VICTORIA – With two special elections behind us and primaries right around the corner Victoria Members of Democrats Abroad Australia (DAA) met via phone conference to ensure equal opportunity for all Victorian members to contribute to the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign planning. Now more than ever every vote, every voice, every person counts. The win and loss in Pennsylvania and Arizona highlight the importance of every vote. Trump carried both districts by almost 20 points. Conor Lamb (D) was able to beat out the Republican candidate but by a narrow margin of just 755 votes. In Arizona, even though Hiral Tipirneni (D) eventually lost to the Republican candidate she fought a hard battle and showed that the Republican tide was starting to turn blue as she closed the margin to just 5 points.

Recognizing the importance of every person DAA-Victoria Chair Thomas Lopez organised the first of monthly GOTV phone conferences. Joining voices from, not just Melbourne, but across Victoria as far as the Peninsula. Lopez stated, “Democrats living in rural areas gave a valuable perspective on our GOTV planning. By utilizing internet conferencing we’re able to reach further easier. It’s about reaching the largest amount of people possible.”

After ramping up the crowd Chair Lopez outlined important upcoming events in the DAA – Victoria calendar including the State Chapter AGM in June, monthly Politics and Pint sessions, and an expat tax seminar. DAA members expressed excitement about being able to learn more about the American overseas taxation policies.

DAA-Vic. is currently ramping up efforts to boost its social media outreach for GOTV and DA recruitment purposes. Efforts include the development of a strategy that will help lead the chapter going forward to increase both membership and awareness of GOTV events. A lively debate ensued about the pros and cons of varies social media outlets. A decision was made to focus energy on Facebook over other platforms.

The question was raised as to whether DAA– Victoria should get involved in other American themed groups or events to spread understanding of the GOTV campaign. “It’s about targeting people who may not already be politically engaged.” Vice Chair Marybeth Yarosh agreed with the suggestion, saying “It would be good to get more creative in how we engage people. Go to them instead of hoping they come to us.” Areas to explore include events during American holidays, USA themed meet-ups, and viewing parties for large US sporting events. Members with links to any events should contact Chair Lopez with their suggestions.

The floor opened to a discussion about the GOTV campaign. Ideas flowed in from across the state. Suggestions were made to improve voting amongst university students. A member suggested a movie viewing party; the airing of a US political themed movie with a topical guest speaker. University spaces, community halls and libraries were all listed as potential locations. “It could be a fun event, something out of the ordinary, to open ourselves to new people.”

Chair Lopez took the opportunity to announce that DAA – Victoria is joining the other Australian chapters in a hunt for a university outreach volunteer. Updates of the role will be posted to Facebook. Stay tuned for more information.

Members left feeling excited about the upcoming elections and with a more focused understanding of their role in GOTV.

Upcoming events save the date:

  •  4 to 6pm, Sunday 27 May 2018: U.S. expat tax seminar

  • 2 to 4 pm, Saturday 16 June 2018, Victoria Chapter AGM

  • Monthly GOTV phone conference. All DAA – Victoria members are urged to attend to keep the momentum moving forward. Request your ballot.

  • 4 July: The next Politics and a Pint will also be our first holiday-themed event of the year. 

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