Undeterred by a very Canadian winter wallop, a group of American expatriates is getting set to meet in downtown Ottawa on Tuesday night to watch as the United States marks a key turning point in the race to the White House.
Super Tuesday: Clinton and Trump dominate, setting up showdown
The gathering at the Senate Tavern, which is being organized by a local chapter of Democrats Abroad Canada, will give people the chance to see Super Tuesday unfold in the company of fellow Americans, said event organizer and local radio host David Schellenberg.
Attendees who have signed up in advance will also be able to cast their votes to help determine the Democratic presidential nominee, a race that is far from sewn up by either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the two candidates in contention.
“Three or four weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch watching the debates, and got really annoyed at the Republicans and really liked what the Democrats were saying, and I sort of thought ‘well, I should do something,’” said Schellenberg, who was born in the U.S. and holds duel citizenship.
“There’s tons of interest. Just like me, it’s people who’ve been sitting on their couch watching, and want to get involved.”
Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party outside the U.S., has organized a week-long global primary around the world to offer an opportunity for expat Americans to have their vote counted. Through Democrats Abroad Canada, several voting centres have been set up across the country, including in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
Acting like a 51st state, Democrats Abroad will send its own delegates to the Democratic convention in July to help select the presidential candidate.
WATCH: Controversial Republican front runner Donald Trump could secure the Republican nomination tonight, while the Democratic race comes down to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. Jackson Proskow reports.
READ MORE: Why Super Tuesday is such a big deal
Schellenberg said he’s not aware of a similar group or event set up for Republicans in Ottawa, but that the GOP has organized online voting for people not living in the United States.
Regardless of political affiliation, he said, everyone is welcome to come out to the tavern from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
“This is our very first event, and so there’s a lot of people talking about it, but how many will actually show up remains to be seen … I get the feeling there’s this pent-up need to get together and talk politics.”
Karin Lippert, a American citizen and member of the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad, said she’s hoping for lots of engagement in her community as well.
“We’ve just elected, in Canada, a very liberal government … a prime minister who is a global presence on issues that are human rights issues that Democrats care about as well,” she said. “So we’re in a very good position, as Canadian Democrats abroad, to feel a real connection on those levels and in those areas.”
With files from Angie Seth.