At-Large Rep , GOTV Chair

  • American Revolutionary - Filmscreening and Discussion About Grace Lee Boggs

    In honor of Black History Month, the AAPI Caucus will watch American Revolutionary, which is a documentary about the life of social activist Grace Lee Boggs. She was a Chinese-American who was active in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement, particularly in Detroit.

    Following the documentary, we will discuss the role of Boggs in the Civil Rights movement and brainstorm ways to continue her legacy in our work today. 

    Participants can either watch the documentary before the event on YouTube or join us to watch it together. The discussion will begin around 8:30pm CET.

    Please RSVP to receive the log-in information for Zoom.

    Vancouver, Canada 10am PST
    Washington, D.C. 1pm EST
    London, UK 6pm BST
    Berlin, Germany 7pm CET
    Beijing, China 2am CST (Friday, Feb. 12)
    Seoul, South Korea 3am KST (Friday, Feb. 12)
    WHEN
    February 11, 2021 at 7pm
    WHERE
    Zoom
    Online
    Germany
    Google map and directions
    8 rsvps rsvp

  • DAGR Executive Committee Candidates and their Statements

    In accordance with DAGR Bylaws, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held each year in the first quarter (by 31 March) but in an election year the deadline is January 31st.  In the odd-numbered years, DAGR elects officers for the coming 2-year term.

    This year’s AGM and Election is scheduled online through ZOOM on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, 6pm. RSVP here

    ELECTIONS

    Elections will be conducted by google form from Friday, January 8, 2021, 9am until Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, 4pm.  Members will receive ballots processing instructions on Friday, January 8th

    DEMOCRATS ABROAD GREECE – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) & ELECTIONS

    Agenda:

    6pm to 6:10pm         Connect online via ZOOM platform

    6:10pm to 6:45pm     Short business meeting and Committee presentations

    Minutes of 2020 AGM

    Treasurer’s Report

    Chair’s Report

    Committee Reports

    Elections                      NEC announces and certifies results of election

    6:45pm                       Live streaming of the 59th US Presidential Inauguration

    THE NOMINATIONS AND VOTING PROCESS

    The Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) was appointed by the Chair and approved by Excom, on December 3, 2020. The NEC solicited nominations, collected candidate statements, will send out ballots, conduct the Election Meeting and tally the ballots.

    Nominations are now closed; the deadline for candidacy submission was December 21, 2020. However, the ballot will allow for a write in candidate. The complete ballot will be sent out Friday, January 8th, 12 days before the AGM. Members will have until 4pm on Wednesday, January 20th to submit their ballot.

    Full instructions for marking and returning ballots will accompany the ballot link on January 8th.

    To vote, each person must be a member of Dems Abroad when their ballot is submitted. Democratic Party rules require all elections to be open to inspection by members so, for verification, ballots must be signed by the member/voter.

    Detailed regulations can be found in the DAGR Bylaws and in the DPCA Country Committee Election Procedures. Both documents can be read on the Dems Abroad wiki at https://wiki.democratsabroad.orgdisplay/home/

    The list of nominated candidates and their personal statements are below.

    2021 Nominations

    Chair:                                                           Stacey Harris-Papaioannou (incumbent)     

    Vice Chair:                                                Theodore Milonas    

    Secretary:                                                 Karen Lee     

    Treasurer:                                                 Nick Loisos (incumbent)     

    Counsel:                                                    John Brady Kiesling 

    At-Large:                                                   Sarajane Kidd Leone

    At-Large:                                                   Rebecca Lieb

    ONLY ATHENS VOTERS

    Athens Chapter Chair:                                   Marion A. Kavallieros     

    Athens Chapter Representative:            Richard L. Jackson

       Peter Vamvakas

    ONLY THESSALONIKI VOTERS

    Thessaloniki Chapter Chair:                           Randall Warner

    Thessaloniki Chapter Representative:     Peter Baiter 

    Questions or concerns should be addressed to the Nominations Chair, Nikki Fellouris at electionsdagr@gmail.com/ 693 661 8493

    The Nominations and Elections Committee:
    Nikki Fellouris, Chair
    Anna Haughton
    Daniel Roberts

    2021 DAGR Executive Committee Nominated Candidates

       Chair: Stacey Harris-Papaioannou (incumbent) 

    I have been a resident of Greece for 37 years. I was raised in suburban Chicago but now am a Florida voter, as my second home was always the sunshine state. A registered Democrat and regular absentee voter, I became more passionate in 2000 thanks to a pivotal loss and the beginning of my hateful relationship for the Electoral College. Since then, I relentlessly communicate with expats, particularly in Greece but around the globe about how to get registered, to exercise their rights as US voters. I began writing articles for DAGR’s now defunct monthly newsletter and have followed up since by assisting with communications. I served as one of the administrators on DAGR’s social media as well as preparing articles and serving as Media Liaison for DAGR. I regularly attended EXCOM web meetings for the last several years, in order to promote events and assist the EXCOM team wherever I can be useful. I have served as Country Chair since November 2019. In the past 14 months, I have accrued experience and a skills set to expand DAGR’s reach with other overseas Americans in Greece, focused on finances by insisting on a fiscally able organization and offering outreach with programming to our members during the pandemic that has been both safe and engaging.  And although I am based in Mykonos, when we could travel freely, I found myself in Athens almost every fortnight. With the onset of the pandemic we have learned, thanks to online forums and tools, that our physical proximity is neither a barrier nor a border, in participating actively in an organization. 

