News

Reflections from the Campaign


Dear all: some reflections from the campaign, the first battle in the fight for the soul of the Commonwealth and the country.

1. It was all about the women. You ran and you won. You organized and you volunteered. And you voted. Of the fifteen House of Delegate seats we won outright, ten of the winners were women. All fifteen of the Republicans who lost were men. Mostly old, all white, and much too comfortable in their reactionary ways. Richmond will never be the same, and I thank God for that.
And yes, many men came to their senses; almost half of us voted for Ralph Northam. We still have plenty of work to do, but it's a start.

2. The new generation is ready. I would venture to say that all the new Democratic winners in the House of Delegates are younger than the Republicans they replace. This is an amazing turn of events. By challenging the dinosaurs in the House of Delegates, the Democrats shone a bright light on their damaging and obstructionist votes. This election was about more than Donald Trump. It unseated men who were Trumpian before the word was even invented. It talked about education, women's reproductive rights, the environment for future generations, tolerance and diversity.

3. Who actually voted? Overall turnout increased by five percentage points, from 42.7% in the 2013 Governor's race to 47.6% in 2017. While this turnout is still a little disappointing, considering what was at stake, the details reveal some interesting facts. On the Democratic side, four demographic groups increased their turnout participation by more than 5 percentage points: College students (plus 8 points), Millennials (plus 8 points), Asian (plus 7 points), and Latino (plus 6 points). On the Republican side, only one group, high income voters in the Southwest part of the state, increased 6 percentage points. This bodes well for the future: we have many more potential votes out there!

4. Arlington stands tall once again. Arlington increased its turnout from 42.4% in 2013 to an astounding 52,3% in 2017. We were fired up, and not even a cold rain all afternoon could dampen our spirits. We did our part in delivering a margin of more than 52,000 votes to the statewide margin of 232,000. The statewide margin was even bigger than the margin for Hillary in 2016, and with fewer votes cast, and McAuliffe in 2013. Arlington cast 80.1% of its votes for Ralph Northam and only 18.9% for Ed Gillespie.

5. Thrifton and Cherrydale precincts did their part. Thrifton voters cast 70.85% of their votes for Ralph Northam, and 28,5% for Ed Gillespie. Cherrydale went 78.47% for Ralph Northam and 20.88% for Ed Gillespie. The totals do not include the absentee votes from these precincts, which are aggregated into one separate precinct. The overall absentee precinct voted 85.4 % for Ralph Northam. I am proud and happy that these two precincts added a combined margin of 1567 votes (888 from Cherrydale and 679 from Thrifton) to Ralph Northam's margin, plus a considerable number of absentee votes from our precincts.

One can only hope that the results of this election can be repeated throughout the country in the future. That a huge new pool of talented (women!) candidates will emerge to challenge the old guard. That the college voters and the millennials will embrace the political process and use it to shape their futures. That the under-represented minorities will realize the power of the ballot box in furthering their interests and maximizing their contribution to the community. That sanity and honesty and integrity will return to the political discussion.

I close by sincerely thanking each and every one of you who contributed to the victory. I know many of you canvassed, made phone calls, made donations, put signs in your yard, talked to friends, neighbors and relatives, handed out flyers, delivered papers, worked in the cold and rain on election day and did so many more things, both big and small. to make this possible.

Best wishes to all,

Jack Hastings
Thrifton Precinct Co-captain
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Americas Region Annual General Meeting: January 25-29

Americas Region Annual General Meeting

Costa Rica awaits you at the Americas Region Annual General Meeting. January is the perfect time to kick-start our "Get Out the Vote" campaign for the 2018 election, but, it is also one of the most desirable times to visit Costa Rica. Everything is still very green from the rainy season yet guaranteed warm and dry. Rooms are at a premium and hard to come by. We are grateful to our friends at the Hotel Bougainvillea for holding a block of rooms for us and offering them at a reduced rate. However, this offer expires November 30th. Time is running out.

Make your reservation today – January 25 – January 29th Americas AGM 2018.

Please find attached:

• Hotel Bougainvillea reservation form. Credit card is required to hold your room but not charged until you arrive. Please note that providing you stay at least two nights between January 25th & the 29th, then any days before or after will be at same favorable rate. Please return this form to us and we will turn them in all together to the Hotel Bougainvillea so that there will be no confusion or mix-ups.

