Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

4 November 2012

Cameroon: Interview - 'Hispanic, African-American Votes Are Crucial'

Gregory Thome, Chargé d'Affaires in the US Embassy in Cameroon, talks on the stakes of the November 6 presidential election in America.

The US East Coast was last week battered by 'Super-storm' Sandy with millions of people affected. What impact do you think it could have on tomorrow's election?

The hurricane presented unexpected challenges for voters and election officials. However, despite these challenges, election officials in each voting district - including those hit by the storm - are working diligently to ensure that each voter can exercise the right to cast their vote.

Americans have great confidence in their efforts and expect they will be able to vote as freely and fairly as voters in areas untouched by the hurricane. Many voting districts along the East Coast allowed voters to cast their ballots early.

How have Americans in Cameroon been voting and how many are they?

There are about 8,000 U.S. citizens in Cameroon who are eligible to vote in this year's election. Americans overseas are allowed to vote by absentee ballot. The U.S. Embassy can facilitate that process, or voters can mail or e-mail their votes directly to their home districts.

Since there are these options and since all voting - absentee or physical presence - is by secret ballot, the Embassy cannot say with any accuracy how many American voters in Cameroon will vote, or how they will cast their votes.

Some people say the votes of Hispanics and African-Americans could play a determinant role in the outcome of this election. Do you share this view, and why?

Hispanic Americans make up around 15 per cent of eligible voters and African-Americans, 13 per cent. Because of this, these voters are hugely important in any election.

At what time (in Cameroon) will tomorrow's election results be available?

The last polling stations close in Alaska at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, or 6:00 a.m. in Yaounde on November 7. News outlets project election results as they become available in each state.

It is important to note that the President-elect will not be official until members of the Electoral College in each state cast their ballots on December 17.

Kimeng Hilton NDUKONG

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