March 07, 2016

Athens Votes in the Global Presidential Primary!

I VOTED! And You Still Can, Too!

Democrats in Greece who have not yet cast their ballot in the Global Presidential Primary have until midnight tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 8) to get in on the decision!

Meanwhile, yesterday’s live Voting Center at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens saw a steady flow of voters from doors-open at noon until 6 p.m. Among these were nearly 50 new members, joining to take advantage of the same-day voting.

Unlike some GOP-controlled states back home, Dems Abroad, recognized as a state party committee by the national party, welcomes voter turnout and makes it easy to join and vote.

Easy as the process is, eligibility and accountability are strictly observed, just as in any precinct in the US. DAGR’s routine, laid out by Voting Center Manager Steve Medeiros in concert with Country Chair Karen Lee, tailored the global DA rules to the layout and flow of the venue in the GB’s mezzanine conference room area. “The buck stops with us,” remarked Lee. “So, that skype session with Steve, that ended at 2 a.m. was worth it. Honing those station instructions before volunteer training on Saturday really paid off in practice.” The Chair and Vice Chair of each Country Committee are the voting members of the DPCA (Democratic Party Committees Abroad).

Medeiros, Vice Chair of DAGR, noted, “You can read the rules over and over, but when you put them into a working plan for a particular venue, that’s when you digest the logic of the accountability process.”  

After close, when the ‘vote tellers’ made the preliminary count, sign-ins and new-joins matched every ballot cast! The preliminary count of local ballots did not include the ‘remote’ ballots sent by members outside Athens, and will not be official till worldwide ballots are counted by DA.  Athens results were roughly 57% Sanders, 43% Clinton, with no votes cast for the other two names on the ballot, de la Fuente and O’Malley. The tally was immediately reported by phone to the International Chair, Katie Solon. The signed report was then scanned and emailed to central. Once voting closes on March 8 and all remote ballots sent by post are received, the actual ballots will be sent to DA global. One more physical count will be made of ballots from around the world. Final, official count results will be announced by DA on March 21.

Remote ballots can be sent in by fax, email scanned attachment, or regular mail. Ballots sent via post office must be postmarked midnight on March 8. Democratic voters can still join DA and download a ballot and instructions at the DA website:

Over 40 member-volunteers covered three shifts, while students from an ACS 10th grade history class helped usher voters. The students witnessed a typical – though possibly more fun than usual – US election site and learned much. They also helped with photos for live tweeting. Other photos were taken by a member volunteer, while video footage was also recorded throughout the day.

As voters moved through the site, there was ample time for talk about the process, as well as about issues of the day and DAGR plans for the election season. Several new volunteers signed on and the Women’s Caucus netted close to 20 new names for its mailing list.

A DAGR supporter rented the venue and provided sandwiches for volunteers, while the Grande Bretagne offered coffee and water. “The GB management and staff were superb, start to finish,” said Medeiros. “We can’t thank them enough!  Nor can we begin to thank our volunteers!”

“Electoral law, party rules, state variations, process and schedules … it’s a lot to take in, let alone be competent to explain to others. But with phone banking just past, and these members helping again with the GPP, we’re getting quite good at it,” Lee added. “That’s the life blood of the organization, though, with members pitching in, gaining knowledge and confidence, moving up into leadership.”

Volunteers will be recognized at DAGR’s Annual General Meeting, set for Thursday, March 21.

Check out photos from the Voting Center on Facebook and Twitter.