Registration form. Please fill this out so we have your contact information, your preferred housing choices, your arrival times and dates and any special requirements.

• Tour information form. Please note that the venue is in the center of the country in what is called a high tropical zone at 4000 feet. We are not near the beaches or the hot springs. Both worth a visit. Let us know if you want to take advantage while you’re here to see more of Costa Rica and we’ll gladly help you.

  • Costs for CR Visit: Donation for meeting - contribution towards the meeting rooms rental, A/V equipment, printing and supplies. Activity charges are listed individually. Meeting donations and activity costs are payable to DACR by cash in person or via PayPal.

Agenda -Copy of flyer

PLEASE PRINT OUT FORM(S), FILL THEM IN, SCAN OR TAKE A PICTURE OF THEM AND RETURN THEM, OR OPEN THEM IN MS WORD, ENABLE EDITING AND FILL IN YOUR INFORMATION. APOLOGIES, WE DID NOT HAVE TIME TO GENERATE SPECIAL FORMS.

•PLEASE CONTACT FOR ANY QUESTIONS

Kathy Rothschild

•DemocratsAbroadCostaRica@gmail.com

•USA number 212-222-7745

•CR number +506-2244-2247

Remember, we plan on having exciting speakers and meaningful workshops so that everyone can have a great time and take back a lot of useful information to their Country Committees and Chapters. Flyer is attached again to entice you. Whether you are a member or leader of a Country Committee, a member at large or a member of a new group in formation there is so much to see and learn at our upcoming meeting. We are urging to attend. We are so looking forward to seeing all of you.

Jody Quinnell, RVC Americas Region

Kathy Rothschild, Deputy RVC, Americas Region and Chair of DA Costa Rica

Democrats Abroad

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ELECTION RESULTS: JULIA BRYAN

I thought you might find the following list of wins handy (and delightful too). Thank you for all the work you have done this year to help make this happen. Special thanks to our GOTV team, led by Heidi Burch and Eileen Weinburg, for all the time they have spent organizing phone banking, sending out detailed emails to special election voters, energizing volunteers and more. Many thanks to the phone bankers who have made these calls, and many thanks to the communications team who have helped get the message out as well You all are getting the job done and proving to the world that we are going to rock 2018!

  All the best,

Julia Bryan

International Chair, Democrats Abroad

Virginia

Ralph Northam is the governor-elect, Justin Fairfax is lieutenant governor-elect, and Mark Herring was re-elected attorney general.

Democrats flipped at least 14* House of Delegate seats including:

· Jennifer Carroll Foy (HD-02)

· Wendy Goodits (HD-10)

· Chris Hurst (HD-12)

· Danica Roem (HD-13)

· Kelly Fowler (HD-21)

· Elizabeth Guzman (HD-31)

· David Reid (HD-32)

· Kathy Tran (HD-42)

· Lee Carter (HD-50)

· Hala Ayala (HD-51)

· Karrie Delaney (HD-67)

· Dawn Adams (HD-68)

· Schuyler VanValkenberg (HD-72)

· Deborah Rodman (HD-73)

* No party has picked up more than 7 seats in a single House of Delegates election since 2001.

New Jersey

Democrats flipped the governor’s seat from red to blue by electing Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver. Vin Gopal flipped New Jersey’s 11th Senate District from red to blue. New Jersey became the 7th state in the US where Democrats control both legislative and executive branches.

North Carolina

Democrats flipped 2 mayoral seats by electing Vi Lyles in Charlotte and Mitch Colvin in Fayetteville. Vi Lyles is the first-ever African American woman to be elected mayor of Charlotte, while Mitch used his strong ties to the community to flip the Fayetteville mayoral seat from red to blue.

New Hampshire

Democrats flipped the Manchester mayoral seat by electing Joyce Craig. Joyce is the first woman to ever serve as mayor of Manchester. Democrats flipped one seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives by electing Erika Connors to the Hillsborough County District 15 and held the Sullivan County District 1 by electing Brian Sullivan. In total, Democrats have now flipped six seats in New Hampshire from red to blue in 2017

Florida

Democrats re-elected Mayor Rick Kriseman to be the mayor of St. Petersburg.

