News

The Activist's To Do List –

There are many things you can do while you are at home in self-isolation. Here is a list of a few ideas, but we'd love to hear how you are using using physical distancing for social good. Have an idea? Please let us know and we will add it to this list!

1. Protect the voting process in the US. Sometimes overcrowded polling places aren’t by design but by too few volunteers. The November election is going to be particularly challenging for states to get vote-by-mail up and running and to make sure there is enough people-power to work at polling centers. Many people who traditionally help at polling locations are retirees and particularly at risk. Now is the time to encourage younger friends and family members at home to volunteer with their local election official. Find out more about this topic in the podcast Campaign HQ with David Plouffe episode “Will We Vote?” from March 26, 2020.

2. Get trained to phone-bank! We will be calling ALL of our members over the next months to remind them to register and request their ballot and to return it in October. Phone banking is fun and rewarding. You can do just a few calls or hundreds — you decide when you want to call and there is a script so you don’t have to know all the answers. This is proven to be the most effective way to get our members to vote. Join us at the Call Hub Party from 6:00-7:30pm on April 20 or watch the training video, sign on to call hub (the calling platform) and we’ll be in touch as soon as the call campaign begins in April. We need your help! 

3. Spread the word. Ask organizations you belong to put our non-partisan voting registration site, VoteFromAbroad.org on their website or in their newsletter.

  • Fraternities and sororities
  • Business or professional clubs
  • Churches, Social clubs or any large membership group

Make your request sound as altruistic and civic-minded as possible. You’ll never know until you ask. — Angela Fobbs, DA Germany, GBC Chair

 

4. Contact Your Network. Send an email or text message to all of the Americans you know overseas or at home.

Here's an example of a text I sent out to every American expat I knew who wasn’t already involved with Democrats Abroad (it worked! - I got a response from about 70% of them and those who responded checked their registration and requested their ballots). Of course, feel free to customize the message as needed and based on voter location. 

Hey there! I hope your week is going well. At the beginning of 2020 I made a resolution to share voter registration info with all of my American expat friends 🇺🇸 If you haven’t yet checked your voter registration and requested your absentee ballot (something you should do every year), you can do both of those things at this website: www.votefromabroad.org 

It’s really easy to use, and they have an online Help Desk if you have any questions. I’m also happy to answer any voter questions you might have. Contrary to many myths about overseas ballots, your vote can and often does make a difference! The website is non-partisan, but if you know anyone who is interested specifically in getting out the vote for Democrats in 2020, please feel free to send them my number. Thank you and happy voting! 🗳💙

 A personal message like this from a friend will be more effective than a mass-distributed message from an organization. Kelsey Mc Lendon, DA Germany, Stuttgart

 

5. Volunteer Remotely. Sign up to volunteer with various organizations in the U.S. Here are some ideas:

Fairfight - https://fairfight.com

Swing Left - https://swingleft.org

Supermajority - https://supermajority.com

Justice Democrats - https://www.justicedemocrats.com/volunteer

Sister District - https://sisterdistrict.com/volunteer-activities

Higher Heights - https://www.higherheightsforamerica.org

Vote Save America - https://www.votesaveamerica.com

Dem List - https://demlist.com

Ballotpedia - https://ballotpedia.org/Main_Page

Greater than Fear Minnesota (excellent messaging inspiration): https://greaterthanfear.us

Kelsey Mc Lendon, DA Germany, Stuttgart

 

Have an idea? Please let us know and we will add it to this list!


On Its 10th Anniversary, In Midst Of Public Health Crisis, The ACA Is More Valuable Than Ever

Ten years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the law is more popular than ever. It’s no wonder -- it helped tens of millions of Americans obtain quality, affordable health care coverage, made it illegal for insurers to deny coverage over a preexisting condition or charge women more for their health care than men, allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ plans, required coverage of preventative services and essential health benefits, and so much more.

Now -- in the midst of a global pandemic -- the ACA is one of our most critical tools to protect Americans from the consequences of the coronavirus. The protections afforded by the ACA help ensure Americans get the health care they need and aren’t bankrupted just because they caught coronavirus. The Trump administration has been forced to rely on several provisions of the ACA as part of the nation’s response to the virus.

And yet, Trump is still arguing in court to overturn the entire health care law, including its preexisting condition protections -- and doubled down at a coronavirus briefing just last night. At every opportunity, Trump has worked to weaken the ACA and put coverage for millions at risk. Despite promising to create better, more affordable health care, Trump and his repeated acts of sabotage have contributed to rising health care costs and a rise in the uninsured rate. Americans shouldn’t have to worry every day about whether the law will be overturned and they’ll lose the ACA’s protections, and whether they will be able to pay their bills because of rising health care costs that Trump failed to lower.

The ACA is more popular than ever.

A clear majority of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act. In February, the ACA hit its highest approval rating ever of 55%.

Now -- in the midst of a global pandemic -- the ACA is one of our most critical tools.

Comprehensive Coverage: The ACA established what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as prescription drugs and hospitalization. Coronavirus testing and treatment are essential health benefits and must be covered by all ACA-compliant plans.

Access To Critical Vaccinations Without Cost Sharing: Once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, the Affordable Care Act will almost certainly cover the coronavirus vaccine without cost-sharing, because it requires plans to cover all vaccinations recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Protections For As Many As 133 Million Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions: Under the ACA, anyone who contracts coronavirus will not be subject to future discrimination from insurance companies.

Coverage for 20+ Million People: Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. People with insurance are much more likely to see a doctor when they are sick and to get the treatment they need.

