At-Large Rep , GOTV Chair

  • 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.


  • Dems Descend on Athens for Regional Meeting!

    For 3 days more than 100 Democrats Abroad members in the regions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa came together in Athens. From October 11th to 13th men and women from Sweden to Israel, Italy to the UAE, met to share their best practices for their home countries, delineate new policies and usage of online tools in preparation for registering US Citizens living abroad to vote in the 2020 races. Presentations included an opening address from Global Chair, Julia Bryan and Regional Vice-Chair, Will Bakker. Brady Kiesling, member of Democrats Abroad Greece, former diplomat, author and historian, addressed the assembly on "Defending Democracy: Lessons from the Athenians."

     Brady_speaking_cropped.jpg
       

    Regional Vice-Chair Will Bakker said, “Democrats Abroad leaders and volunteers from all across the region met this weekend – in person in Athens as well as joining us remotely – to organize, strategize, and strengthen our plan for the crucial election year ahead.” He added, “We must do everything we can to support the American community around the world over the next 12 months – and beyond. Americans abroad face a unique range of issues, on everything from taxation to ensuring our votes are counted back home, and so many of us are concerned about the direction that our government has headed under the Trump administration.” Bakker went on to say, “What happens next is up to each and every American to do their part, no matter where they live. Our fellow Americans abroad are depending on us, and we – and the country – are depending on them.”

     

    Along with the meetings and presentations, members gathered over meals and music, dinners and dancing, antiquated temples and the Saronic Gulf. Peggy Pelonis, Dean of 

    Students at the American Community Schools in Athens discussed the role of women and youth in shaping democratic societies at the Women's Caucus Luncheon. Informal gatherings, although social by nature, gave members a chance to exchange political perspectives and share ideas in a safe setting in these politically polarized times. Athens became a destination to be returned to; a place where strangers meet, find common ground and form long lasting bonds both in political perspectives and friendship.

     

    +

  • published Democrats Abroad Descend on Athens in News 2019-09-24 15:08:30 -0400

    Democrats Abroad Descend on Athens

    Democrats Abroad Greece is rolling out the red carpet for the Regional Conference of Democrats Abroad on the weekend of October 11th to 13th.  Members of country committees from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, also known as EMEA, will gather in the birthplace of modern democracy.

    There will be meetings, training sessions, presentations and social gatherings as the purpose of the conference is to bring together like- minded Democrats. Presentations and discussions will focus on issues that affect us, specifically as expats living outside the continental borders of the US, as well as taking back the White House and the Senate in 2020.

    The program includes a Welcome Reception, set in the heart of Athens antiquity, surrounded by a modern metropolis, plus a full day and a half of meeting sessions to get all the news and brainstorm strategies. In between, there will be breaks for Greek cuisine and cocktails, to socialize and talk seriously in casual settings. A GALA Dinner is on the program for Saturday night with rooftop views of the Athens skyline and the opportunity to grab some great art and unique items up for auction that will help support Democrats Abroad coffers.

    WebEx participation is available for those who cannot attend in person, allowing you to listen and contribute to most aspects of the meeting from your home. Please contribute the requested donation amount for WebEx participation to help DA defray the costs associated with our high-quality integration of remote participants.

    You will need to register through the links below to attend any parts of the conference. The conference is only open to registered members of Democrats Abroad, so please have your friends that have been on the fence, register now. Have them follow the links below to register to vote and join Democrats Abroad.

    Join Democrats Abroad
    Sign up to Vote from Abroad

    The EMEA Conference Program

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
    Welcome Reception
    Webster University Cultural Center, Plaka
    8 to 10 pm

     

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
    Conference Meetings
    Hotel Electra Metropolis
    9 am to 5 pm

    Lunching at Metropolis area restaurants
    12:30 – 2 pm

    Pre-GALA Cocktails
    Hotel Electra, Ermou St
    Hotel Bar
    6:30 pm to 8 pm

    GALA Dinner
    Hotel Electra, Ermou St
    8 to 11 pm

     

    SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13
    Conference Meetings
    Hotel Electra Metropolis
    9 am to 1 pm

    Women’s Caucus Luncheon
    Hermione Restaurant, Plaka
    1:30 to 4 pm

     

    REGISTRATION

    To register for the meetings:
    RSVP and registration links can be found here

    To register for the food and drink go here.