    After 4 years of watching rule of law and democracy come under attack, by the very people who swore an oath to protect and uphold it, my priority is preserving liberty and justice in the US, so it permeates across the globe.  As Democrats it is our responsibility to be engaged influencers by being informed voters.

       Vice Chair: Theodore Milonas   

    My name is Theodore Milonas and my voting state is Massachusetts. During the last term, I served in the position of Athens Chapter Chair, DAGR. Through these turbulent times, great effort was placed to ensure Greek Americans living in Greece do vote in the 2020 elections, making a difference. We are celebrating a great win! I am now candidating for the position of Vice Chair, DAGR, aiming to work collaboratively with the Chair of DAGR, the ExCom and our volunteers in strengthening our local community, as only through united and collaborative action we can have a positive impact on both USA political developments and our community here in Greece.

    Regarding my professional background, I am an economist who returned to Greece in 2018 after five year of working and studying abroad (in Switzerland, UK and Hong Kong). For each step of the way, you can check my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/theodoremilonas/.

    Regarding my early DAGR steps, I joined DA Greece in 2013, right after my involvement in the Obama 2012 re-election campaign, when I moved to Lynchburg to help in winning the Presidential and Senate race for the State of Virginia. My role as a Deputy Field Organizer was to recruit, train and lead a team of circa 30 volunteers in a door-to-door and phone calling campaign, primarily in African American neighborhoods, to ensure that all Democrat voters are a) informed about the upcoming elections and b) that they do actually go and vote. The critical drive for me in actively supporting the campaign was to help all citizens in the USA to have access to proper healthcare irrespective of their work and insurance status. 

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  • published ELECTORAL COLLEGE GRADUATION in News 2020-12-13 09:18:02 -0500

    ELECTORAL COLLEGE GRADUATION

    The Electoral College is a body of electors established by Article II of the United States Constitution and refined by the 12th Amendment. Although ‘electors’ are mentioned in both the Article and the Amendment, the term ‘electoral college’ is not used in either. However, because the process is in the original Constitution, it can only be removed or changed by amendment.

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  • published Electoral College in the Crosshairs in News 2020-11-24 12:25:11 -0500

    Electoral College in the Crosshairs

    Electoral College “Graduation Celebration”
    Dec 15, 8 p.m.
    RSVP for Zoom Link

    The Electoral College votes on Dec 14, putting the official stamp to the election of the President and Vice President of the USA. Having won the popular vote across the country, and among Americans abroad, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris still had to pass a long, drawn-out campaign of opposition lies and lawsuits to certify the vote in “key states” so elevated by the archaic Electoral College mechanism.

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  • published Final Stretch: We’re Not Done Yet! in News 2020-10-23 15:03:42 -0400

    Final Stretch: We’re Not Done Yet!

    Most of us abroad have voted, and deadlines are closing in for the rest. Calling campaigns are winding down and plans for a global Election Watch party are about to be announced.

    And a few of us have missed their deadline, missed the 2020 Good Ship Biden! But there’s still a lot ALL of us can do!

    Stateside, the beat goes on, right up to November 3 and after. So, if you’re feeling anxious about the results, check some of these opportunities.

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  • A Ballot for Biden is Best for Greece and Best for the US

    RSVP to leave your questions and receive Zoom link Thursday afternoon.

    Prospects for sustainable peace in the region under a Biden presidency will be the focus when foreign policy veterans and experts from the Biden campaign meet in an online webinar.

    Thursday, October 8th
    9 to 10:30 pm
    On Zoom

    The public is invited along with members and friends of Democrats Abroad Greece. 

    Speakers include John McCarthy, Deputy Political Director for Joe Biden 2020, retired U.S. Ambassador Thomas Miller and retired Greek Ambassador Dimitrios Tsikouris. They will be joined by Bonnie Miller and DA Regional Vice Chair for EMEA region, Will Bakker. The discussion, with a question and answer session following, will focus on how Vice President Biden’s diplomacy can best serve US-Greek relations and lighten regional tensions.

    The webinar is organized by Biden supporters in Greece with organizational support from Democrats Abroad Greece, Greek Women for Biden and Greek Americans for Biden/Harris  It is further endorsed by Greek Americans for Biden and the Ethnic Caucus for the DC Democratic State Committee.

    RSVP for “A Ballot for Biden is Best for Greece and Best for the US” to present your questions and receive a link to connect to the webinar. The Zoom link will be sent to attendees by email on Thursday, October 8th after 5 pm.

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  • published 1st Presidential Debate Watch in News 2020-09-27 17:04:36 -0400

    1st Presidential Debate Watch

    Debating Democracy
    Biden/Trump duke it out!
    Wednesday - September 30 - 8 pm
    Zoom online

    We may not be able to come together in person, in order to remain safe and healthy, thanks to Covid, but we can certainly gather online!

    Please join us on September 30th, beginning at 8 pm via a ZOOM Meeting, to watch the first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

    It will air live in the US at 3 am Greek time (that’s Tuesday night, wee hours). We will stream it on Wednesday evening, during our ZOOM meeting, beginning at 8 pm. Once completed, we’ll follow up with dialogue about the issues addressed.

    You can also submit general questions or concerns about absentee voting. We will address those items following the Debate watch.

    Please fill in the RSVP for the DAGR First Presidential Debate-Dialogue via Zoom a
    You will receive a link by email on Wednesday afternoon, to join the DAGR Debate Watch and Dialogue.


  • What Is Being Done To Our Postal Service?