Increased CDC Funding: The Affordable Care Act established the CDC Prevention and Public Health Fund, which helps states prepare for disease outbreaks.

Medicaid Expansion: Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid to vulnerable populations. More than 17 million Americans now have coverage through Medicaid expansion. Importantly, Medicaid’s funding structure allows funds to increase in response to a public health emergency like coronavirus.

Key Support For Rural Hospitals. The ACA significantly reduced uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $12 billion, or roughly 30 percent. As hospitals prepare for an influx in coronavirus patients, it is critical that they are paid for the treatment they provide.

Even as he tries to destroy the law, Trump has been forced to rely on key provisions of the ACA to fight the spread of coronavirus:

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Essential Health Benefits: “President Trump and his deputies have urged health insurers to make testing for coronavirus free to patients, calling it an ‘essential benefit,’ despite years of pushing to loosen federal rules on what health insurance plans must cover.”

Medicaid Expansion: “And the administration is now moving to make it easier for poor Americans to get care through Medicaid, after championing multiple efforts over the last three years to slash the joint federal and state program and cut millions of people from its rolls.”

Nursing Home Inspections: “The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, pledged to intensify nursing home inspections, just months after moving to roll back government inspection standards the agency called “burdensome.”

And yet, Trump will stop at nothing to end the ACA.

Trump tried to repeal the ACA:

Throughout 2017, Trump and Republicans in Congress repeatedly tried to push dangerous repeal legislation through that would have kicked upwards of 20 million Americans off their health care, undermined the ACA’s protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, and gutted Medicaid.

Trump sabotaged the ACA:

Trump and Republican sabotage of the ACA has contributed to rising health care costs. Last year, premiums for silver benchmark marketplace plans were 16 percent higher than they would have been had Trump and Republicans not succeeded in undermining the law and stoking market uncertainty.

Trump supports a lawsuit to overturn the ACA:

Trump promised that whoever “wanted health care” would have it under his administration, but the Trump-backed lawsuit would cause 21 million Americans to lose their insurance.

Trump promised he would put a stop to rising health care costs and even reduce them -- but his lawsuit would raise out-of-pocket costs for premiums and prescription drugs.

Trump promised to support preexisting condition protections and said that costs for people with preexisting conditions would be “much lower” under his leadership -- but his lawsuit would end these vital protections.

Trump promised to protect Medicaid -- but his lawsuit would end access to Medicaid for millions of Americans enrolled through the ACA’s expansion program.

The politics of health care.

But all this has come at a political cost for Trump and Republicans. Their efforts to repeal the ACA and sabotage American health care, and Democrats’ efforts to protect the law, expand coverage and lower costs, have helped Democrats win races up and down the ballot in 2017, 2018 and 2019, including winning the House majority in the last midterm elections. And still today, health care is the number one issue on the minds of voters, and among voters who rate it their top issue, Democrats enjoy a significant advantage. With Trump bungling the response to the coronavirus pandemic, you can bet health care will again be the top issue on voters’ minds.

It’s quite a reversal of fortune in the 10 years since President Obama signed the ACA. In 2010 and again in 2014, the politics of health care benefitted Republicans with big wins in both those midterm elections. Of course, their success was built on lies like “death panels.” But ten years later, the truth has won out. And the truth is the Affordable Care Act has improved the health and financial security of millions of Americans. On this anniversary, that’s something to celebrate.

— DNC War Room


Annual General Meeting Will Be Online!

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and government restrictions, DA Austria has decided to cancel all of our in-person events in order to avoid creating any unnecessary risks for our members, their loved ones, and other vulnerable members of our society. We will, however, hold some of our events online. 

DA Austria's Annual General Meeting will be held on March 22 at 3pm — online. At the meeting, you will still learn about all our plans for getting out the vote in the 2020 General Election, what you can do to help dump Trump, and review all DAA accomplished in 2019 — the meeting will be much briefer than usual.

DA Austria is required (by our By-Laws) to hold our AGM prior to March 31, that's why we can neither cancel nor postpone this event. We also have a quorum requirement to make the meeting valid. Please help us meet these challenges by joining us in our first ever online AGM — RSVP below! 

As a thank you for your loyalty and help through this difficult period,AGM attendees will be able to come to a fundraising wine tasting with Seymann's Winery for free! We'll set the date just a soon as restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, every cloud has a silver-lining. We'll all have some time to spare over the next few weeks and we can use that time to sharpen our skills and get trained to take back our democracy in November. That's why we'll still be hosting the Volunteer Training Workshops  just before the Annual General Meeting at 2pm online. 

Please RSVP for both of these events on our events page at https://www.democratsabroad.org/at_events We will send you the link to the meeting and workshop.

 

Thank You for your support,

– DA Austria Executive Committee


In March –

Important Voting Center Announcement!

A few people who cast their ballots on March 3 at the Vienna Voting Center at Frank’s Restaurant mistakenly wrote their US address in the box where their Austrian address should have been written. In this case, the ballots were counted as spoiled and the voter may vote again.

If you think you might have written your full US address on the ballot instead of your Austrian address — there were two fields: an address outside the US & your US voting state — please come back to the voting center on Saturday rom 12-7pm or vote remotely until March 10 (PST/+9 in Austria) by going to democratsabroad.org/primary

— Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Voting Center Manager, chair@democratsabroad.at


In This Issue –

Events:

Issues & Actions:

  • Super Tuesday’s Over But You Can Still Vote!
  • 2020 Annual General Meeting & Wine Tasting
  • Why the FBAR and FATCA Are Important for Americans

Reviews:

  • Solidarity Sundays — DAA’s Grassroots
  • It Was a Super Super Tuesday!
  • Ballot Assistance Events – Thank you Volunteers Outside Vienna!

