The first time ever

Florence votes at U.S. Democratic Nominating Convention

Alexandra Lawrence
May 29, 2008

Check TV news clips, Internet video and newspaper photos coming from the Democratic National Convention August 25-28. You might spot a Florentine.



 Local resident Jo-Ann White will be one of the delegates from all over the states gathering to select the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, either Illinois senator Barak Obama or New York senator and former first lady, Hillary Clinton.


White, chapter chair of Florence Democrats Abroad and national vice chair of Democrats Abroad Italy, is one of four Americans residing in Italy elected as delegates to the U.S. Democratic Presidential Nominating Convention in Denver, Colorado.


A U.S. citizen and longtime Florence resident, White founded the Florence chapter of Democrats Abroad (DA) in 2005. Being chosen to represent her party as a delegate is an honor she takes seriously, especially in this, possibly the most electrifying Democratic primary races in recent history.


A ‘Florentine' like White is able to take part in such an exciting event in her home country because DA is the official Democratic Party organization for millions of Americans living outside the U.S. Recognized by the Democratic National Committee as a state party, in a sense, DA is the 51st state. As the legal overseas branch of the U.S. Democratic Party, the organization may send 22 delegates from all over the world to the nominating convention.


With four DA delegates, Italy has the highest number from any single country in the Europe/Middle East/Africa region. The number is remarkable given Italy's relatively small number of expatriates compared to those of France and the U.K.


Joining White will be Peter Alegi, founder of DA Italy; Theresa Morelli, founder of the DA Milan chapter; and Anthony Sistilli, chair of DA Italy. White credits the high delegate count to DA Italy's ‘incredible organization, passion and activism'.


According to the results of the Global Primary, conducted February 5-12, 2008, 15 of DA's votes will go to Obama, and 7 will go to Clinton.


The Global Primary was a new opportunity for U.S. voters living overseas. Balloting took place at voting centers in over 30 countries, by mail and fax, and on the Internet through a secure online voting system. Voters in 164 countries and territories cast online ballots and territories, while U.S. citizens residing in Florence had the opportunity to vote in person on February 5, at Syracuse University, where 300 people turned out.


According to White, one of DA Florence's primary goals is voter registration-no matter what the party affiliation. DA's voter registration site,, provides fast and easy online voter registration for all Americans living overseas, including Republicans, Independents, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians and others.


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