    My daughter was married last summer. If I'd been in The States in April she would have let me address the invitations. I am not an artist or a calligrapher. I am a sixty-something year old woman who has enormous respect for an envelope. Addressing a letter that communicates love, grief, hope, thanks, aspirations – all the panoply of human conditions – is an act of intention and importance.

    Possibly, I came to this understanding because I had difficulties in school in my early years. I was a terrible speller and most of my papers were marked down for “Sloppy” due to erasures. But that was in the 1960's and I was expected to write “Thank You” cards for birthday and Christmas presents. When I misspelled Mineappolis I had to tear up the envelope and do it again. It was a bit nerve-racking and left tragically envelope-less cards. But, then I'd get the reward of climbing in the station wagon with my dad and driving to the downtown post office to catch the late night pick-up.

    And, there was the elation of actually receiving mail. I had one, girl cousin my age and we wrote to each other. We also had pen pals at school. And there were the special days when the mail brought the “Weekly Reader” or books that we bought for 65 cents from the Scholastic Book Club.

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  • POISED TO VOTE: Got Your Crayolas and Paste?

    POISED TO VOTE: Got Your Crayolas and Paste?

    It’s Friday, folks! Shops are open tonight. And tomorrow morning. But you may have other plans. So, now is the time to make sure you’ve got everything you need for your first day at school to vote and mail your ballot back to the US!

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  • published DETAILS COUNT! Follow the instructions! in News 2020-09-15 14:03:18 -0400

    DETAILS COUNT! Follow the instructions!

    Whether you have registered for a mail-in ballot from your state, intend to submit a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) or will send in both – or even if you are voting via email – it is critical to read the instructions first before completing your ballot. No one wants a disqualified ballot!

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  • published What is an FWAB and Why Should I Care? in News 2020-09-15 13:55:24 -0400

    What is an FWAB and Why Should I Care?

     

    FWAB stands for Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. In past years, we’ve used the FWAB if we tracked our regular ballot and learned it had not arrived. For instance, if we mailed our ballot back by Oct 1st or so, and it hadn’t arrived at our county board of election by Oct 15, we might send an FWAB, possibly by express mail or courier.

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  • published A Round Tuit in News 2020-09-15 13:37:19 -0400

    A Round Tuit

    Are you registered for 2020? Have you requested your ballot?

    You’ve heard it at least 100 times! And you’ve thought, “I’m going to do that just as soon as I get around to it.” Well, Fellow Voter, this is your round tuit!

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  • published Connect with DAGR! in News 2020-09-15 13:29:31 -0400

    Connect with DAGR!

    Overrun with political emails and posts? Ready to unsubscribe from all? Wait!

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  • published Covid-19 Payments - Do not be Misled!! in News 2020-07-30 17:26:33 -0400

    Covid-19 Payments - Do not be Misled!!

    IRS Does NOT Cross-Reference US Voter Rolls

    “With great shock and amazement I read an email issued by Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter that completely misleads US Citizens living in Greece, who have struggled with the chaos and the instability the Covid-19 virus has caused in their lives,” said Chair of Democrats Abroad Greece, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou. “The letter, issued on July 24th, stated the second round of Covid-19 supplements that will go to US citizens, is being labeled by Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter “Help from TRUMP” and they IMPLY that US Government Agencies will be cross referencing voter registration rolls in the US with citizens who received the first round of deposits through the CARES Act.”

    "I am a highly active volunteer who has made it my vocation to encourage U.S. expats in Greece to exercise their right as US citizens to vote in federal elections, no matter what their party affiliation. Using scare tactics and outright disinformation to mislead fellow Americans, by tying the receipt of a supplement for Covid-19 Relief dependent upon registering to vote and framing that relief as a gift from President Trump, is outrageous" Papaioannou added.

    Both the English translation of the letter and the Greek version follow at the end.

    Democrats Abroad Greece alerted the US Embassy to the letter and today US Citizens Services sent out a notification to all registered US Citizens in Greece on how to register to vote from overseas and request their absentee ballot.

    To be clear, the Covid-19 relief (CARES Act, Economic Impact Payment (EIP)) has NOTHING to do with whether or not an American is registered to vote. Nor does it matter which party an American may be a registered member of. American voters are registered by their home county in their home state. Those of us who vote from abroad are registered in the US state/county where we last voted before moving abroad. The Federal government does NOT have a roll of registered voters!

    Assistance under the CARES Act is not a gift from Trump or the White House! It is a refund of tax money US Citizens have already paid in, and, in some cases, will be taxable income on returns we file in April 2021. To call the supplemental payment ‘Trump Help’ is ridiculous. The CARES Act was passed by the House (Democratic majority).

    The IRS (Internal Revenue Service, i.e. the US Federal tax authority) does NOT have a list of registered voters. Voting in US federal elections does not make a voter a target of the tax authority. People who vote in Federal elections are not hounded down by the IRS. States do have the list of people registered in their state and may follow up to see if the voter owes state or local taxes. But the Federal government does not.

    Likewise, registering to vote in any US state has no connection to receiving Social Security pension benefits. The IRS and the SSA are two separate government agencies.

    The letter that misleads is as follows:

    ---------- Forwarded message ---------

    From: Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter <info@republicansoverseas.gr>
    Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020, 16:51
    Subject: Second installment of TRUMP HELP
    To:

    CAUTION: For the second installment of the TRUMP HELP on the effects of the virus.
    Announcement of the Greek Branch of the U.S. Republican Party. 16th July 2020

    As is well known in the Senate, the fate of the second tranche of the TRUMP AID, which tens of thousands of residents of Greece with American citizenship have already received, or are in the process of receiving, is being discussed in the coming days.