 

Our Executive Committee meetings are usually held on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be held on:

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020

Members are welcome to join us at the meetings! Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date in order to avoid the flood of emails that occurs in an election year. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

Follow us on:

   

 


Events:

 

Global Presidential Primary / Austria

Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary will run from March 3 to March 10, 2020. As an official arm of the Democratic Party, DA members will be able to vote for their choice for presidential nomineeand send 21 delegates to the Democratic Convention in Milwaukee in July. See the article below for details on how to vote.

Where: Frank’s Laurenzerberg 2

When: Saturday, March 7 from 12:00-19:00

 

Black Caucus Book Club

Please join us for our next book: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.

Where: Cafe Weimar Währingerstrasse 68, 1090 Vienna

When: Friday, March 13 at 19:00

 

March Debate Watch Party

Join us for another round of Democratic debates, drinks & discussion!

Where: TBA

When: Monday, March 16 at 19:00

Visit us on Facebook!

 

Experienced Dems

Join us for the monthly meeting of Experienced Democrats of Democrats Abroad Austria

Where: Café Museum Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna

When: Tuesday, March 17 at 18:00

Visit us on Facebook!

 

Volunteer Training Workshops

Before the Annual General Meeting we’ll be training volunteers on how to phone bank and how to register voters to get out the vote in 2020. Come learn the skills you’ll need to mobilise voters and turn out the numbers we will need to dump Trump–it’ll take all of us! Interested?

Where: SPÖ Neubau Lindengasse 64, 1070 Vienna

When: Sunday, March 22 at 12:00 (sandwiches will be provided)

RSVP on our website or on Facebook

 

DA Austria Annual General Meeting

See Issues & Actions for details.

Where: SPÖ Neubau Lindengasse 64, 1070 Vienna

When: Sunday, March 22 at 15:00

RSVP on our website.

 

Solidarity Sundays

The old way to communicate with voters was getting a speech covered by media. Today, politicans think “what’s my Facebook or Instagram play?” Democrats are getting drowned out in the political conversation on social media. After 40 years of hating the media and building an alternate news ecosystem, Republicans are adept at creating content and pushing it onto Facebook. Where does that leave us? Outgunned by Fox, Breitbart, and 1,000 outlets you’ve never heard of. To persuade voters and win elections, Democrats need to create content and get it to the voters who need to see it. We don’t need fiction over fact – we need a choir to sing the progressive song. Join Solidarity Sundays on March 29 and learn how to create content and amplify the progressive message within your social media network.

Where: Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna

When: March 29 at 16:00

RSVP on Facebook

 

Tax & FATCA Information Evening

DA Austria invited a few companies that specialise in filing US taxes for Americans living abroad to a tax workshop and the company, My Expat Taxes, responded! Please join us for an informative evening about the tips, tricks, and common pitfalls of filing your taxes and FBAR forms from abroad. Please note that DA Austria does not endorse any particular company nor give tax advice.

Where: Republikanischer Club

When: Tuesday, March 31 at 19:00

RSVP on Facebook

 

Salzburg Meet-Up

We will discuss current political topics over a meal, snack, drink or the like at Imlauer Restaurant on Rainerstraße 12-14 in downtown Salzburg. Parking places are directly behind the hotel and restaurant. Please RSVP by Tuesday so that we get a large enough table and space for the evening. All are welcome. Visit us on Facebook!

We hope you will join us!

– Mary Beth Kollert, DAA Salzburg

When: Saturday, March 21 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Where: Braurestaurant IMLAUER Rainerstrasse 14 Salzburg 5020

Contact: m.kollert@democratsabroad.at

 

DA Global Annual General Meeting

Where: Toronto, Canada

When: May 13-15

 


Issues & Actions:

Global Presidential Primary

Did you know Democrats Abroad holds its own primary election? We send our own delegates to the Democratic Convention. And we have our say in choosing the Democratic nominee for president. Voting in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary instead of your home state is easy for you — and good for all of us.

To vote in the Global Presidential Primary, join Democrats Abroad today!

EASY FOR YOU. No need to request a ballot and post it home again. Simply drop into your local Voting Center. Or download a ballot and email it back. You’ll still need to get an absentee

ballot for the general election in November. But, for now, join US voters around the world and vote where you live.

GOOD FOR ALL OF US. Concerned about issues like taxation, FATCA, or Social Security? Voting in the Global Primary shows Congress that we’re out here, in our millions, all around the globe. It gives Democrats Abroad the clout to lobby for us all and make a difference.

VOTING CENTERS IN AUSTRIA

Vote in Vienna | March 7

12–7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7, 2020

Frank's American Bar & Restaurant, Laurenzerberg 2, 1010

REMOTE VOTING

Vote online or by fax:

Voters abroad may also vote by downloading a ballot at democratsabroad.org/primary and returning it by email or fax to Democrats Abroad starting February 18, 2020. Ballots must be received by DA prior to midnight March 10, 2020 PST.

Or mail your ballot to:

Democrats Abroad Austria

Postfach # 2020

1051 Wien

Ballots must be received by the close of the working day in Vienna on March 10, 2020.

NOTE: This is a primary for president only. To vote in local primary races, you can request a ballot from your state. If you do, leave the choice of presidential nominee blank. Don’t vote twice!