Massachusetts

Democrats re-elected Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. New York Democrats re-elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Georgia

Democrats flipped two House districts by electing Deborah Gonzalez (HD-117) and Jonathan Wallace (HD-119).

Michigan

Democrats held Michigan’s 109th House District by electing Sara Cambensy.

Washington

Manka Dhingra's resounding victory in the Washington 45th state senate race successfully flipped control of the Washington State Senate to the Democrats.

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MOVIE NIGHT: Friday, November 17: Megan Leavey

They're not even dogs anymore. They're warriors, and they come back with all the same issues we do.

Megan Leavey

Based on the true life story of a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.

2017, 1hr 56min, PG13

Q20 Suggested Donation

Bring Your Own Drinks / Some Drinks Will Be For Sale

Popcorn Available at Q5 per Bag

Friday, November 17, 2017

The movie starts promptly at 6:30pm

Casa Convento Concepción 4a Calle Oriente #41

Open to Members of DAGT and Guests

Discussion Group Following the Movie

BRING YOUR OWN TISSUES - THIS MOVIE WILL MAKE YOU CRY

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Get Ready for the 2018 Elections! Join Us for Phonebanking and Voter Registration Training

Would you like to learn more about Phonebanking and Voter Registration to Get Out the Vote (GOTV) for the 2018 Elections?

We’ve set up an initial round of live Webex training sessions for DA volunteers interested in Phonebanking and helping with Voter Registration. These sessions are optional--sign up if you would like some more guidance for your GOTV efforts.

Phonebanking training is for anyone who wants additional support to set up a CallHub account and to get started with phonebanking. Voter Registration training will discuss best practices for setting up Voter Registration events and how to help overseas voters register to vote and request their ballots.

If you would like to sign up for Phonebanking and/or Voter Registration Training, please fill out this form: GOTV TRAINING - LIVE WEBEX SESSIONS

We have scheduled several sessions to allow DA volunteers in different parts of the world to access the training. Pick the one that is most convenient for you!

Scheduled dates and times are: [All times are Eastern Time (Washington, DC); Please convert to your time zone] :

•Phonebanking: Friday November 10 at 7pm ET

•Phonebanking: Saturday, November 11 at 9am ET

•Phonebanking: Thursday November 16 at 2pm ET

•Voter Registration: Thursday, November 9 at 1pm ET

•Voter Registration: Tuesday, November 14 at 3am ET

•Voter Registration: Wednesday, November 15 at 9am ET

If you have any questions, please email us at: gotv@democratsabroad.org

Democratically yours,

Heidi Burch and Eileen Weinberg, Co-Chairs Democrats Abroad GOTV Team

DA Voter Information Team http://www.democratsabroad.org/

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DNC General Meeting: Las Vegas Recap

Dear DNC Member,

It was wonderful to be with so many of you in Las Vegas for our fall DNC meeting. I left the meeting inspired and energized and am looking forward to working with all of you to strengthen our party as we work to achieve victories up and down the ballot in 2017, 2018, and beyond.

As I have started doing after all of our DNC meetings, we’ll be sharing a report of what happened so you as a member can know and can share it with your constituents. It was an action-packed week, where we came together for two General Sessions, an Executive Committee Meeting, four Standing Committee meetings, and a cumulative 18 Caucus and Council meetings!

Here are some updates about things that happened during the meeting:

General Sessions

During Thursday’s General Session for DNC members, Chair Tom Perez and CEO Jess O’Connell walked through the new DNC, highlighting our renewed focus on modernizing, organizing, rebuilding, and winning. Members heard from new senior leadership, including Political & Organizing Director Amanda Brown Liermann, CTO Raffi Krikorian and CMO Caitlin Mitchell. Chair Perez and team walked through a presentation detailing the new DNC. You can find a version of it here.

  In addition, during Thursday’s session, a town hall was held that allowed members to ask questions of the Chair and the other officers. Topics ranged from organizing priorities, to how we are engaging millennials, to what investments are being made today in state parties. It was an informative discussion.

 During Saturday’s General Session, we heard remarks from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto who talked about how they won in Nevada in 2016. She talked about how we cannot rely on anger and needing to focus on working families. We also were joined by former Senator Harry Reid. Our keynote speaker was former Attorney General Eric Holder who highlighted the fight against gerrymandering and next steps.

