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As election day is getting closer, the outcome remains uncertain in many polls. However, Obama is winning in Paris where the famous Harry’s New York Bar’s straw vote is taking place.
For the last 100 years, Harry’s New York Bar has been the refuge of American expats in Paris. Lost in Paris? Just ask a cab driver to take you to “Sank Roo Doe Noo” (5 Daunou Street) and you feel at home. This small part of America in the center of Paris is famous for being the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, as well as being one of the favorite hangout of legendary writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Harry’s New York Bar is also famous for its straw vote. Since 1924, during the month preceding the presidential election, the bar has been holding a straw vote for Americans in Paris. And, out of 25 elections, Harry’s has predicted the winner all but twice, in 1976 with the election of Gerald Ford and 2004 with the reelection of George W. Bush.
Participation is open to any person who can prove that they are born in the United States. And no cheating is possible as the lock on the ballot box can testify. For this year’s election, Obama seems in a very good position to be the next President. The latest counting gives him 214 votes against 148 for Romney, that is to say 59% for Obama, 41% for Romney.
At Harry’s the game seems to be over. Will this choice be reflected in tonight’s result? Harry’s has been accurate over the last 88 years because American in Paris reflected American society. The 2004 error might be symbolic of a change in the bar’s clientele. A bar tender who has been working there for 28 years says that since the two gulf wars and 9/11 there are less Americans in France. And the one who are in Paris tend to travel a lot and be more open-minded than many back home.
Whether Harry’s New York Bar maintains its track record and remains an accurate polling place is yet to be seen. The iconic place however remains the place to be to follow the election in Paris. The atmosphere will be jovial and civil as “We are the place where both Democrats and Republicans come for a drink. Everybody speaks to one another.” But more importantly, cocktails specially made for the election are available. The “Romney” is absinthe based. The “Obama” is a mixture of cherry and peach liquor and beer. The “Ryan” is rum based. The “Biden” has vanilla and aged whiskey as the vanilla is a tribute to his softer side and the whiskey his age,” according to the owner.
If you are in Paris and a few hours to spare, you should check the “Sank Roo Doe Noo” and enjoy the “candidate” of your choice.