    From the information we have from the confidential news that our party officials in Washington are sending us, the second installment will be given around October and will be aimed primarily at Low and Zero Income Americans. Like the first instalment will be given on the basis of the tax return for the years 2018 and 2019 or the declaration of non-obligation to file a tax return, better known as Free-filers which tens of thousands of American citizens, permanent residents of Greece have completed and sent according to the detailed instructions we have issued.

    The second installment of the Trump aid seems to be somewhat more targeted, according to our information, and there is a good chance that some criteria will be put in place that exclude the receiving of the aid from what we call incidental American citizens, in translation "Symptomatic American citizens", i.e. those who have nothing to do with American political or social life. The most likely criterion for American residents abroad is strongly debated to be timely registration on the electoral roll.

    From what is also being discussed, no new application will be required and cheques will be mailed to the same persons, at the same addresses, but ONLY as long as further cross-checking is made and they are found to be active voters, i.e. they have been registered for the year 2020 on the electoral roll of a US state.

    That is why we are making this announcement today, since the deadline for registration on the electoral roll is 10 August 2020, i.e. less than a month. According to our information, if you are not registered to vote in the elections, you will most likely lose the second instalment of the allowance permanently, nor will it be possible to file late applications for registration on the electoral roll.

    We are making this announcement to ensure payment to you of the second installment of the TRUMP HELP. We've already given you the link to register for the electoral roll with the instructions we sent you to get the first installment of the TRUMP HELP. https://www.usvotefoundation.org/

    We hope you will take care of it accordingly, because if you neglect to register as voters, there will be absolutely nothing we can do to help you and the second instalment money will be permanently lost to you.

    If you need any help you can call the office
    Monday to Friday
    11:00-16:00
    210 61234 44
    6909914381
    Also keep track of the group on facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/217745992983012/?ref=group_header
    to have a more direct contact and update

    This announcement will be published on all our websites to inform Greek-Americans.
    The Party's Management Committee

    The misleading email in Greek is as follows:

    ---------- Forwarded message ---------

    Από: Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter <info@republicansoverseas.gr>
    Date: Παρ, 24 Ιουλ 2020, 16:51
    Subject: Δεύτερη δόση του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP
    To:

    ΠΡΟΣΟΧΗ: Για την Δεύτερη δόση του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP για τις συνέπειες του Ιού.
    Ανακοίνωση του Ελληνικού Παραρτήματος του Ρεπουμπλικανικού Κόμματος των ΗΠΑ. 16 Ιουλίου 2020

    Όπως είναι γνωστό στην Γερουσία συζητείται τις επόμενες ημέρες η τύχη της δεύτερης δόσης του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP το οποίο δεκάδες χιλιάδες κάτοικοι της Ελλάδας με Αμερικανική υπηκοότητα έχουν ήδη λάβει, ή είναι σε διαδικασία λήψης.

    Από τις πληροφορίες που έχουμε από τα εμπιστευτικά νέα που τα κομματικά στελέχη μας στην Ουάσιγκτον μας στέλνουν, η δεύτερη δόση θα δοθεί περίπου τον Οκτώβριο και θα απευθύνεται κυρίως σε Αμερικανούς πολίτες χαμηλών και μηδενικών εισοδημάτων. Όπως και η πρώτη δόση θα δίνεται με βάση την φορολογική δήλωση των ετών 2018 και 2019 ή την δήλωση μη υποχρέωσης υποβολής φορολογικής δήλωσης, γνωστότερη ως Free-filers την οποία δεκάδες χιλιάδες Αμερικανοί πολίτες, μόνιμοι κάτοικοι Ελλάδας έχουν συμπληρώσει και στείλει σύμφωνα με τις αναλυτικές οδηγίες που έχουμε εκδώσει.

    Η δεύτερη δόση του βοηθήματος Τράμπ φαίνεται ότι θα είναι κάπως πιο στοχευμένη, σύμφωνα με τις πληροφορίες μας και υπάρχει μεγάλη πιθανότητα, έως βεβαιότητα να μπούν κάποια κριτήρια που θα αποκλείουν την λήψη του βοηθήματος από αυτό που ονομάζουμε incidental American citizens, σε μετάφραση «Συμπτωματικούς Αμερικανούς πολίτες», δηλαδή αυτούς που δεν έχουν καμία σχέση με την Αμερικανική πολιτική ή κοινωνική ζωή. Το πιθανότερο κριτήριο για τους Αμερικανούς κατοίκους του εξωτερικού συζητείται έντονα να είναι η εμπρόθεσμη εγγραφή στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους.

    Από ότι επίσης συζητείται, δεν θα χρειαστεί νέα αίτηση και οι επιταγές θα ταχυδρομηθούν στα ίδια πρόσωπα, στις ίδιες διευθύνσεις, ΜΟΝΟ όμως εφ’ όσον γίνει περαιτέρω διασταύρωση και βρεθεί ότι είναι ενεργοί ψηφοφόροι, δηλαδή έχουν εγγραφεί για το έτος 2020 στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους κάποιας Πολιτείας των ΗΠΑ.

