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Breaking News: Barack Obama surges to early lead in voting

February 5, 2008 |  1:18 am

Sen. Barack Obama surged into a large 3:1 lead in the first returns from very early Democratic Party primary voting.

In Indonesia.

Where Obama spent four years of his childhood.

At midnight Tuesday Jakarta time, about 100 members of Democrats Abroad began voting at the Marriott Hotel. Unofficial first returns gave Obama 75% of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 25%. "There is a bit of rooting for the hometown boy," Tristram Perry, a public diplomacy officer at the U.S. Embassy, told the Associated Press.

"It's the first time someone who grew up in Indonesia is running for president," he added. Probably a pretty safe statement.

Under a special Democratic Party arrangement, thousands of its voters can cast their ballots around the world in such places as a donut shop in Cambodia, a Starbucks in Thailand, a pub in Ireland and even online. Democrats Abroad will have 22 delegates and 11 votes at the August convention in Denver.

Republicans Abroad is less organized and unrecognized by that party. So it can only assist party members to write their home counties to obtain absentee ballots.

Some 6 million Americans living abroad are eligible to vote. But, alas, only a small fraction bother.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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