 

2020 Annual General Meeting & Wine Tasting

Please join fellow Democrat Abroad Austria members on Sunday, March 22, to recap 2019 and have a bit of food and fun.

2020 AGM Agenda:

  • Welcome

  • Chair's Report

  • Treasurer's Report

  • Auditor's Report

  • GOTV Coordinator’s Report

  • Meet our Caucuses – The Year in Review

  • Brainstorming: Ideas for 2020 and Beyond

  • Closing Remarks

 

Come for business –

Join fellow DA Austria members on Sunday, March 22 to recap 2019. We'll present brief reports on 2019, discuss plans for 2020.

With our Caucus and grassroots leaders, we’ll show a presentation of 2019’s activities that illustrate how DA Austria continues to grow and strengthen more than 15 years after DAA's founding.

All DAA members are welcome. Any American over 18 (by November 3, 2020) and residing in Austria may also join at the meeting.

Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization over the past fifteen years. In 2020, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and the vote of all our members. We’ve got an important election coming up in November and we are relying on your help to make it a blue tsunami!

 

Stay for a wine-tasting –

After the business part of the meeting, fellow DAA member Nancy Lee Akinci Seymann will share with us a few wines from her family’s vineyard, Seymanns Weinhandwerkerei. Afterwards, we’ll be moving on to Le Burger for a no-host dinner.

We hope you’ll join us! Please RSVP for the meeting to Caitlin at database@democratsabroad.at and for the dinner to Bruce at b.murray@democratsabroad.at

 

Help us start the meeting on time –

Please contact Caitlin Ahern at database@democratsabroad.at to pre-register for the meeting by email.

Include your name, address, phone number and voting state in your email so that your record stays current. We encourage all members to pre-register, even if you're uncertain that you can make it, in order to minimize long waiting lines.

 

And if you’ll join us for dinner –

We’ll make a group reservation for dinner after the meeting at 6:30pm at Le Burger (a five-minute walk from the meeting location). If you'd like to be included in the reservation, please RSVP to Bruce at b.murray@democratsabroad.at by Saturday, March 15!

WHEN: Sunday, March 22, 2020 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.

WHERE: SPÖ Neubau, Lindengasse 64, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: Caitlin Ahern • database@democratsabroad.at

 

Why the FBAR and FATCA Are Important for Americans

You may know that filing US taxes is a task every American abroad needs to do once a year. But when it comes to reporting your foreign financial details to the IRS, some Americans may be unsure if they have to do that, too.

The truth is, knowing how much is in your foreign financial accounts is crucial in determining whether you need to file for the FBAR or Form 8938. These are two important forms, that if not filled out, could cost you unnecessary penalty fees.

The Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) is a required form every American abroad must fill out if all their foreign financial accounts total over $10,000 at any one time during the year. This also includes accounts you have signature authority over (ie: your child’s overseas bank account, etc). The Department of Treasury needs to know no off-shore money laundering is happening!

— Nathalie Goldstein, CEO of MyExpatTaxes and Enrolled Agent (IRS)

READ MORE

Please note: Democrats Abroad does not endorse companies or service providers. DA Austria reached out to a few tax companies for contributions for both this article and the talk on March 31st at the Republikanischer Club. Only MyExpatTaxes responded. They have also offered Democrats Abroad members a 10% discount to try out the MyExpatTaxes software with code: DemocratsAustria. DAA would like to thank them for sharing their expertise with our members.

 

Show Your Country & DA Austria Some Love in 2020! 

We need your support — and sent out a valentine, but haven’t heard back! Even though DA Austria is a 100% voluntary organisation, we still have a lot of costs especially in a presidential election year when expenses add up from holding a voting center and then printing and mailing all the ballots. This is work we love and a bit of your financial love would help us to know we’re not scraping the bottom of our account each month. Please make a donation today or consider becoming a sustainable donor for the price of a cup of coffee per month. Your euros enable us to do more and make it pay on election day!

We’re working on a donation button, but until then let’s do it the old fashioned way.

DA Austria AT27 12000 5039 0623001

Donations can only be made by American citizens.

 


Reviews:

Solidarity Sundays # 30: The Global Presidential Primary 

Three years of Trump attacking and weakening the rule of law is despair-worthy stuff. Beyond the psychodrama of national politics in D.C., however, the President’s antics have generated a boom in civic engagement.

Happy Birthday, Solidarity Sundays Vienna! We launched monthly meet ups 3 years ago. How have we engaged? We explored the importance of Planned Parenthood, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, dismantling of LGBTQ rights, the dilemma of Dreamers and the shameful number of incarcerated men and women of colour. We studied how gerrymandering and voter suppression are eroding our vote. We learned the ways de-regulation of big business has shaped the economic insecurity of our era.

Three years of discussion — and action. We wrote to hometown papers, to legislators, and to voters in Austria and back home.

On February 23rd, people learned how Democrats residing abroad can help choose our nominee by voting in the Global Presidential Primary. Democrats Abroad is launching its biggest outreach yet to help every member vote, both in the GPP and in races up and down the ticket in November. Phone banking played a critical role in taking Democrats Abroad voter participation from 4% in 2014 to over 50% in 2018. This fall, we’re aiming for 100%. To support this democratic exercise, we learned the ins-and-outs of phone banking.

Want to join a phone banking party? We will soon announce dates and locations for parties in Vienna – contact t.lolonis@democratsabroad.at and we’ll put you on the list to get details. Learn to phone bank on your laptop in 20 minutes, then call with pizza, friends, and encouragement.