    Για αυτόν τον λόγο, προβαίνουμε στην ανακοίνωση αυτή σήμερα, μιάς και λήγει η προθεσμία εγγραφής στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους στις 10 Αυγούστου 2020, δηλαδή σε λιγότερο από ένα μήνα. Σύμφωνα με τις πληροφορίες μας, εάν δεν έχετε εγγραφεί για να ψηφίσετε στις εκλογές, το πιθανότερο είναι ότι θα χάσετε οριστικά την δεύτερη δόση του επιδόματος, ούτε θα υπάρχει η δυνατότητα να κατατεθούν εκπρόθεσμες αιτήσεις για εγγραφή στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους.

    Προβαίνουμε σε αυτήν την ανακοίνωση για την διασφάλιση της πληρωμής προς εσάς της δεύτερης δόσης του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP. Σας έχουμε ήδη δώσει το λίνκ για την εγγραφή στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους με τις οδηγίες που σας στείλαμε για να πάρετε την πρώτη δόση του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP.Αν και θα το βρείτε και https://www.usvotefoundation.org/

    Ελπίζουμε να μεριμνήσετε αναλόγως, διότι αν αμελήσετε την εγγραφή σας ως ψηφοφόροι, δεν θα μπορέσουμε να κάνουμε απολύτως τίποτα για να σας βοηθήσουμε και θα χαθούν οριστικά τα χρήματα της δεύτερης δόσης για εσάς.

    Αν χρειάζεστε κάποια βοήθεια μπορείτε να καλείτε στο γραφείο
    Δευτέρα ως Παρασκευή
    11:00-16:00
    210 61234 44
    6909914381
    Επίσης να παρακολουθείτε την ομάδα στο facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/217745992983012/?ref=group_header


  • Dems Abroad Greece Suggests a 200th Birthday Present to the US Post Office

    Most Americans living outside the US depend on the US Post Office to deliver their ballots for US elections. But, this year, will the ballots arrive back in time to be counted?

    It’s the question that nags at a few Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) members. So, they decided to take a small, symbolic step and ask the Democratic Party to take a strong stand for absentee voting rights.

    At the global level, Democrats Abroad has been looking at solutions that include urging states to accept ballots by email attachment and fax. A few states do; most do not. And not all state legislatures, where voting practice is decided, are anxious to encourage full voting rights. Failing a secure way to transmit ballots, voters are left with trying to get them back as best they can.

    In past years, most US voters abroad sent their ballots back by regular mail or by courier if time was short. Some voters took advantage of the embassy’s diplomatic pouch. It was considered fast and secure, although not a good solution for tardy voters. The ballot still had to be mailed to their home county after the pouch arrived in DC and could arrive too late.

    US federal law sets broad rules for elections. Among these, all voters, no matter their state, are allowed to vote in federal elections, that is for President and House and Senate seats. It also requires the states to send out absentee ballots 45 days before the election. This year, they’ll be sent out on September 19. Voters who specify delivery by email or fax will get theirs the same day. Those who ask for the hard copy with return envelopes to be sent by mail used to get them within about a week. Now, arrival of the blank ballot sheet is also uncertain.

    As for returning ballots, the current view is even cloudier. Embassy “diplomatic pouches” are reputed to be taking longer. Current word has it as long as several weeks to arrive in the US (plus local mailing after entering the country), while the latest date after Election Day is 10 days for some states, and by Election Day for others.

    Mail service out of countries abroad is similarly uncertain this year, while couriers may be costly. A recent quote for an A4 standard weight envelope was €62!

    The possible failure of stateside mail in November arises from two factors. First, the US Postal Service has been underfunded for four decades and may run out of operating money this September. Second, the Covid pandemic has hit the USPS from all sides. As flights and cargo were blocked initially, mail originating overseas was delayed. Delivery of packages in the US has expanded due to phone and online ordering of supplies. But, USPS employees, initially not provided with PPE, have been infected, some 2000 quarantined by the end of April. This reduces available staff to deal with the backlog as commerce picks up.

    Worse yet, the recently appointed head of the USPS, Louis DeJoy, a person with no USPS experience but plenty in the private logistics field, has reportedly ordered mail staff to sort what they can and leave the rest for the next shift. The backlogs will, presumably, build up until a lot of mail doesn’t get delivered on time.

    The primary cause of USPS underfunding is a 1970 law (The Postal Reorganization Act) that requires its pensions to be funded 75 years into the future.  No other government agency or private business is so required. Why? A likely answer lies in a movement some 50 years old and funded by the rightwing Koch family to drive the post office into the ground and then demand its privatization.

    Against this foreshadowing of mail failure, Dems in Greece decided to do what they could, apart from signing all the online petitions. First of all, Democrats Abroad, or Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) as it’s formally known, is an official committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The voting members of DPCA are the chair, vice chair and, in larger committees, voting representatives, of each Country Committee. DAGR, a smaller country committee, has two, its chair, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou, and its vice chair, Brady Kiesling. They also lead the 11-member board (ExCom) that acts officially for DAGR.

    So, any member of DAGR can bring a matter of concern to the ExCom to act on. This time, a few members who’ve been following the mail uncertainties decided to make an official request for a resolution to start here and go straight to the top. The draft is simple:

    “Because the majority of Americans living outside the US borders depend on the US Post Office to deliver our ballots to our Local Election Officials, and because the USPS is currently underfunded to the point it may run out of operating funds in September 2020, we call on our elected officials to fully fund the USPS at least through the end of the year, so that the November 2020 general election can go forward, disenfranchising no eligible US voter. While this is crucial to those of us living abroad, it is also of vital, life-saving interest to our fellow voters inside the US, many of whom will depend on receiving and returning mail-in ballots. It is also the least we can do to provide PPE and safe working conditions for our mail processors and carriers to perform their duties without risking their lives and livelihoods.”

