Such was the message RNC Co-chair Ann Wagner brought to a meeting of the Costa Rica chapter of Republicans Abroad last Saturday.
The 2000 election was decided by less than 1,000 votes in Florida, she said, pointing to the impact the expatriate population can have with their absentee votes.
“Elections are being won by small margins lately,” she told the audience of several dozen people at the Republicans Abroad annual membership drive event, at the Doka Coffee Estate in Alajuela.
WAGNER, who was reelected cochair of the RNC in 2002, is anticipating “one of the dirtiest elections ever,” based on statements already made by Democratic party candidates. She said she believes the difference between candidates will be very distinct.
“This war on terrorism is the calling of this President’s time,” she said. “His doctrine of preemptive self defense is one that will continue. We will fight this war on terror in places like Kandahar and Baghdad, not in my hometown of St. Louis, or Washington, D.C.…”
This preemptive policy and free trade are the two main issues that will decide the votes of U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica, according to Wagner.
“The President is going to continue opening up markets for American goods,” she told The Tico Times. “He is a big advocate of free trade.”
FACILITATING voting from overseas is one of the primary objectives of Republicans Abroad. More than 6 million U.S. citizens live outside the United States. Of those, the RNC estimates that about three million are adults and one million will actually vote.
Lobbying by the organization has helped mandate that every state have an election official who is responsible for overseas votes, according to JoanHills, vicechair of Republicans Abroad International.
Wagner’s visit marked the beginning of a drive by Republicans Abroad Costa Rica to help people register to vote, “no matter what their political party is,” said Frances Givens, chairwoman of the organization.
Information about registering to vote and absentee ballots is available at www.fvap.gov