In addition to hearing from these speakers, we watched several inspiring videos. One was created by our Digital shop that talks about the new DNC. The other was a video highlighting Doug Jones in Alabama. We also were joined by video from Phil Murphy, candidate for governor in New Jersey, as well as via Skype by Tim Kaine and Justin Fairfax talking about the races in Virginia.

During the Saturday general session, the members approved the Chair’s slate of 75 at-large members, as well as standing committee appointments, by acclamation. The DNC considered several reports from our Standing Committees.

Those reports included:

Resolutions Committee Report The Resolutions Committee considered a number of resolutions submitted by members, which were a combination of messaging and commemorative resolutions. Among the Resolutions adopted by the DNC were resolutions highlighting the DNC’s commitment to hurricane relief for Texas, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and fire relief for California wildfires, opposing the Trump Muslim Ban, and outlining the DNC’s new mission. Commemorative resolutions recognized committed Democrats who had recently passed away, including former DNC LGBT Caucus Chair Rick Stafford and Bob Farmer.

  In addition, the Executive Committee considered and adopted three timely and urgent resolutions, one on the Las Vegas massacre and the other two being commemorative.

A packet of the final resolutions, as approved by the DNC, is available by clicking this link.

  Credentials Committee Report

The DNC Credentials Committee met on Friday afternoon to hear updates on two challenges presently before the Committee.

Rules & Bylaws Committee Report

Rules & Bylaws Committee Chair Jim Roosevelt reported out on the meeting of the RBC held on Thursday morning. The RBC adopted a revised charter amendment that deals with the gender balance of DNC officers. It was put forward to the body for a vote and adopted.

It was also shared that Chair Perez introduced a charter amendment adding the DNC Secretary and the President of the ASDC as automatic members of the Rules & Bylalws Committee.

In addition, Chair Perez provided a brief report on the exciting work of the Unity Reform Commission. The Commission has held four meetings since being appointed and have had informative and productive discussions on the various topics covered in the mandate. The Commission is required to issue its report and recommendations to the Rules and Bylaws Committee by January 1, 2018. Please find an update from Chair and Vice Chair Jen O'Malley Dillon and Larry Cohen here.

Transition Advisory Committee Report

Reverend Leah Daughtry, one of the co-chairs for the DNC’s Transition Advisory Committee, shared updates on the Committee’s work and highlighted the focus areas that were discussed.

Caucus and Council Chair Elections

Throughout the DNC meeting, each of our regional caucuses, as well as our constituency caucuses and councils, held elections for leadership positions. We are excited to have such a diverse slate of individuals who ran and were elected.

Those Chairs that were elected were:

Black Caucus: Virgie Rollins

AAPI Caucus: Bel Leong-Hong

Women's Caucus: Lottie Shackelford

LGBT Caucus: Earl Fowlkes

Hispanic Caucus: Iris Martinez

Midwestern Caucus: Ron Harris

Eastern Caucus: Nancy DiNardo

Southern Caucus: Alan Clendenin

Western Caucus: Jesse Durfee

Youth Council: Akilah Ensley

Rural Council: Betty Richie

Disability Council: Tony Coelho

Native American Council: Rion Ramirez

Small Business Council: Andrew Lachman

Seniors Council: Steve Regenstreif

Vets & Military Families Council: Thomas McDermott & Christine Pelosi

Labor Council: Maria Elena Durazo

I was inspired by our Fall Meeting and am looking forward to working and communicating with each and every one of you in the weeks, months, and years ahead, as we work to rebuild, modernize, organize and win.

Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

  Yours,

Jason Rae

Secretary

Democratic National Committee

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From Julia Bryan:

Just a quick note regarding the ongoing Mueller investigation, today’s news on Paul Manafort, and communications.

DNC Chair Tom Perez has issued the following statement:

  “The Chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign and his deputy have been charged with conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, and making false statements – all related to their work to promote a pro-Putin regime. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates ran Trump’s campaign and continued to be a part of his inner circle after Election Day. This underscores the seriousness of the investigation into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. It’s time for Republicans to commit to protecting this investigation and preserving the rule of law.”

We agree. We also know that many unknowns remain. We do not want to promote unconfirmed rumors that may be circulating on social media or even in the more questionable “news” sources. We do not need to promote speculations and hypotheticals, but instead reinforce that the purpose of having a special investigator is to find the facts. We, as well as every other US citizen, deserve to know who did what, who knew what when, and who specifically was involved and complicit within the Trump campaign related to any illegal activities. That’s exactly what Mueller’s team is doing, and we’re starting to see the first of those ramifications today.

