Both the Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad groups here will be tracking election results Wednesday morning local time, and both have said they’ll throw celebratory bashes in Ho Chi Minh City if their candidates win.

Surely the bash will be bigger, though, if Obama gets a second mandate.

The US consulate does not keep voter registration data, but Americans here lean left and therefore voted for the incumbent at a higher rate than for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This is reflected in the size of Democrats Abroad Vietnam, the country’s chapter of a global organization that gets out the vote among the United States’ six million citizens abroad.

In Vietnam, Democrats Abroad count nearly 300 members, compared with roughly 50 in Republicans Abroad.

The liberal group also has more actively courted Americans to get in their ballots, helping them to register and mail in forms through the consulate. Starting in the summer, Democrats Abroad have hosted more than a half dozen events in Ho Chi Minh City, including a fundraiser during which Obama’s sister, Maya Soetero-Ng, called in for a half hour to greet the party guests.

Republicans had their own special guest during a regional call recently. Romney advisers were briefing conservatives here and in several other Southeast Asian countries on their boss’ foreign policy priorities, when running mate Paul Ryan made a cameo.

As in other countries besides the United States, Americans here had to cast their votes (called absentee ballots) early, using email, fax, or snail mail. The early birds had standard forms with candidates and proposed laws to check off. Later voters had to use write-in ballots (on which they write out their candidates of choice) to meet deadlines, which vary by state.

Besides assisting voters, Democrats Abroad designed T-shirts with Obama in a conical hat, ran a pub quiz, and held viewing parties for the presidential and vice presidential debates. Republicans attended at least one of the viewing sessions, as well as engaged in a mock debate with their political rivals at the US consulate’s American Center last month.

The Democrats also are meeting Wednesday morning to watch election results together at a restaurant in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, in addition to an election event held by the consulate. That should be followed eventually by the final event for both parties, at least during this election cycle: a victory celebration for either Obama or Romney.

By Lien Hoang - Tuoi Tre News - November 7, 2012