 

  

It Was A Super Super Tuesday

Our Vienna Global Presidential Primary voting center was packed and festive last Tuesday as almost two hundred DAA members — and some visitors from other countries — came to cast their ballot for the presidential nominee. Kids also had a great time learning about the voting process in a kid’s activity corner.

Super Tuesday may be over, but we’ll be back again on Saturday! Come join us on Saturday, March 7 from noon to 7pm at Frank’s or votre remotely until March 10.

 

Ballot Assistance Events

DA Austria held three ballot assistance events to help voters fill out their remote ballots and mail them in. Huge thank-you’s to Nathan Shackow who ran an event in Innsbruck; Katie-Solon and Husarich who ran an event in Salzburg; and Caitlin Ahern who ran an online event for Graz.

 

Members Corner:

 

Transatlantic Perspectives on Social Policy in Challenging Times

Event hosted by Bruce Murray

In the aftermath of Brexit, EU citizens confront tough questions about what they can accomplish with the EU 27. US citizens face equally challenging questions about their future in a presidential election year.  Join us for a transatlantic discussion on three key social policy issues EU and US citizens share!

 Healthcare • Higher Education • Labor

Georg Fischer, Retired Director for Social Affairs in the EU Commission DG Employment, and Dr. Bruce Murray, Retired Director, Illinois in Vienna Programs will share their perspectives and invite open discussion on each topic. Together we will strive to discern best practices, explore opportunities to collaborate, and strengthen the transatlantic partnership.

Where: Wirtschaftsuniversität (Vienna University of Economics and Business) TC 2.03 Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna

When: Wednesday, 18 March 2020 from 18.00 to 19.30 (Some will continue the conversation at one of the fine campus eateries afterwards.) 

Please sign up for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/222112658836672/

If you have any questions, please contact Bruce Murray at bamurray1954@yahoo.com


Why the FBAR and FATCA Are Important for Americans

You may know that filing US taxes is a task every American abroad needs to do once a year. But when it comes to reporting your foreign financial details to the IRS, some Americans may be unsure if they have to do that, too.

The truth is, knowing how much is in your foreign financial accounts is crucial in determining whether you need to file for the FBAR or Form 8938. These are two important forms, that if not filled out, could cost you unnecessary penalty fees.

The Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) is a required form every American abroad must fill out if all their foreign financial accounts total over $10,000 at any one time during the year. This also includes accounts you have signature authority over (ie: your child’s overseas bank account, etc). The Department of Treasury needs to know no off-shore money laundering is happening!

To fill out the FBAR, you need to use the FinCen Form 114 electronically. Or, to make things easier, you can use the MyExpatTaxes software which is a more user-friendly, simple-to-understand process. The FBAR is typically due on April 15th, but Americans abroad get an automatic extension to October 15th. Keep in mind though, the FBAR is an additional form you have to fill out separately to the regular federal tax return form - Form 1040. It is sent to the US Treasury, not the IRS.

Form 8938 is important to fill out if your foreign financial assets (ie: bank accounts, investment accounts, and mutual funds) go over one of the following limits:

Single or Married Filing Separately while living abroad as an American:

  • Your total foreign holdings worth $200,000 or more on the last day of the US tax year (April 15th) OR were more than $300,000 at any time during the tax year,

Married Filing Jointly while living abroad as an American:

  • If your total foreign holdings are worth $400,000 or more on the last day of the US tax year (April 15th) or were more than $600,000 at any time during the tax year.

Since 2015, foreign banks under the authorization of the IRS must report to the IRS Americans’ income within their bank accounts. This is why it’s important to file the FBAR and FATCA (Form 8938) correctly.

Additionally, the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) is a US federal law that aims to stop money laundering overseas. In reality, it affects almost all Americans Abroad. Financial institutions worldwide must report the data of their US clients back to the US government annually, and US citizens must also self-report this information if they pass certain financial thresholds discussed below.

Yes, this is the law, and is the reason why you are required to sign authorization forms at your Austrian Bank and give them your US social security number.

— Nathalie Goldstein, CEO of MyExpatTaxes and Enrolled Agent (IRS)

Please note: Democrats Abroad does not endorse companies or service providers. DA Austria reached out to a few tax companies for contributions for both this article and the talk on March 31st at the Republikanischer Club. Only MyExpatTaxes responded. They have also offered Democrats Abroad members a 10% discount to try out the MyExpatTaxes software with code: DemocratsAustria. DAA would like to thank them for sharing their expertise with our members. 


Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary | March 3-10, 2020

Did you know Democrats Abroad holds its own primary election? We send our own delegates to the Democratic Convention. And we have our say in choosing the Democratic nominee for president. Voting in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary instead of your home state is easy for you — and good for all of us.

To vote in the Global Presidential Primary, join Democrats Abroad today!

EASY FOR YOU. No need to request a ballot and post it home again. Simply drop into your local Voting Center. Or download a ballot and email it back. You’ll still need to get an absentee ballot for the general election in November. But, for now, join US voters around the world and vote where you live.

GOOD FOR ALL OF US. Concerned about issues like taxation, FATCA, or Social Security? Voting in the Global Primary shows Congress that we’re out here, in our millions, all around the globe. It gives Democrats Abroad the clout to lobby for us all and make a difference.

NOTE: This is a primary for president only. To vote in local primary races, you can request a ballot from your state. If you do, leave the choice of presidential nominee blank. Don’t vote for president twice!