Of course, we’re very much against anyone getting in the way of the investigation. If Trump, Sessions or others start to take swift dramatic action in response to Mueller, then so will we. Now is just a good a time as ever to review your action plan to ensure your CC is prepared to quickly mobilize members if the time comes. Here's a guidance document for putting together a march or a rally.

In the meantime, we need Dem governors in NJ, Virginia; we need to do everything we can to win the other special elections this year; and we need to use this homestretch of 2017 elections to prep our volunteers so they’re ready to get out the largest Americans abroad turnout in a midterm, ever, in 2018.

We all believe this is an incredibly serious issue and we stand poised to act. Thank you for your attention to the subject, and also to your tremendous efforts on the crucial (and in many ways more difficult) work of getting out the vote. As always, I welcome your feedback and am happy to discuss further.

Democratically yours,

Julia Bryan

International Chair

Democrats Abroad

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From Julia Bryan:

Hello from Nevada!

The DNC fall meeting is just over and we are already working on what comes next. But first a recap:

If you’re wondering about the state of the DNC let me tell you – the new DNC is up and running and in full motion forward. New is the byword in all conversation, and work across all zip codes (even abroad) is too. National has studied the game video, taken notes and are rolling out their game strategy with no holds barred to get out the vote and win.

That’s the summary for anyone with thirty seconds. Now for the details!

We kicked off the week with state chairs and executive director workshop meetings on Wednesday. The meetings were invaluable for getting to know state leaders, hearing their approaches and sharing our own. I attended the workshop for state chairs and vice chairs while ​Adrianne George and Ken Sherman helped make sure DA was represented in the executive director meeting.

The Unity Reform Commission also met Wednesday - Connie Borde, Martha McDevitt Pugh​, Adrianne George,​ and Katie Solon represented us and will be sharing their notes later this week.

In the Association of State Chairs general meeting that evening, Democrats Abroad was honored to get a shout out of thanks for our work on Resistance Summer by DNC deputy Chair Keith Ellison.

Thursday I attended the state chairs’ IT committee meeting and shared some of our best practices and major tech asks with the group. It’s a privilege to be a member of that committee and I’m delighted that DA has been added to it!

Thanks to the advocacy of Liz Jaff I was able to meet with DNC CTO Raffi Krikorian, who is very interested in our data project and has pledged to help us meet our goal of gathering all fifty States absentee presidential voter data and matching it with more robust contact information.

During the week I met with DNC CEO Jess O’Connell and Advisor to the Chair Will Hailer to discuss our strategy for 2018 and the funding opportunities needed to fulfill that strategy. We will be able to submit a formal grant request on November 1 and we have already sent in a draft of the grant to their team for consideration.

States are organized by four regions within the DNC, and our DNC team is, uniquely, a part of each region. During Thursday’s regional caucus meetings we were each able to let our region know about our efforts this summer and next year through our state report.

Friday morning we all attended the resolutions committee meeting in support of our resolution. The committee tabled it for further consideration at the next meeting in the early spring.

The day was packed with caucus meetings and the team split up to attend as many meetings as possible. By the end of the day, Martha McDevitt-Pugh had won a seat on the board of the Women’s Caucus and Orlando Vidal on the board of the Hispanic Caucus.

We are happy to announce that we found generous support for our efforts to make sure the Veterans hot line works abroad. South Carolina DNC member Clay Middleton has already approached Rep Jim Clyburn about the issue, and the Mississippi state vice chair has vowed to work with the VA on the problem too. As well, Adrianne George and John Eastwood’s advocacy led the Veterans Council to pass a motion regarding the issue.

Anyone who got to meet Liz Jaff during her visit with us this fall will not be surprised to hear that her pitch-a-thons were tremendous successes. State parties are excited and eager to learn about new technologies - a fantastic development for our party.

During our time in Vegas we were able to speak with every member of the DNC executive committee. They are very eager to work closely with us and visit as well. Tom Perez was particularly interested in our Alabama work and asked me to make sure we push as hard as we can on getting out the vote there.

