Couple logs 9,300 miles from Bangalore for Obama vote

November 1st, 2008 - 10:33 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 1 (IANS) An American couple has travelled 9,300 miles from Bangalore to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden in the Nov 4 election.For nearly a month, Susan Scott-Ker and her husband had been waiting for their New York State absentee ballots to arrive in India, where she has been working since the summer, the New York Times reported.

A week ago, they realised that even if the ballots arrived before the election - a proposition that was growing more dubious by the minute - they had almost no chance of getting them back in time to be counted.

They had already called the American consulate, to no avail, and had looked into hiring a round-trip courier service. Finally Tuesday evening, she and her husband caught a flight from Bangalore to New Delhi, about 1,100 miles.

The next leg of the journey, 7,500 miles, took them to Chicago. By 5:30 Wednesday morning, they had cleared immigration and customs at O’Hare International Airport, and flew the last 700 miles to La Guardia.

Their journey of 9,300 miles had taken 22 hours. When all their expenses are counted, their trip will have cost them about $5,000, Scott-Ker told the Times.

For Scott-Ker, 45, a native of New Zealand, and her husband, who was born in Morocco, the votes they intend to cast on Tuesday in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan will be their first, ever. They became American citizens Nov 30, 2007.

“We became citizens so we could vote,” Scott-Ker said. “We’d lived here 13 years on green cards, paid lots of tax money, but you have no voice within the system.”

A few months after they were sworn in as citizens, Scott-Ker was transferred to Bangalore by her employer, Accenture, a management consulting, technology and outsourcing company, as its marketing director for India.

She kept her eye on the election, filing the voter registration forms in August and getting the confirmation in early October. But after doing all the necessary paper work when still no ballots came, they took the flight to New York.

She and her husband were determined to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. “Is there a test we can take beforehand?” she asked. “We don’t want to squander our vote.”

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