 

VOTING CENTERS IN AUSTRIA:

Vote in Vienna | Super Tuesday
4–8PM, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Frank's American Bar & Restaurant Laurenzerberg 2, 1010

Vote in Vienna | March 7
12–7PM, Saturday, March 7, 2020
Frank's American Bar & Restaurant
Laurenzerberg 2, 1010 

 

VOTE REMOTELY:

Voters abroad may also vote by downloading a ballot and returning it by email or fax to Democrats Abroad starting February 18, 2020. Ballots must be received by DA by midnight March 10, 2020 (PST)  (9:00am Vienna time (CET) on March 11, 2020). 

Or mail your ballot  to: 

Democrats Abroad Austria

Postfach # 2020

1051 Wien

Ballots must be received by the close of the working day in Vienna on March 10, 2020. 


In February

 

In This Issue—

Events

  • Experienced Dems
  • Mountaintop, An Evening to Benefit DAA’s 2020 Voter Campaign 
  • Salzburg Meet-Up
  • Young Dems Debate Watch Party
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • 2nd Annual Global Black Caucus Open Mic Night
  • Global Presidential Primary, March 3-10
  • Black Caucus Book Club

Issues & Actions

  • Be Our Valentine
  • Global Presidential Primary, March 3-10
  • Save The Date – Annual General Meeting
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Reviews

  • SolSun
  • Debate Watch Party
  • DAATalks with Eva Nowotny

 

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be held on:

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Members are welcome to join us at the meetings! Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location.

 

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date in order to avoid the flood of emails that occurs in an election year. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

Follow us on:

       


In Memory of Gloria Roces

Democrats Abroad Austria is sad to announce the unexpected passing of our longtime member and friend Alexandra "Gloria" Roces. Gloria received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Georgetown University. She then went on to work at the United Nations and became Chief for Mediterranean and UNIDO programs. 

Gloria was a part of DA Austria from the beginning. She remained a very active DAA member who supported our day to day costs as a sustaining donor and participated in many of our monthly events throughout the years. 

We will miss her!

— Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee

 

The Experienced Democrats of Democrats Abroad Austria are truly saddened to learn of the passing of Gloria Roces. Gloria was one of the first to join our group and her participation in and contributions to our meetings will be sorely missed. On behalf of the entire group, I offer our sincerest condolences to her family and friends. 

— John Cahill, Experienced Dems Coordinator

 


Events:

 


The Mountaintop – 

An Evening to Benefit DAA’s 2020 Voter Campaign

Join us for a special evening to watch the play The Mountaintop and benefit Democrat Abroad Austria's 2020 Get Out the Vote efforts. The Mountaintop dramatizes the night before Martin Luther King is assassinated and was described by Variety as, "An emotionally powerful and theatrically stunning moment of truth". As a special offer for our members, the stellar cast will speak to our group after the show while we enjoy a glass of prosecco. 

Please join us on February 18 for this exclusive offer for our Democrats Abroad Austria members!

€36 donation includes the ticket, a glass of prosecco and an after show chat with the cast

€68 donation also includes a signed poster

€100 donation includes a Tuesday evening ticket* to a future Vienna Theatre Project production

We're on the eve of the most important Democratic primary in our lifetime and your contribution goes to Democrats Abroad Austria’s effort to ensure that all Americans living in Austria can vote in 2020. We are volunteers, so 100% of your donation goes to voter outreach. In 2018 the percentage of DA Austria membership that used Vote from Abroad was the highest among all of the other country committees–globally. We’re making sure your donations count!

Tickets are limited! To reserve your seats please make your donation and include "Mountaintop" and the number of tickets on your payment by February 11, 2020 to:

Democrats Abroad Austria  Bank Austria  AT27 12000 5039 062 3001

Reminder: donations can only be accepted from American citizens. 

* The ticket certificate must be used one year from issue.

 

When: February 18, 2020

Where: Theater Drachengasse, Drachengasse 2, Vienna 1010

Time: 8pm-10:30pm

Contact: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper chair@democratsabroad.at

 

Experienced Democrats Meet-Up

Join us before the play for the monthly meeting of experienced Democrats Abroad Austria members!

When: February 18, 2020

Where: Cafe Museum

Time: 6 p.m.

Facebook

 


Young Dems Debate Watch Party

The youth vote will be critical in the 2020 election. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at the next Debate Watch Party at Beaver Brewing Company at 7pm on February 20. Join us for a round of democratic drinks, debate and discussion! 

— Laura Farmwald & Sophie Spiegelberger, Youth Caucus Co-coordinators

When: February 20, 2020

Where: Beaver Brewing Company

Time: 7 p.m.

Facebook

 


Salzburg Meet-Up

Meeting location will either be at a member's home or a local establishment with easy access for all attendees. On January 24, we will meet near, BUT NOT AT, the restaurant Goldener Stern (Stauffeneggstraße 2, 5020 Salzburg). Contact me for the exact location if you want to attend. 

We hope you will join us!

— Mary Beth Kollert, DAA Salzburg 

When: February 21, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Where: Salzburg 5020

Contact: m.kollert@democratsabroad.at for the exact location

 


Solidarity Sundays #30: Global Presidential Campaign

During the 1960 presidential campaign, Democrats in Paris and London began discussing ways to help the Democratic Party. 60 years on, and we’ve come a long way, baby! Democrats Abroad is part of the DNC and sends voting delegates to its National Convention.

On our 3-Year anniversary, Solidarity Sundays continues its monthly program of civics education and training. Join us February 23 and:

Learn! the history of our growing role within the DNC and how our Global Presidential Primary March 3-10 will help select the candidate to face Trump.