The entire DA team also had the opportunity to meet with Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and let her know about our efforts.

I’m excited to note that our first visitor post meeting will be Larry Cohen, chair of Our Revolution, who kindly agreed to meet with DAG France next week at an event hosted by Connie Borde.

The general meeting on Saturday was inspiring as we heard Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Harry Reid and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto give rousing speeches. ​Sen. Tim Caine and Ralph ​​Northam, ​the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia,​​ joined remotely.​ ​Tom Perez capped off the meeting with a fantastic call to action for this fall’s elections (particularly the Alabama senate race) and a last take away focused on the goals and direction of the new DNC.

Saturday was also Ken Sherman’s birthday and we were delighted to wish him many happy returns before we parted to begin making the long trip home.

Tremendous thanks to the team for the time spent together and the work that everyone did making sure the hundreds of DNC members knew Democrats Abroad, our value and what we can do to help them in their election efforts.

Any questions, let me know! I’ll be back online on Tuesday (just boarding to fly home now :-).

Best, Julia

Julia Bryan

International Chair Democrats Abroad

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ExCom Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Letty Manne’s house/Via Skype

Attendance: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Annie Vanderboom, Member at Large; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Letty Manne, Consul; and via Skype: Rachael Shenyo, Occidente MeetUp Group Deputy Chair.

Call to Order - 5:35 pm

The agenda and minutes of the previous EXCOM meeting September 6th were approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report:

Our Net Worth stands at Q710.40 of which Q310 is a credit at the Revue. So far this year, we generated revenue of Q2,798 from showing seven movies. After paying for space rental and the popcorn lady we’ve netted Q2,023 well on our way to covering the Q3,800 cost of the projector. Now that we have more than Q500 in cash the Treasurer proposed reimbursing John Chudy the remaining Q100 owed to him for purchase of food and fireworks for the July 4th sundowner. The ExCom agreed and John was paid. The report was accepted unanimously.

Events for 2017:

Film Series:

Fog of War was shown on August 25. It was reasonably well attended and we made money selling wine and popcorn.

Before the Flood was shown on September 22. Attendance was 15.

We netted Q255 after paying Q50 for rental for CCC and Q50 to Azucena for making popcorn.

Argo was shown on October 13. Eight attended. Our net was Q185.

Megan Leavey, a true story about a young marine and her bond with her military combat dog, will be shown at CCC on November 17 at 6:30pm.

Christmas Vacation will be shown at CCC on December 15 at 6:30pm.

Fund Raisers:

Beginning January 20 DAGT will begin our Anti Inaugural Anniversary fund raising drive. John will be working on the wording of the email that will be sent out. Members can donate through PayPal or perhaps another like Stripe.com. John and Kee will discuss the best option. We will offer prizes for donations of over $25: a women’s caucus 2018 calendar or a cap embroidered with Lo siento por el imbécil. In the Skype chat box, Rachael wrote that she can obtain hats with the language embroidered for Q240 per dozen, or stamped for Q180. John will purchase the calendars and donate them to DAGT, provided they arrive in time. The donation drive will last until February 20. The funds we bring in are absolutely necessary to pay for our Get Out the Vote efforts for the 2018 midterm elections.

The calendars and the caps will also be sold at all of our events.

DAGT Policy Retreat:

To kick off our fundraising month we will be having a one day retreat in Antigua. This will take place on January 20th. Kee will be looking for the perfect venue which will be announced. The event will be organized around 4 or 5 issues that frustrate and concern Democrats. We will have a presenter for each. Each presentation of about 15 to 20 minutes will be followed by discussion for about 45 minutes. The issues thus far are: Achieving Universal Health Care, The Democratic Party leftist economic romanticism and Identity Politics, Immigration, Russia and US Elections, Key 2018 House and Senate Races. We need volunteers to select and present one of these topics or another of interest. John sent out a separate email providing more details and volunteered to lead the discussion on Universal Health Care and the Democratic Party.

The next meeting will take place at 5:30 pm on November 29. The venue has not been decided. This meeting, like all of our meetings, is open to all members.

Travel Notes:

Lyn and Tom will be gone from December 16 to January 6. John will be gone from October 31 to November 22 and from December 6 to 30. Dave will be gone from November 22 to December 24. Letty will be gone from November 28 to December 14. Annie will be gone from December 20 to January 7.

