Americans in Hong Kong vote for president

By Dikky Sinn
The Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) — Americans living in this Asian financial capital are getting a head start in the U.S. presidential election.

Several dozen visited the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong on Wednesday to submit their absentee ballots. The consulate is mailing the ballots to the U.S. for free.

More than 27,000 Americans live in this former British colony, according to figures from Hong Kong’s Immigration Department.

At least several voters said they sent their votes through the U.S. Consulate because they are worried their ballots may get lost in the mail.

“That way I’m guaranteed that it will get there,” said Auka Zaremb, a teacher and Maryland native who voted for Democrat Barack Obama.

“I don’t always trust the mail system in the world,” said 43-year-old teacher Karen Negus, who voted for Republican John McCain.

Problems with overseas balloting have clouded past elections.

In 2000, military voting problems created an uproar in the U.S. presidential election when some ballots were rejected in Florida, where George W. Bush’s razor-thin margin of victory gave him the presidency after an extended legal battle.

Some voters have said they didn’t vote in the 2000 presidential election because they never received ballots, got them too late or didn’t know how to request one. About 70 percent of overseas military ballots were not recorded in 2006.

In the Chinese capital, Beijing, about 100 Americans attended a voter registration event at the U.S. Embassy several weeks ago, spokesman Richard Buangan said.

More than 310,000 Americans live in mainland China, according to Buangan. ♦

Associated Press reporter Anita Chang contributed to this report from Beijing.

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