    The Resolution was approved in a special e-vote called last night and sent to the global DA board. They are expected to approve it in their regular meeting on Friday.  And if approved, it will be sent to the DNC. From there, it’s up to the Democratic caucus in House and Senate to put their weight behind it. Funding for the USPS is included in the HEROES Act, the second major piece of legislation passed by the US House of Representatives to deal with Covid-19. The HEROES Act, which as written provides $25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS, is currently stalled in the US Senate.

    The small, symbolic step taken in Greece is democracy in action. According to DAGR member Karen Lee, one of the 8 who put forward the proposal, “This is why we belong to DAGR. Because it’s an official part of the Democratic Party, it’s a conduit for voters’ voices to be carried straight to the DNC.”

    The resolution is timed to reach DC over the weekend, which, by no coincidence, marks 200 years of public postal service in the US. Says DAGR Chair Papaioannou, “We hope it’s a fitting 200th Birthday present to the Postal Service and a real help to American voters this November!”

    References:
    Broad information on USPS employee Covid infection/quarantine April 2020 http://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-usps-employees-test-positive-2000-in-quarantine-2020-3

    Postmaster General DeJoy http://www.newsweek.com/trump-donor-louis-dejoy-confirmed-postmaster-general-1502579

    Postal Union (APWU) statement on DeJoy directives http://www.apwu.org/news/message-members-apwu-national-executive-board-response-postmaster-general


  • published What Can One Dem Do??? in News 2020-06-27 13:48:56 -0400

    What Can One Dem Do???

    What Can One Dem Do?

    To paraphrase: “November and Trump’s a’comin’ We’re still on our own.” The Kentucky primary this week looked a lot like Georgia before it. One polling station was open for all of Louisville, and a significant number of absentee ballots requested never arrived.

    As one DAGR Issues Group member put it, “But what can WE do to make sure this doesn’t happen in November?”

    First of all, numbers make the election harder to tamper with. Democrats have the numbers. That is, we have the people who agree with us on the issues.

    We just have to get them registered and voting.

    Here’s what we can do!

    National

    • Know the enemy. No smart election thief uses one big, blatant ploy. It’s death by a thousand little cuts. If you want to know how they all fit together, check our 2016 series, here, here, and here:  
    • Urge your Senators, now, to pass the HEROES Act, with money allotted to help states set up mail-in ballots. Only 3 states regularly vote-by-mail, but most others are trying to establish it, in case there’s a second wave of pandemic in the fall.
    • Urge Congress to save the US Postal Service! For decades, conservatives have been trying to starve and privatize this institution we all depend on. Support funding to put it back on a solid financial footing and be prepared to quickly deliver mail-in ballots.

    State and Local

    Know the election law in your state.

    • Start with your state’s information on the VoteFromAbroad website. You can see if you’re registered, have been sent your ballot, had it received back, and counted. 
    • Find out who oversees election integrity. Is it your state’s Secretary of State or another official? Is that person, no matter which party, an election protector? Or are they of the Kemp (Georgia 2018) or Blackwell (Ohio 2004) ilk?
    • Look further if you want. Many university departments, e.g. law or public administration, study local elections and voting threats in their states.
    • Contact your state Democratic Party. See what they’re doing to protect the election!
    • Make contact with your county LEO (local election official), board of elections or other name. Let them know you’re watching and waiting with bated breath for your ballot. You can find their contact information on that VoteFromAbroad link above.
    • And, while you’re at it, reach out to your county Dem party. Seriously! Send them an email and ask if they need any e-help.

    There will be opportunities for us abroad to help phone bank to voters in the US. This may be via the parties, various candidates’ campaigns or interest groups. Most will use an online dialing system so you can call the US free of charge. And most will provide a ‘script’ or talking points to use.

    As Howard Dean pointed out in his June webinar with DA, we’re most effective talking to voters in our home districts. 

    • US-side, be selective. Join a call-campaign that targets your area. The stateside voter may be excited to get a call from abroad, but you’ll have even more impact when they know you share roots, issues and candidates.
    • Dems Abroad will have some calling campaigns for you to choose from later on. Once the window closes for timely voting from abroad, we shift efforts to stateside.

    Democrats Abroad (last but not least!)

    First, let’s energize our DA members and make sure they’re registered (www.votefromabroad.org) and have requested a ballot.

    In September, we’ll be calling again to make sure they have registered. As soon as ballots are sent out (Sept 19), we need to vote and return them PRONTO! There, very likely, will be mail delays and other problems in November. An early start gives time to overcome them.

    • You can help with one of the global DA campaigns using the online CallHub system, if you have a computer or laptop.
    • Or volunteer to call our members in Greece. DAGR uses landline and mobile phones. We call by zip-code area, so you get to know people closest to you. You might even arrange to get together some time. Contact GOTV chair Charity Moschopoulos (charity.rome@hotmail.com) if you haven’t already volunteered.
    • Sign up for Voter Protection news via Dems Abroad. DA volunteers are monitoring the scene in each state, particularly in regard to the potential pitfalls in voting absentee from abroad this year. For an inside look, there’s a DA voter protection webinar on Facebook.

    One last bit of advice from DA: “If someone says you can’t vote, or that you have to provide a photo ID, or register in person, know your rights (that someone is wrong)! Point to Federal voting law and make sure others know their rights, too!”