    We also will need volunteers to assist with the smooth administration of the conference. Join the fun and lend a helping hand by following the link for signing up below. 
    To register as a volunteer sign up here 

    DAGR members are looking forward to welcoming Expats from the region and offering them a taste of Greek hospitality as we work together to ensure major wins at home in 2020!

    For more information about the conference go here.  

    Questions and concerns can be directed to Will Bakker (Regional Vice-Chair) directly here or to DAGR here 


  • Thessaloniki Chapter Celebrates Labor Day

    A spirited amalgam of U.S. citizens with their families and friends celebrated Labor Day in the welcoming garden of Thessaloniki Chapter Chair Peter Baiter’s suburban Pylaia home overlooking the port and city center. The end-of-summer social gathering going late and noisily into the night drew top administrators, teachers and alumni from the city’s pivotal U.S. educational institutions: Pinewood American International School, Anatolia College’s American College of Thessaloniki, and the American Farm School’s Perrotis College, as well as faculty and students from Aristotle University, and others from the cultural and business sectors. Christine Willis, founding member in 2010 of DAGR Thessaloniki commented, “There is so much diversity, people of such quality here tonight!”

    Former Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Australia and Pinewood alumna, Ersie Burke, urged the gathering to “get out there and battle for the Democratic win in 2020.” Thessaloniki targets are strengthening the push to register local and Study Abroad voters and reaching out to secure the Thessaloniki volunteers and other resources essential to running a Global Presidential Primary in March 2020.

     

    “I’m delighted so many people with such a variety of backgrounds are enjoying each other’s company and the food and famous sweets of Thessaloniki, while hearing from my fellow host, Thessaloniki Chapter Representative Randall Warner about the nitty-gritty of what we all need to do to vote from abroad in the 2020 elections,” Baiter remarked. He also thanked Demetri Chriss, CEO of Tuvunu, for supporting this Democrats Abroad event with Vergina Beer and Tuvunu mountain tea and soda.


  • DAGR Welcomes Congresswoman Dina Titus to Athens

    Rep_Titus.png

    Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) Nevada met informally with members of Democrats Abroad Greece on Saturday at a central Athens location. Titus is in Greece on a family vacation and gave DAGR an evening to discuss issues-particularly tax, which she has championed, for American citizens living overseas.

    Serving the First Congressional District of Nevada, Congresswoman Dina Titus has built a strong record of achievement as both an educator and a public servant. Titus is one of the strongest supporters on issues facing Americans abroad in Congress. She is a great friend of DA by going on record with the Ways & Means Committee to ease the financial burdens placed upon Americans abroad by the U.S. citizenship-based taxation system.

    Titus_and_DAGR_edited2.jpg

    Currently in her fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dina is the dean of Nevada’s Congressional delegation. She is a proud member of the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security. In 2018, Dina was elected to become the Chair of a key Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, where she works to help Nevada’s communities better respond to natural disasters, address the devastating impacts of climate change, and fight for infrastructure projects that will benefit the most vulnerable.

    Alice Costandina Titus, better known to her Nevada constituents as Dina, grew up in Georgia, has lived in Nevada for over 35 years, and proudly represents Nevada’s First District in the United States Congress. 

    Dina’s Greek heritage has always been close to her heart. As a proud granddaughter of Greek immigrant Arthur Costandinos Cathones, Dina considers her Greek background to be an important part of her life even though she did not have the privilege of living in a large Greek community. Growing up in a small town in Georgia where her grandfather operated a restaurant, the family would have to drive to the nearest city – over a hundred miles away in Florida – to find feta cheese and Kalamata olives.

    Dina’s grandfather emigrated from Greece in 1911, landing at Ellis Island. Growing up, Dina had a close relationship with him, spending much of her free time helping him around his restaurant. Since there was no church or Greek school nearby, her grandfather taught her to count and write the alphabet in Greek and introduced her to wonderful Greek food. When they took family trips, the first thing Dina looked for at any restaurant was a calendar with a picture of the Parthenon on the walls to see if it was run by Greeks. Later Dina honored the life and memory of her grandfather by purchasing a brick with his name on it at the restored Ellis Island. Additionally, when she took the oath of office at the beginning of her tenure in Congress, she did so with her hand on her grandfather’s Greek Bible.