Train! to phone bank! Elections are decided by who shows up, so we’re calling members to register and vote. Already know how? Jump right in. Never phone banked before? That’s where we come in -- you’ll know by the end of the day.  

When: Sunday, February 23, 2020

Where: Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Wien

Time: 4-6 p.m.

Facebook

 


2nd Annual Global Black Caucus Open Mic Night

Lift every voice, get every vote!

Please join us as we celebrate Black History Month and share your talents in spoken and written word, poetry, music or movement. This year’s fundraising theme is: Lift every voice, get every vote! All proceeds from this event will support the Get Out the Vote efforts of DA Austria as we head into a crucial election year.

For a 5 or 10 minute time slot, please contact DA Austria GBC coordinator, Faith Herbold. We look forward to seeing you!

When: Friday, February 28, 2020

Where: Villa Vida Café, Linke Wienzeile 102, 1060

Time: 7-10 p.m.

Contact: f.hall-herbold@democratsabroad.at

Facebook

 

Global Presidential Primary

Vote for the presidential nominee in person or online! (See article below)

When: March 3-10

Where: Frank’s American Bar & Restaurant

Time: March 3, 4–8 p.m.

March 7, 12–7 p.m.

Facebook

 


GBC Book Club

Please join us for our next book: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of American's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. We will learn about the waves of migration of freed African American slaves and former sharecroppers. 

When: March 13

Where: Cafe Weimar

Time: 7 p.m.

Facebook

 


Issues & Actions:

Global Presidential Primary

Did you know Democrats Abroad holds its own primary election? We send our own delegates to the Democratic Convention. And we have our say in choosing the Democratic nominee for president. Voting in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary instead of your home state is easy for you — and good for all of us.

To vote in the Global Presidential Primary, join Democrats Abroad today!

EASY FOR YOU. No need to request a ballot and post it home again. Simply drop into your local Voting Center. Or download a ballot and email it back. You’ll still need to get an absentee ballot for the general election in November. But, for now, join US voters around the world and vote where you live.

GOOD FOR ALL OF US. Concerned about issues like taxation, FATCA, or Social Security? Voting in the Global Primary shows Congress that we’re out here, in our millions, all around the globe. It gives Democrats Abroad the clout to lobby for us all and make a difference.

 

VOTING CENTERS IN AUSTRIA

Vote in Vienna | Super Tuesday

4–8 p.m., Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Frank's American Bar & Restaurant, Laurenzerberg 2, 1010

Vote in Vienna | March 7

12–7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7, 2020

Frank's American Bar & Restaurant, Laurenzerberg 2, 1010  

 

REMOTE VOTING

Vote online or by fax:

Voters abroad may also vote by downloading a ballot and returning it by email or fax to Democrats Abroad starting February 18, 2020. Ballots must be received by DA prior to midnight March 10, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada [9:00 a.m. Vienna time (CET) on March 11, 2020].

Or mail your ballot to: 

Democrats Abroad Austria

Postfach # 2020

1051 Wien

Ballots must be received by the close of the working day in Vienna on March 10, 2020. 

NOTE: This is a primary for president only. To vote in local primary races, you can request a ballot from your state. If you do, leave the choice of presidential nominee blank. Don’t vote twice!

 

AVOID THE LINES

We encourage you to pre-register with our database managers at database@democratsabroad.at by:

  • March 2nd, if you plan to vote on March 3rd
  • March 6th, if you plan to vote on March 7th 

Please include your full name, Austrian address, U.S. Voting State (street address is optional), and (Austrian) phone number. 

You will be sent a confirmation email saying that you are pre-registered. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Caitlin Ahern at +43 650 312 5572 or database@democratsabroad.at

We look forward to seeing you at the polls. Thanks for your helping us to run a smooth Global Presidential Primary!

 

Be Our Valentine

Watch your post box this month for a valentine’s postcard from Democrats Abroad Austria. Let us know you received it by liking our Show Your Country Some Love In 2020 campaign on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

 

Annual General Meeting – Save the Date!

Please join fellow Democrat Abroad Austria members on Sunday, March 22, to recap 2019 and have a bit of food and fun. We'll present brief reports on 2019 and discuss our plans for 2020.

All DAA members are welcome. Any American over 18 (by the next federal election) and residing in Austria may also join DAA at the meeting.

Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization for more than fifteen years. In 2020, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and the vote of all our members. We’ve got an important election coming up in November and we are relying on your help to make it a blue tsunami!

Information about the agenda and registration will be in the March Newsletter and online at democratsabroad.org/at_events.

WHEN: Sunday, March 22, 2020 from 3:00-5:30 p.m.

WHERE: SPÖ Neubau, Lindengasse 64, 1070 VIENNA

RSVP: Caitlin Ahern • database@democratsabroad.at

 


We Can’t Win Without You!

DA Austria is looking for a Get Out the Vote Coordinator so together we can dump Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020. Feeling inspired? It will take a village to do all the things we need to do in 2020 and we need your help!

Take our Volunteer Survey

Have an hour to spare? We are looking for volunteers in all areas and with any time availability. Find out more information about how to join our team

 


Reviews:

 

DAA Talks with Ambassador Eva Nowotny

“Foreign Policy Stakes for Austria & Europe in the Trump Era”

Our international system based on human rights and the free movement of people and goods is disintegrating. The attacks come, in part, from Austria’s long-time ally, the United States. At the DAA Talk on January 23rd, Ambassador Eva Nowotny, foreign policy advisor to two Austrian chancellors, and Austria’s ambassador to France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, described the strains and the stakes.

—Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large

READ MORE

 

 

Solidarity Sundays #29:  Amending the Constitution

The United States constitution is often referred to as a “living document,” changing and growing as society moves forward. The tool for those changes is amendment. Ten amendments, collected as the Bill of Rights, were passed soon after the constitution itself.

—Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large & Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator

READ MORE

Visit www.VoteFromAbroad.org and follow its easy-to-understand steps. Register today. Help your friends and family register. Saving democracy has never been easier.

 


DAA Talks with Ambassador Eva Nowotny “Foreign Policy Stakes for Austria & Europe in the Trump Era”

Our international system based on human rights and the free movement of people and goods is disintegrating. The attacks come, in part, from Austria’s long-time ally, the United States. At the DAA Talk on January 23rd, Ambassador Eva Nowotny, foreign policy advisor to two Austrian chancellors, and Austria’s ambassador to France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, described the strains and the stakes.

Nowotny grounded her talk in history. Ambassador Nowotny highlighted America‘s pivotal role in establishing Austria’s post-War democratic system. That, and waves of Austrian immigration to the U.S., created a community of interests that has powered decades of close cooperation between the two countries. The election of Donald Trump, however, marks an abrupt deviation in how America views the world and its obligations. Great power politics— the premise that sheer power compels cooperation rather than mutual interests — has re-emerged after a century of hibernation. The U.S. is discarding treaties and weakening international institutions at break-neck pace — and China is rushing to fill the vacuum. China’s alternative model of economic development without human rights is peeling off European allies in Hungary, Poland, and Turkey.

During the lively discussion following her address, Ambassador Nowotny pointed to two developments occurring outside Washington, DC that encourage Europeans.  Resistance to Trump’s policies has been rising, and environmental discussion is alive and well in states and regions around the country. Although the U.S. government has stepped out of treaties — Iranian nuclear treaty, Paris Climate Accord, TIPP, and the Continental Forces in Europe — Austrian diplomats have maintained communication and cooperation with their American counterparts. And then last week, Trump signalled a shift in attention from Iran to the EU. With Trump threatening a tariff war with Europe, Austria is watching the American election with closer attention than ever before.

—Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large

 


Solidarity Sundays #29: AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION


The United States constitution is often referred to as a “living document,” changing and growing as society moves forward. The tool for those changes is amendment. Ten amendments, collected as the Bill of Rights, were passed soon after the constitution itself.

On Sunday, January 26, Juan Cerda laid out the process for changing our founding document. It begins in Congress — neither President nor Supreme Court play a role. Once approved in the Senate and House, the proposed amendment is sent to the states for their agreement. Three-fourths -- that’s 38 states -- must ratify the amendment in order to attach it to our constitution.

Interest in the amendment process has jumped in recent years. The trend of politicians winning office without a majority of votes is fraying confidence in democracy. New questions about the process emerged when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA. How long may states take to ratify an amendment? Can a state de-ratify it’s ratification? How these issues are resolved may depend on whether Democrats are successful in November.

The fate of voting reform and the ERA are more reasons why your vote in November is critical. Solidarity Sundays kicked off 2020 by looking at how to register voters overseas. Voting from abroad has quirks and complications that voting at home does not. New laws mean we can’t rely on home state election officials to keep us on their voting rolls — so expats need to re-register every calendar year.Our right to vote is protected — but each state has different procedures and deadlines.And not all overseas voters are alike — student voters have different needsthan long-term expats, who have different needs from recent arrivals. With so much complexity, how can we ensure every overseas citizen can vote?

Tanya Lolonis and Faith Hall-Herbold introduced attendees to DA‘s online voter registration website. It anticipates and addresses voters‘ unique questions. Designed by Democrats Abroad, www.VoteFromAbroad.org automates filling in forms — eliminating mistakes that can disqualify your application, and generating contact details so you can submit the form to your hometown election official. The site‘s Help Desk answers most questions about voting from abroad — and where it doesn‘t, the site connects you to volunteers who research and answer your question within a few hours.

Visit www.VoteFromAbroad.org and follow its easy-to-understand steps. Register today. Help your friends and family register. Saving democracy has never been easier.


Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary | March 3-10, 2020

Did you know Democrats Abroad holds its own primary election? We send our own delegates to the Democratic Convention. And we have our say in choosing the Democratic nominee for president. Voting in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary instead of your home state is easy for you — and good for all of us.

To vote in the Global Presidential Primary, join Democrats Abroad today!

EASY FOR YOU. No need to request a ballot and post it home again. Simply drop into your local Voting Center. Or download a ballot and email it back. You’ll still need to get an absentee ballot for the general election in November. But, for now, join US voters around the world and vote where you live.

GOOD FOR ALL OF US. Concerned about issues like taxation, FATCA, or Social Security? Voting in the Global Primary shows Congress that we’re out here, in our millions, all around the globe. It gives Democrats Abroad the clout to lobby for us all and make a difference.

VOTING CENTERS IN AUSTRIA

Vote in Vienna | Super Tuesday
4–8PM, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Frank's American Bar & Restaurant Laurenzerberg 2, 1010

Vote in Vienna | March 7
12–7PM, Saturday, March 7, 2020
Frank's American Bar & Restaurant
Laurenzerberg 2, 1010 

 

Voting is also possible by post and email. Details will be sent to all Democrats Abroad members by email. 

NOTE: This is a primary for president only. To vote in local primary races, you can request a ballot from your state. If you do, leave the choice of presidential nominee blank. Don’t vote twice!