The Italian Village of La California Hosts Its Own American Elections

With a population of just over 1,000, the small Italian village of La California holds an annual American election for non-Americans. Around 1850, a small plot of land that contained a restaurant owned by the Gabbani family took the name “La California.” People would travel from one roadhouse to the next, recounting stories of the American state of California. Over the years, the link between La California and the United States remained strong — so strong that in 2004 the Tuscan village hosted the first unauthorized polling station for an American presidential election outside the U.S. It was the brain child of writers Michele Cogo and Francesco Merini. Their idea was simple: "As the United States of America is the world’s greatest power, affecting and determining the fate of the planet, why shouldn’t we have the chance for vote for their President too?” So, every four years since 2004, La California holds a fake election that coincides with the U.S. presidential election. The vote is obviously not taken into account for the official results, but it is sent to the nearest U.S. consulate in Florence.