    Titus_and_CHM__-_edited.jpg

    As an adult, Dina has fully embraced her Hellenic heritage. She first traveled to Greece in 1980, visiting relatives in Athens and Trikala, and has since returned a number of times. She loves traveling throughout the country with books on Greece’s rich history in hand in order to get a deeper understanding the country’s regions, ruins, culture, and cuisine. In Las Vegas, Dina attends the St. John the Baptist Church and participates in activities of the Philoptochos Society and Daughters of Penelope. And, of course, she keeps in close touch with her fellow members of the Greek community in Las Vegas and around the country.

    As a proud Greek woman, Dina’s heritage has greatly influenced her outlook and perspective on life and the world. She has spoken out in favor of Hellenism in the classroom throughout her thirty-four-year tenure as a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as in the Nevada legislature where she sponsored resolutions honoring the consecration of the new Greek church in Las Vegas and recognizing that Macedonia is Greek. The Pan-Macedonian Association of America distinguished her for this effort. She also received the Pericles award for civic leadership from the American Hellenic Council in Los Angeles in 2009 and was recognized by PSEKA at the 26th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. More recently, Dina was honored at the 2012 Salute to Women event hosted by the Daughters of Penelope. 

    In Congress, Dina is a member of the Hellenic Caucus and has stood in strong support of efforts to protect the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, reunify Cyprus, and maintain the Greek sanctity of the name and symbols of Macedonia. 

    Dina has also been a leader in the effort to pass resolutions in the House recognizing the independence of Greece and the Daughters of Penelope. She is also a founding member of the Greek-Israeli Caucus started in 2013 and is currently the only Greek woman in the U.S. Congress. Throughout her tenure in Washington, she has sought the wise counsel of members of the Greek community on these important issues and considers Rep. John Sarbanes (D) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) close friends and mentors.

    In June of 2009, Dina was honored to represent President Obama at the opening of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, where she met with Greek leaders to discuss the important relationship between the United States and Greece. Later that year, she was privileged to meet His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he came to Washington in November. Dina’s work in building strong relationships with the embassies of Greece and Cyprus has further increased cooperation between Athens, Nicosia, and Washington. 

    As a professor, Dr. Titus taught American and Nevada government classes from 1979 through June 2011 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she has professor emeritus status. A noted non-fiction writer, she is internationally known for her expertise in the history and policies related to nuclear power, weaponry, and waste as well as for her knowledge of the popular lore of "Atomic Culture."

    In 1988, Dina was elected to represent the people of District Seven in the Nevada State Senate, serving as the Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 to 2008. During her service in the Legislature, Dina was a champion for quality education and renewable energy development, and a strong advocate on behalf of Nevada’s children, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

    Dina has received numerous awards from various state and local organizations, but one of her proudest moments came in 2006 with the dedication of the Dina Titus Estates, an innovative affordable housing complex for disabled Nevadans, named in recognition of Dina's tireless advocacy.
    After helping the Las Vegas community recover from the deadliest shooting in modern American history, Dina has emerged as one of the leading voices in Congress for substantive action to reduce gun violence. She is a strong advocate for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. An expert on matters of nuclear energy and waste, Dina leads the effort in Congress to oppose the revitalization of Yucca Mountain.

    Dina grew up in the small town of Tifton, Georgia, with her parents, Joe and Betty Titus, and her younger sister, Dr. Rho Hudson, who is a professor of special education and founding faculty member of Nevada State College. Dina is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, holds a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and earned her Doctorate at Florida State University.

    Dina has been married to Professor Thomas C. Wright for over 35 years. Tom, a Latin American historian, received the prestigious UNLV Distinguished Professor award in 2008 and is the author of a number of award-winning books, most notably on political exile and human rights. John Wright Hall on campus is named after his father, pioneer professor at UNLV.

    DAGR_Waiting_Titus2_edited.png


  • published 2019 EMEA Regional Meeting! in News 2019-06-17 15:13:20 -0400

    2019 EMEA Regional Meeting!

    Great News!

    DAGR Selected to host 2019 DA EMEA Regional Meeting in Athens, Oct. 11-13, 2019

    EMEA_Fall_Mtg_Announcement.png

    Last week, DAGR was named host of the 2019 Democrats Abroad EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Regional Meeting in Athens, which will take place October 11-13. Athens’ bid won out over strong bids from Vienna and Amsterdam, and the response from our fellow Democrats throughout the region has been heartening. Folks are excited to come to Athens and partake in all that our great city has to offer! The focus of the meeting will be on preparing for next spring’s DA Global Presidential Primary and for 2020 Get Out the Vote initiatives.