Adjourned: 6:48 pm.

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FVAP Releases Improved Absentee Voting Forms

In preparation for the 2018 election cycle, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) updated the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens may use the FPCA to register to vote, request absentee ballots, and update contact information. If they do not receive their requested absentee ballot from their State, they can vote using the FWAB as a backup ballot.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) requires FVAP to prescribe both standard forms, which are accepted by all States and territories in elections for federal office. Both forms require review and public comment every three years. The forms are available at FVAP.gov, and through an online assistant for completing them. While voters also have the option of using other types of absentee ballot request forms, these forms may not grant the same protections that UOCAVA ensures, such as the option to receive their blank ballot electronically and the requirement for election offices to send ballots to voters at least 45 days before elections for federal office.

To develop the new forms, FVAP leveraged an iterative process of expert design input, information gathering and testing with election officials, voters, and other stakeholders. Thanks to these efforts and the feedback received during public comment periods through the Federal Register, the forms have been improved with easier-to-understand instructions and visual cues, including larger text and color, to simplify form completion and clarify the submission process.

“This was by no means a solitary effort - the improved forms are products of stakeholder collaboration, usability testing, and valuable input from the public. I thank everyone who took the time to provide insight, and I hope you can see your efforts reflected in the updated forms,” FVAP Director David Beirne said. “These forms represent the latest example of FVAP’s dedication to continuous process improvement and applied research to increase the opportunity for our military, their families, and overseas citizens to successfully cast an absentee ballot.”

FVAP recommends voters submit a new FPCA in January of every year and each time they move, and to use the FWAB if they haven’t received their ballot from their State in time to return it by the election deadline.

•The FPCA and FWAB can be completed using an online assistant (fvap.gov/military-voter/registration-ballots)

•Download the fillable FPCA (fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fpca.pdf)

•Download the fillable FWAB (fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fwab.pdf)

Summary of Changes

•Updated section headings that reflect intuitive descriptions to help the voter complete the forms (i.e., “classification” changed to “Who are you?”; “voting residence address” changed to “What is your address in the State or territory where you are registering to vote or requesting a ballot?”).

•Removed Witness Signature box. On the FPCA, no State requires a witness; on the FWAB, the “additional information” section is used for the four States requiring witness signature(s).

•Added list of States that require additional information. This change was based on usability findings that showed voters do not look up State-specific information unless directed to do so.

•Removed the request for Race, as it is not a UOCAVA requirement.

•Simplified the choice for blank ballot receipt transmission by changing the rank-order preference to checkboxes; test groups found the ranking option confusing.

•Implemented visual cues, including larger text and color, to simplify form completion and clarify the submission process.

•Redesigned the printed FWAB structure to eliminate the Security Envelope. The ballot portion folds in half and seals using self-adhesive strips.

Important Information for Voting Assistance Officers

Voting Assistance Officers should send voters to FVAP.gov whenever possible to use the online assistant or access the fillable-PDF forms. Hardcopy forms will NOT be available until later this year. Please wait until you receive additional guidance to order the hardcopy forms through your proper Service channels.

Please update your communications and materials with links to the new forms (as applicable).

Do not distribute old versions of the forms to voters; however, if a voter has obtained an older form, he or she may still use it, based on current State requirements and contact information.

Overseas citizen groups should encourage voters to use the online assistant, but can contact FVAP directly to acquire hardcopy forms later this year.

Important Information for Election Officials

Election officials should begin accepting the new forms while continuing to accept previous editions of the forms. While the forms include the statement, “Previous editions are obsolete,” it is in reference to Federal printing requirements through the General Services Administration (GSA) only and not related to voter use, or election official processing, of the forms.

Please update your communications and materials with links to the new forms (as applicable).

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Federal Voting Assistance Program

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is a Department of Defense (DoD) organization that works to ensure Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so — from anywhere in the world.

FVAP assists voters through partnerships with the Military Services, Department of State, Department of Justice, and election officials from 50 States, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. State and local governments administer U.S. elections, including those for federal offices. FVAP supports State and local election officials by providing absentee voting information, materials, training and guidance.

Voters can contact FVAP’s call center at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email (vote@fvap.gov).

Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP.gov.

Find FVAP on Facebook at (facebook.com/DoDFVAP) and Twitter (twitter.com/fvap).


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