    Dems Abroad Voter Help Desk - Democrats Abroad works with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to stay informed on state voting purges and negotiates with Secretary of State offices regarding access to ballots and election sites, explains Julia Bryan. “And we provide a 24/7 help desk that runs 365 days a year, answering voting questions via email, chat channels and social media channels. If you try to access an election site and it doesn’t work, don’t assume it’s your connection,” Bryan advises. “Get in touch with Democrats Abroad and let us know about the problem.”(Email: gotv@democratsabroad.org)


  • published Women's March 2020 in Athens in News 2020-01-20 16:09:37 -0500

    Women's March 2020 in Athens

    The “march that became a movement” showing support for women’s equal rights across the globe converged on Syntagma Square Saturday afternoon January 18th.
    The temperature was a balmy 10 c and the main square and surrounding streets had been closed off by police 30 minutes before the program was to be presented (no thanks to a VIP making an exit from the Grande Bretagne!). But nothing could deter the Women’s March Athens 2020 and their hundred or so supporters to be there!
    In 2017 THE MARCH began as an outcry against one single misogynist but the issues that women confront around the world are comparable. Participants hope to bring true equality to our societies by raising awareness and activism-which is what THE MARCH is all about.

    Members of the Women's Caucus of Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) invited all individuals and women's groups to peacefully participate in this year's march in Athens on January 18. Equality is on the table in 2020, advocating for a society of equals across all geographic and economic borders. The voices were loud and messages strong that we will no longer tolerate or defer to a community that does not treat each of its members with equality. Hillary Clinton made the point more than 2 decades ago. Today, women struggle across the globe for autonomy over their bodies, financial equality in the work force and ultimately THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS.

         

    In its 4th year, the program on Saturday included presentations from:

    Georgia Kallis, DAGR Women’s March 2020 Chair
    Brady Kiesling, DAGR Vice Chair - A message from Democrats Abroad Greece
    Karen Lee, DAGR Fundraising Chair - A message from Margarita Papandreou
    Dr. Maria Alvanou, Criminologist, Defense Attorney
    Zefi Diamanda, Journalist, Adjunct Professor at Panteon University of Athens
    Apostolos H. Pontas, Politician-President of EDEM Union of Democratic National Reform
    Alicia Stallings - Poet presenting “Atalanta”
    Maria Misenidou
    Jai Salvador
    Las Tesis (ENGLISH) “The Rapist is You” - Las Tesis “The Rapist is You” (Greek)
    Zandile Ngubane - Mandela Gals - “Still I Rise” Maya Angelou
    Mandela Gals - Dance Performance


  • Special Elections to Fill the Vacancy for DAGR Vice-Chair

    DAGR is holding a Special Election from December 18th until January 7th 2020 to fill the vacancy on the Executive Committee of Vice-Chair. Following the death of Country Chair, Steve Medeiros on November 7th, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou, succeeded as Chair as per DAGR bylaws. That in turn created a vacancy in the position of Vice Chair. In compliance with the regulations that Chair and Vice-Chair must be sexual opposites, only males were eligible as candidates.

    As of the close of nominations on December 15th the two candidates for Country Vice-Chair are:

    The candidates for the position of VICE CHAIR DAGR are:

    • Kiesling, (John) Brady
    • Malamo, George

    The two candidates have prepared statements concerning their candidacy:

    Brady Kiesling, Candidate for Vice Chair Democrats Abroad Greece

    I appreciate the confidence shown me through this nomination to fill in as Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Greece. Steve Medeiros accepted the post of Chair out of an admirable sense of loyalty to the American citizen community of Greece. He understood, as we did not, how little time was left to him, but he also understood the urgency of the political crisis in Washington and the need for volunteers to step forward. With such an example I could not decently turn down the request for help.

    I am a writer and researcher living in Athens, and the former head of the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens. My experience in Greece dates back to 1979, when I studied at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. My current project is a free classics/archaeology app called ToposText.

    I have been active since 2004 in helping mobilize the American community in Athens in support of Democratic candidates and other worthy causes. During the 2008 elections I maintained the DA membership database; I served 2010-2013 as Secretary and have volunteered for various events and programs in recent years, including phone-banking, database upkeep, and the nominating committee.

    We owe it to Steve’s memory, as well as to our children and the world as a whole, to mobilize every American vote we can in 2020. If judged worthy of your vote, I pledge to work closely with our new Chair Stacey and the rest of the DAGR board in carrying out a successful Global Primary and Get-Out-the-Vote campaign this fall. Democrats Abroad must remain a vibrant element of the American community in Greece.

    George Malamo, Candidate for Vice Chair Democrats Abroad Greece

    I am George Malamo of Florida, and I am a proud native Floridian from Pensacola. You may recognize my name since I served as Athens Chapter Representative 2017-19 and ran again for “At Large” in January. I was not elected (due to my physical absence), but that’s politics. Unlike my opponent, I have consistently stepped up for a full term DAGR Board position in recent years and in light of Chair Steve Medeiros’ passing, I am volunteering again to serve.