    To have been selected is an honor for DAGR, and provides us with a strong platform from which to raise our profile in Greece and internationally, expand our membership, and to engage and mobilize our membership to work to ensure that we elect a Democratic President, House, and Senate (and to state offices across the country) in 2020. You’ll be hearing lots more about this event in the weeks and months to come as plans are firmed up and the itinerary is developed. The Regional Meeting offers DAGR members a great opportunity to interact with DA members from throughout the EMEA region. As you can imagine, hosting the event will require that we have a strong team of volunteers in place, so I am inviting you to volunteer to become part of our organizational team. There is lots of work to do!

    So, volunteer now to be part of our team. Drop me a line at chairdemocratsabroadgreece@gmail.com


  • published 2019 Pride The Streets Tell Our Story in News 2019-06-13 11:30:58 -0400

    2019 Pride The Streets Tell Our Story

    Equality, Freedom, Inclusion

    These were the resounding themes as PRIDE was celebrated in Athens Greece on Saturday June 8th.

    2019_Pride_Syntagma_Rainbow_-_edited.jpg

    In the city’s central square of Syntagma, with a foreground of the parliament building and a background of the Parthenon, residents came out filling the space in full color resonating the rights of equality and freedom.

    2019_Pride_Jai___Angelique_-_ABL_-_edited.jpg         2019_Pride_with_Steve_and_friends_edited.jpg      2019_Pride_-_Gals_edited.jpg

    Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) was there from 11 am until 8 pm with a booth, promoting equality, inclusion and freedom as well as voter registration, of which there were several inquiries. The kiosk had some funky buttons to send loud and clear messages in the heart of democracy’s place of birth. 

    DAGR Chair, Steve Medeiros, said, “What has been especially heartening and exciting during the five years that DAGR has participated in Athens Pride events has been to watch the steady growth in participation each year and the way in which our city has come to embrace the celebration. Amazing to watch out and proud Athenians come together with their fellow citizens to celebrate Pride and support and promote the rights of LGBTQ citizens in Greece. DAGR is proud to have once again been a part of this clarion call for dignity, freedom and equality for all. Though much has been accomplished, this is no time for complacency. Under the Trump administration, LGBTQ rights are again under attack across America. We must remain vigilant and keep up the fight. ”

    Volunteers gathered from early on greeting visitors to the booth and marching in the parade that took place at 6:30pm.

    2019_Pride_Parade_-_Zacky.jpg

    This year’s event was dedicated  to a well-known drag queen - “Zackie O” /Zack Kostopoulos who was brutally murdered last September in what has been labelled a hate crime.

    Athens Pride 2019 highlighted the role of “the road as a democratic area of ​​ revolution, and triumph in the face of injustice and brutality. This year’s poster, celebrating Athens Pride in its 15th year, presents emblematic moments from the history of LGBTQI.

     “On June 8, 2019, people marched across the historic streets of Athens to claim their PRIDE-freedom, equality, inclusion. But that is not enough. On every road we walk, we claim our freedom and our security from any form of abuse and violence. The street belongs to all of us equally.”, Athens Pride 2019 posted.

    For 3 minutes of Athens Pride 2019 on You Tube by Yiannis Papastathopoulos

    2019_Pride_Tom_Walsh_and_Friend_-_ABL_edited.jpg


  • published Fourth of July Celebration! in News 2019-06-05 16:02:42 -0400

  • published 2019 Pride Parade and Fest in News 2019-06-01 12:06:37 -0400

    2019 Pride Parade and Fest

     

    For the fifth year in a row, Democrats Abroad Greece will be supporting the LGBTQ community at Athens Pride 2019, which will take place on June 8, 2019, in Athens' Syntagma Square. Support for LGBTQ rights is a cornerstone of the Democratic Party platform.

    DAGR will sponsor an information and GOTV (Voter Information for US citizens abroad) booth with DA LGBTQ Caucus as co-sponsor, from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on that day. DAGR members will also march behind the DAGR banner in the Pride parade in the evening.

    DAGR members are encouraged to volunteer to staff the booth in 2-3 hour shifts throughout the day (11-2; 2-5; 5-8), and to join us in the parade. About 20 DAGR me

    mbers joined us for last year's parade. We'd like to double that number this year.

