Oct. 4 - U.S. expatriates living on the shores of Mexico's Lake Chapala cast their absentee ballots for the November elections. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Dozens of American citizens living in the picturesque lakeside expat-haven of Ajijic on Wednesday (October 3) gathered to register voters and collect ballots ahead of the upcoming November 6 election in the United States. Ajijic sits on the north shore of Lake Chapala, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) southeast of the city of Guadalajara. The town, with a population of approximately 15,000, is home to an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 mainly retired expatriates - most of them Americans and Canadians - attracted by its temperate climate, sweeping lake views and nearby mountains. On Wednesday, a table was set up at a local restaurant to register those who hadn't done so yet. Later in the day, officials from the consulate in Guadalajara came to collect completed ballots at the Lake Chapala Society, where many members of the expatriate community meet regularly for literary discussions, film screenings and board games. The ballots will be taken to the consulate before being sent to the United States. American Fernando Garcia said that education is an especially important issue for him in the upcoming elections, as he plans to return to the United States with his children. "I think that the issues that are important to me are that the U.S. economy gets back on track. I'm planning on moving back so that my kids can attend high school and college back in the states, so I think Obama's interest in education is something that's very important to me," he said. Next week, consular officials in the state of Guanajuato will begin collecting ballots from American citizens living in San Miguel de Allende, a colonial city in which between 7,000 and 10,000 U.S. citizens reside.