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Expats ‘feel the Bern’ as Democrat Global Primary kicks off in Costa Rica

March 1, 2016

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is off to a head start over his opponent, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for the Democratic presidential nomination after the first day of the Global Presidential Primary in Costa Rica.

Sanders collected 20 votes to Clinton’s six in Costa Rica on “Super Tuesday,” the first day of the week-long primary, according to partial preliminary results reported by Democrats Abroad Chair Kathy Rothschild.

Tuesday kicked off the first day of voting for Democrats in Costa Rica. The Global Presidential Primary runs from March 1-5. Rothschild said that more young people than she expected showed up to vote in person on Tuesday at the Little Theatre Group’s offices in Escazú, southwest of the capital, and that many said they supported Sanders.

Democrats Abroad will send a total of 21 delegates to the Democratic National Convention to be held in Philadelphia in July, based on the results of primaries held around the world this week. New Zealand was the first country to report its results from Super Tuesday, and Sanders carried a similar lead over Clinton, 21 to six.

David Sagel, who described himself as a “New Deal Democrat,” said that he supported Sanders but thought there was little choice when it came to choosing between a Democrat or a Republican for president. “There are two qualified candidates on the Democrats’ side,” he said. “The Republicans are there calling each other names. What’s the alternative?”

Despite his vote for Sanders, Sagel seemed wary about the senator’s chances nationally: “He’s 74, a socialist and Jewish.”

Election volunteer Gerry Neville said he voted for Clinton because he thought she had the best chance of winning. “I think Sanders is promising things he can’t deliver on. Any Democrat president is going to have an uphill fight with the Congress and I think she’s got a better chance of getting things done.

Global primary ballots can be cast via email, fax or post mail. In-person voting is possible at five polling centers across Costa Rica:

March 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Centro de la Cultura in Grecia, Alajuela
March 3, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.: Pérez Zeledón Feria in San Isidro de el General, San José
March 4, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.: Jamie Peligro Books in Quepos, Puntarenas
March 5, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Tin Jo Restaurant in downtown San José

There is no in-country voting for Republican presidential candidates here but voters can cast absentee ballots in their home states. Voters should check their states’ rules for voter registration, deadlines to accept absentee ballots and if party affiliation is required to participate in the primary. There is no absentee option for caucus states.

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