    Interested in volunteering?: contact Steve Medeiros, DAGR Chair and DA LGBTQ Caucus member -

    Via email at: stevenmedeiros111@gmail.com or via SMS at 694-811-9121

    2018_Pride_group_Marching_with_banner_cropped.jpg


  • DAGR Chapter Promotes 'Vote from Abroad' at the Farm Fest in Thessaloniki

    peter talking with people

    DAGR Chapter Promotes VoteFromAbroad at the FARM FEST in Thessaloniki

    Volunteers from DAGR’s Thessaloniki Chapter were front and center among public service booths at the annual Farm Fest on May 12. On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, the Fest engaged toddlers with treasure hunts, provided wine tasting for adults, performed demonstrations on satellite parachutes, seismology, robotics, climate change and mounted a farmer’s market.

    Chapter Chair Peter Baiter and Chapter Representative Randall Warner spoke with over 40 individuals and shared information on how Americans living outside the country can register to vote in US elections. The VoteFromAbroad.org website allows users to declare party affiliation or not and so can be used by any eligible American voter.

    “Out of everyone we spoke with, eight were Americans, four of whom are resident in Thessaloniki,” said Baiter. “However, mainly we talked with Greeks concerned about the 2020 US elections. While they won’t be voting in the US, we hope they’ll pass the message to American citizens they know among friends and family.”

    “Of course, the information we shared was non-partisan, focused on every US citizen’s right to vote,” added Warner. “We do this as a public service, especially in non-partisan settings such as schools. And we inform anyone of any party so they can register and vote. AFS appreciated the effort.”

    Thessaloniki's renowned American Farm School was founded in 1904 by US educators. The Fest is organized each year to give the public a closer look at the AFS educational programs and Perrotis College while enjoying a range of entertainment and cultural events. This year’s event attracted some 2,500 visitors.

    playing at the Farm Fest


  • First Young Democrats Abroad Event in Athens is coming up!

    Athens Chapter

    We would like to invite you to an evening social event on the 23rd of May, 7-10pm at the Hard Rock Café, (52, Adrianou St, Monastiraki) to:

    • Briefly update you on the way forward to the elections of the 3rd of November 2020 and the events and activities planned along the way;
    • Discuss the priorities Young Dems think we should focus on for the remainder of 2019 and 2020;
    • Have some fun! - get to know each other better in a relaxed environment and put friendly faces to our names.

    We look forward to meeting you all in person!

    To confirm your participation, please RSVP by clicking on this link by May 17th, 2019.

    Entrance is free of charge. Drinks and food can be ordered and purchased individually from the Hard Rock menu.

    Let’s get our Party rolling!



  • published Join our ERA Photo and Video Campaign! in News 2019-01-03 11:21:02 -0500

    Join our ERA Photo and Video Campaign!

    The Equal Right Amendment is sooooo close to being ratified!

    The Virginia general assembly starts their session on Wednesday, January 9th and the Virginia Ratify ERA team needs support right now!The Equal Right Amendment is sooooo close to being ratified!

    The Virginia general assembly starts their session on Wednesday, January 9th and the Virginia Ratify ERA team needs support right now!

    They need photos and videos of Americans living abroad who support ERA to use to win over some votes. Can you take a photo holding a sign and/or make a 30-45 second video? That would be appreciated.

    Video Guidelines:

    1. Consider wearing something or standing/seating by something that shows you are living abroad – for example a foreign newspaper, translation dictionary, map, typical item from country, or outside at a recognizable place in your country. However, don’t worry about it – just a blank wall is fine.
    2. Do NOT wear or say anything partisan. Almost all Dems support ERA so trying to win the Rep vote.
    3. Please show some passion but avoid/limit profanity.
    4. Start with “I’m an American living in GREECE”.
    5. If you live in a country that has equal rights for women in the constitution, especially if in some non-European country, mention that.
    6. If you are from one of the 13 states (AR, AL, AZ, GA, NC, SC, UT, FL, MS, MO, OK, UT, LA) that have not ratified the ERA, you may want to mention that. Note that Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona are the top 3 targets right now.
    7. For Virginia, you may want to call out Speaker Cox since he is the current ‘gatekeeper’ that could cause it to stall and never get to the Virginia House floor.
    8. Ask for ERA support.
    9. Keep video to less than 60 seconds, ideally 45 seconds.

