US Election 2016: Americans plan Canberra presidential parties
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US Election 2016: Americans plan Canberra presidential parties

Whether they're in long distance solidarity "with her" or busy working to make Canberra great again, American expatriates will find plenty of ways to celebrate or commiserate the presidential election results in the Australian capital this week.

Final preparations have been made for viewing parties in Canberra as the results flow in to determine who will be the next "leader of the free world" on Wednesday local time.

US expats and Democrats Ritu Clementi, Mike Heffron, Justin Underwood and Shelby Higgs are counting down the days until the election.

US expats and Democrats Ritu Clementi, Mike Heffron, Justin Underwood and Shelby Higgs are counting down the days until the election.

Photo: Rohan Thomson

While invited guests will join in the United States Embassy's regular "election watch" party, the Australian American Association and Democrats Abroad are inviting people of all nationalities and political persuasions to join pundits to see the results from late Wednesday morning.

The election viewing party will broadcast the CNN coverage at PJ O'Reilly's from 11am to 4pm, covering the time from the closing of the first polling stations, the key swing states and the west coast.

Democrats Abroad, the official overseas branch of the Democratic Party, opened a voting centre in Civic during the presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in March.

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Absentee ballots for the presidential election, however, are sent to eligible Americans living abroad by the state in which they are registered 45 days before the election date.

Canberra branch spokesman Mike Heffron said party members had been busy in the past weeks ordering merchandise and preparing for the big day.

"We're going to have a heap of T-shirts and buttons people can buy on the day, and we also have some life-size cardboard cutouts of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that people can get photos with," he said.

The expat arm of the Republican Party, Republicans Overseas, does not have a Canberra-specific branch but has a small following across Australia.

Meanwhile, the United States Embassy, in addition to planning its own official election viewing party, has taken the two presidential candidates, or at least their likenesses, for a tour of the capital.

Bobble heads of Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump have popped up on the embassy's Instagram feed at landmarks such as Old Parliament House and Telstra Tower.

Stephen Jeffery

Stephen Jeffery is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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