    I have been a registered Democrat in Florida since 1978, it was my father’s party so it runs in the family. We both agreed on the same beliefs of the Democratic Party such as strong economic security for everyone, no one should be homeless, hungry, abused, or neglected, fair tax systems, equal rights, the free enterprise system for the working/middle class, among many more. These beliefs would probably define me as a moderate Democrat, definitely not a fire-breathing progressive. It doesn’t hurt to have a few moderate Floridians on the DAGR Board as the country’s third-largest state in population terms remains a critical electoral battleground, if not the most critical state.
    Currently, I’m serving for a third consecutive year as the President of AHEPA Chapter Solon HJ04 in Athens, with extensive contacts in the local community and senior leaders as well as Washington, while organizing events for Greek-American relations, working closely with the educational sector, and supporting the social solidarity of the Attiki region in health, welfare, and gender equality.
    My Greek is near-native fluency, which will be invaluable as we fight to win hearts and minds in the Greek-American community here, especially in the sizeable group of Greek Americans who inexplicably lean towards President Trump. If needed I can comfortably handle election-year media outreach in the community, although that is not my purpose for running.
    I am an engineer by training which I think would complement the wide array of skills and experience of the non-technical professionals already serving on the DAGR Executive Committee. I prefer focused resource management and people that know me can confirm that I am not afraid to speak up. We all know that DAGR’s financial resources have been tapped out since we started operating an expensive formal Edra in central Athens back in 2016, and I think DAGR desperately needs tighter financial management if we are ever to move ahead. I have ideas that will cut costs without limiting our projects and programs. If elected I will work to keep spending to the minimum on vanity projects and lower-priority activities so that we can keep our eye on the ball, that is electing democrats in 2020.

    I hope you will consider voting for me so we can do all that is possible here in DAGR to try to move our homeland forward in 2020.


    Only members of Democrats Abroad Greece are eligible to cast ballots for this election.  If you have not received the electronic link to the ballot or the pdf ballot, please contact electionsdagr@gmail.com.

    The DEADLINE for submitting electronic ballots is Tuesday, January 7, 2020; 23:30 (11:30 pm)

    The DEADLINE for mailing postal ballots is Thursday, January 2, 2020.

    If you encounter difficulties with the electronic link, please request the Special Election Ballot from: electionsdagr@gmail.com.

    • Please print the PDF, fill it out, sign it, scan or photograph the ballot. Send it as an email attachment to: electionsdagr@gmail.com

    • If you prefer to mail the ballot, please post it by January 2nd, 2020 so that it has reached the office by Tuesday, January 7th. Send it to:

    Democrats Abroad Greece
    23 Ilia Zervou
    Athens, GR 11144

    The Special Election Meeting to tally the votes and announce the winner will be on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 on WebEx at 7 pm. The link to the meeting will be sent out January 7th.

    Thank you in advance for making the time to vote!


  • published Debate Watch in Thessaloniki in News 2019-11-14 02:59:22 -0500

    Debate Watch in Thessaloniki


    Democrats Abroad Thessaloniki Chapter members will gather for a Debate Watch of the Democratic Party Presidential Primary Candidates in their November 2019 Debate.

    Members are encouraged to bring friends, family, colleagues, and people they know who follow U.S. Politics - and to invite Study Abroad and other students they know to join in too. We’ll watch the candidates on You Tube (the Debate will have been broadcast live from Atlanta on 20 November), voice our opinions – and order out for pizza and beer.

    When: Saturday, 23 November, 19:00 – 21:00

    Where: Democrats Abroad/Thessaloniki Chapter charter member, Mary Kosmidis, has kindly offered a space for us at: 
    Iasonidou 19, 3rd Floor. Near Kamara, between Filippou and Olympou Streets. Ring the downstairs doorbell marked Mary Kosmidis.

    Ten candidates have met the polling and donor thresholds to participate: Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.


  • published DAGR has lost a Champion in News 2019-11-09 03:04:31 -0500

    DAGR has lost a Champion

    Democrats Abroad GREECE has lost its Chair, Steve Medeiros at 63 years young.

    After a 5-year battle with prostate cancer, Steve died Thursday at home, with his husband, Tony, at his side.

    A service of remembrance and honor will be held at 11 am on Saturday, November 9 at the First Cemetery of Athens. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund in his memory is being created for the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens). Details on contributing to this will be forthcoming.

    Although Steve was not religious, it comes as no surprise that he died on the eve of the "Feast of Angels" here in Greece. Steve was truly an earth angel--an easy going, patient man, tolerant of all, a leader who always held everyone as an equal in both deed and thought.

    A nurturer by nature, Steve spent 40 years as an educator, mentor, administrator and friend to thousands of students, parents and teachers in the American Community Schools of Athens.

    Democrats Abroad enjoyed his leadership skills first as Counsel, next as Athens Chapter Chair, then Vice-Chair and as of January 2019 Chair of our Country Committee. Within DAGR he was instrumental in implementing GOTV for study abroad programs in Greece, the global primary, GOTV and LGTBQ for Greece.

    Steve was born on March 1st in 1956; he was a native of Bedford Massachusetts and eventually became an "adopted" Athenian. In discussing his life in Greece, Steve said, “I arrived in Greece in 1981, for a two-year stint as a teacher. 38 years on, I am still here! I met my future partner and husband, Dr. Anthony Rompos, in 1982. In 2013, we were married in Massachusetts; in 2016, we had our 15-minutes of fame as the first gay couple to be granted a civil partnership in Greece. Social and political changes have had a profound personal impact on our lives together. It’s a lesson I carry with me every day."

    He earned a BA from Yale, following up with a Master’s program; he continued his formal education throughout his career.

    These titles do not do justice to the giving, loving, kind human being that was Steve, but it is best we have, to draw a portrait of such a wonderful person.

    His legacy lives on in his learners - his students, his colleagues, his friends and his family.

    May he rest in peace and may his memory be eternal in our hearts.