    If you post the video on Facebook or Instagram, please add hashtags #DAforERA and #VAratifyERA

    Send a link to the video to era@democratsabroad.org

    Text ideas:

    • I’m an American living in GREECE. I have more rights as a woman here than I do back home. Please support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Women around the world care about what happens in the United States. Please vote for the ERA.
    • I’m an American living in GREECE. 85% of the countries in the world have equal rights for women in their constitution. GREECE is one of them. I want to see my home country be one as well. Please vote for the equal rights amendment.
    • I’m an American living in GREECE. In 2018, I was happy when I learned Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA. My hope for 2019 is that Virginia becomes number 38. Please support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
    • I’m an American living in GREECE. As a man, I care about women’s rights. I hope you do as well. Please pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
    • I’m an American living in GREECE. When I recently learned that the US still does not have equal rights for women in our Constitution, I was shocked. How can that be? Surely one of the 13 states that have not ratified it will all do so this year. It is 2019! It’s past time. Please vote for the Equal Rights Amendment.

    ERA Photo Guidelines

    Photo Guidelines:

    1. Make sign on A4 or 8.5x11 paper
    2. Please include on the sign “American living in GREECE” along with some support for ERA.
    3. Take photo with sign with your face showing
    4. Photos of your kids holding the sign is also good – if you are ok with the photo on the internet
    5. If you are from one of the 13 states (AR, AL, AZ, GA, NC, SC, UT, FL, MS, MO, OK, UT, LA) that have not ratified the ERA, if you could do a second sign and photo replacing “American” with your state, like Oklahoman, that would be great.
    6. Please send photo to ERA@democratsabroad.org

    Text ideas:

    • Please vote for the ERA
    • Please ratify the ERA
    • I support Women
    • I support Women’s rights
    • Equal rights for All
    • Women need equal rights
    • Women deserve equal rights
    • ERA NOW

    Create and get these posted (and forwarded) by Saturday so they can put something together for a big event in Richmond on Jan 8th. Arizona and North Carolina will be working toward the same outcome so if you miss the January 8th opportunity you can do the same for them as you can!

    So – show your support of women and equal rights by creating a photo and/or video. Send the photo and video links to era@democratsabroad.org

    #DAforERA
    #VAratifyERA


  • published Painted into the Chair's Corner in News 2018-10-31 14:15:24 -0400

    Painted into the Chair's Corner

    2018_10_31_GR_post_office_lobby_copy.jpg

    Saga of the Missing Ballot

    As the saga rolls on, we’re a bit late letting you, ‘dear reader,’ in on the day-by-day, blow-by-blow. When this surfaced, the Secretary was ‘off computer’ for several days. We’d love to put it all on her, but, truth be told, we forgot to move the saga from personal Facebook to the main DA/GR news page. And yet, it’s becoming most ‘instructional.’ So, for your catch-up and edification...

    Looking Back to Day 1

    The final GetOutTheVote (aka GOTV) surge has been full-on for over 2 months now. While phone-banking was understaffed here in Greece, volunteers from other countries called our members. And we made up our deficit with a fulsome Study Abroad outreach, a test of SMS reminders, 3 events where we also registered the late ones, and emails exhorting members to get registered and request ballots. There was also the nightly ‘widget’ duty, changing the Countdown “Days to Election” banner on the Facebook pages.

    Jai Salvador and I are widgets. Habitual widgets.

    From mid-October, we exhorted DAGRs to ‘track your ballot.’ After helping several members sort out how to do that, I realized I hadn’t tracked mine. That was Friday, Oct 26. Make note of the date.

    My Ohio ballot was sent to me on 21 September. We had an Athens film night to organize for Oct 4. Once that was past, I finally printed the ballot, voted it, and played Kindergarten Cop, cutting, pasting, and taping the odd sized envelope parts into place on real envelopes. (Not an easy job with those little plastic scissors!)

    As every year, I murmured a pseudo-prayer that the Franklin County BOE staff would be able to slice it open without industrial shears and blow-torches. (With equal fervor, I pray someday they’ll come up with a sizing/printing system that does not require trim-paste-stuff-tape-initial ad nauseum. But then, why would the Ohio GOP trifecta want to make absentee voting easy?)

    Then I let it ‘age’ until I was next due to go out of the house and near a post office. At a month shy of my 74th birthday and 3 years past finally hanging up the old motorbike, I plan my itineraries and the likely taxi fare to complete them so that I’m only ‘forced to put on make-up’ half of each week’s computer-working days. I hope that makes sense. It does to me.

    Consequently, it was a week after film night that I had to meet Vice Chair Steve Medeiros and Treasurer Nick Loisos for a planning and coffee session within walking distance of a post office. That was October 11. Bye bye, ballot, and fair thee well!

    I sent it, as I always have, by registered mail, in case I ever had to track it. Registered mail sometimes takes a bit longer than surface mail, but the Hellenic Post clerk assured me that 7 working days was about normal.

    When I got home, I’d have done well to have looked at the post-it note on my fridge door since January 2017: “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!”

    So now, as I noted earlier, after answering members’ queries about voting matters, I cut bait and got to my own. The Ohio Secretary of State’s ballot tracker asks for your county. Select from the drop-down menu and you get the county, and they ask for your PIN (which they sent by email the day before the ballot). I duly typed in the particulars 15 days after sending it and was shocked to see it hadn’t arrived in Columbus yet!

    Next stop was the ELTA (acronym for Hellenic Postal Service) website’s track/trace facility. There, you type in the registration number from your receipt and it gives you a chart of each step of the journey. Let me share it here, because it was simply gob-stopping.

    Contrary to the contrarians who delight in blaming the Greeks, it appears the Hellenic Post was totally efficient. By evening, the envelope had gone from Athens to the airport. And by the next day, it had arrived in the US. At the ‘Inward exchange’ station, whatever that is.

    The curious part is why, after arriving there, was it sent back to a similar ‘inward exchange’ site. In Hungary. Hungary?? You’ll forgive the exclamation: WTF?!

    by Karen Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-7, 2017-9 more or less

    Saga of the Missing Ballot CONT....

    Looking Less Back, Day 2 and 3

     

    Once you find out something’s gone awry, you naturally want to fix it and then go fix dinner. So, the news that my ballot was on extended leave, in Hungary, set the plan for Saturday. A work-around would be found!

    Sometimes the laws of man and nature get in the way. This time, nature was cooperating. But, Saturday and Sunday bogged down. The ELTA customer service phone operates by man’s laws and man will have the weekend off.

    Frustrated, I sent a synopsis to our global GOTV co-chair, Heidi Birch. She added mine to the handful of reports HelpDesk had received. Apart from a few ‘returns to sender’ from NY state, nothing massive had emerged. Still, people don’t always report problems; they either solve them or give up trying.

    There’s always Facebook. An ‘I voted’ graphic download had just come in email from GOTV, so on Sunday I put it up on my personal timeline. It drew a ‘whooHOO!’ from our global chair, Julia Bryan, the perfect segue for my tale of woe: ‘But it didn’t ar-RI-ive!’

    My Fb posts are fairly bland. Consequently, I’m used to drawing a scant few likes, the odd thumbs up, and a pithy comment from my ex-sister-in-law in Florida.

    [sidebar] The only time I’ve drawn a long thread of exchanges was when a flaming Dem-baiter spewed out snowflakes and libtards. It may have been a bot assuming a stolen identity. The name was known as a real person here in Greece. Butter-wouldn’t-melt restraint and polite questions rewarded with the actual long list of what ‘they’ keep saying Trump has accomplished. Most have been averted by court injunctions. Talking points for 2020, a keepie! [/sidebar]

    Imagine my surprise when the ‘didn’t arrive’ post drew out a number of comments. A few had advice on what to do next. Most were from hopeful voter friends who’d sent their ballot. Now they were motivated to see if it had arrived.

    Best advice, of course, is when the regular ballot has not arrived OR has not been received back by the LEO, we should vote the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, the FWAB. The main pitfall here is getting distracted by whether to pronounce it FWAYAB, FWAWB, F-WAB, or F-W-A-B. But that’s another story.

    Actually voting FWAB is fairly easy. I went to https://www.fvap.gov/fwab-privacy-notice and filled in my voter ID info, one more time. And saved it to pdf to be printed after I’d bought ink cartridges. Why is the printer always out of ink when you need it most?

    As Day 3 and the hamstrung weekend faded into midnight, I updated our Fb Countdown banners (aka cover pix) and made lists for a productive Monday when shops reopened.

    by Karen Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-7, 2017-9 more or less