News

Follow us!

FOLLOW_US.png        Support_us.png

iconfinder_facebook_circle_294710.png iconfinder_instagram_circle_294711.png iconfinder_youtube_circle_294712.png iconfinder_twitter_circle_294709.png        Donate.png


Homeless in the Pandemic 

As a social worker for homeless people in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, I'm often asked what it's like for my clients. There are three answers to that question! 

First, for people who are eligible for homelessness services, a truly wide and fairly high-quality network of help and housing exists. These are the adequately funded social structures that we so painfully miss in the US. Also, in general, shelters here are light years better than the overcrowded and underfunded facilities we generally know back home. Check out what's offered by the City of Vienna, for example: https://www.wien.gv.at/sozialinfo/content/en/10/SearchResults.do?keyword=Accommodation+for+homeless+persons. During the pandemic, the City and service providers have instituted comprehensive measures to ensure that everybody in the shelters stays safe. Where I work, not one of the three dozen men who live in the facility has become noticeably ill, nor has any of the staff. Nothing's perfect – for example only now is facility-wide virus screening beginning – so I do often worry. But if I were working the cash register at a grocery store, I'd be much more worried.  

Second, if you're homeless but not eligible for temporary housing or regular emergency shelters because you're not Austrian or not a "settled" foreigner ... well, you're in trouble. Then you must rely on underfunded and overcrowded emergency shelters that don't look so very different to those in the US, or on the spacious parks. For women, this often means trading sex for a space to sleep. In the winter, however, the City does provide almost a thousand extra emergency beds, known as the "Winterpaket". Every April these emergency shelters close, but this year, they remain open and people there can stay all day, not just at night. I had to visit one such shelter with a client a few weeks ago and I must say, I was shocked. The resources for Corona protection were lacking, and compliance with social distancing was really not in evidence, neither by the overworked staff nor by the clients. I called it a ticking time bomb and indeed, just a few days ago we read about it in the news: homeless shelter with some 200 people under quarantine. I hate being right. https://kurier.at/chronik/wien/corona-alarm-obdachlosenunterkunft-in-wien-gesperrt/400844672

Third, even with such relatively good social policy, too many people are sleeping rough, are hungry and are ill without health insurance. If you want to help, try these organizations:

— Antje Lewis, DAA member and Founding Mother

 


In May –

In This Issue –

Events:

  • Phone Banking Training
  • Women’s Caucus - Legalize Equality
  • Young Dems Movie Night
  • Cleve Jones Webinar
  • Pride Event – Drag Queen Bingo

Issues & Actions:

  • DAA Video! Why I'll Vote in November
  • New Asian American/Pacific Islander Caucus
  • Rapid Response – Save the USPS
  • 2020 DA Platform
  • Are you on Instagram?
  • Gearing up for 2020 –
    • Breaking the Bubble
    • Phone Banking
    • Volunteers Needed 

Reviews:

  • Pub Quiz
  • Quarantini
  • The CARES Act - What’s In It?

Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the link. 

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:

  

D O N A T E 

 

 


Events:

Phone Bank Training

May 18. 6:30 p.m.

 

Legalize Equality - Film Screening & Discussion

May 26, 12 p.m.-1:30 p.m. 

 

Young Dems Movie Night

May 28, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

 

Sol Sun & The LGBTI Caucus Host Cleve Jones 

Sunday, May 31, 5 p.m. CEST/11 a.m. EST 

 

Pride Event – Drag Queen Bingo

June 13, TBA 

 


Issues & Actions:

 

Why I'll Vote in November

DA Austria members got together after our last Solidarity Sundays meeting to create some social media content for our 2020 get out the vote effort. Take a look at the video! Would you like to participate or have an idea for our next video? Contact Tanya Lolonis at solidaritysundays@democratsabroad.at

 

New Democrats Abroad Caucus

An Asian American/Pacific Islander Caucus is being formed at the DA Global level. Please email Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at if you are interested in helping with the AAPI global caucus from Austria. All are welcome.

To find out more about Democrats Abroad Global Caucuses and to join, please see here.

 

Help Save the US Postal Service 

Rapid Response Needed: Destroy the Post Office, and you destroy democracy. We must take action to save the USPS, here, and to learn how to use ResistBot at the same time. “Simply put, if you hate the Post Office then you hate America.... We need to all lean on our members of Congress — regardless of party — to lean on the White House to save our Post Office before September.”

 

2020 Democrats Abroad Platform

The working draft of the 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform is now available (click here to download and open the PDF file): Draft - 2020 Platform. The platform expresses DA’s political values and policy goals, and is the result of over 10,000 comments submitted over the past six months. Please provide YOUR comment here: Platform Feedback Form. Please respond by May 15, ideally earlier, as electors will vote on the platform during the DA Regional Conventions (May 16) and Global Convention (June 6).

 

Are You on Instagram? 

Follow us on Instagram @demsaustria for easy reminders and updates all in one place: from events to electoral news and information on how to vote from abroad!

   

 

Gearing Up for 2020 –

Breaking the Bubble Lots of Americans living abroad don’t know they have a legal right to vote or that they must re-register in every calendar year. We phone bank to remind people to register and request their ballot because this is the most effective way to reach our members (see below).

But what about all those other Americans overseas who are embarrassed to say they are from the US, horrified by the president’s actions and statements, and don’t realize they have the power to enact change?

We want to break the information bubble. Help us reach out to American voters by telling your friends and family, colleagues and acquaintances, heck, even the American in line next to you at the market, to go to votefromabroad.org and register to vote. It’s non-partisan, takes 5 minutes, and there is a chat box to answer any questions. 

Why? Because voting is a civic duty. 

 

Phone Banking We’ve got a new country campaign up to reach all our members before summer and remind them to register and request their ballot. Will you join our team of phone banking volunteers and get out the vote in 2020?

You know how important a huge Democratic turnout will be in November’s election - the need for change is so painfully clear - and under our current circumstances, the best way to reach overseas voters is by phone banking. Our call may be the only contact members get about voting. Voting from abroad is complex and they appreciate the reminders and support that we offer. 

Become a DA Austria phone banker! Join our phone banking training on May 18 at 6:30 p.m. and we’ll help you get set up and calling in no time. 

 

Raise Your Hand and Volunteer with DA Austria! The only way we can dump Trump, keep Congress, and flip the Senate is by getting all Americans in Austria to register, request, and return their ballot for the November election. It’s all hands on board and we need your help! We have lots of interesting opportunities for you to work on wherever you may be located in Austria. Below are a few wishes our teams have:

Phone Banking: Making calls to potential voters abroad is one of the most important volunteer jobs you can do! Most Americans abroad aren't called in an election even once (those back home are called hundreds of times). This is the job for you if you have a good internet connection and are looking for a way to hold onto the House, flip the Senate, and take back the White House. We know this election is going to be a challenge — calling our members is the most effective way of getting out the vote!

Time commitment: no minimum required. You set your own hours to call.

READ MORE

 


Reviews:

Pub Quiz 

A pandemic that is far less dangerous than the one we are experiencing right now, is the global craze for trivia nights. The Young Dems hosted their very first Virtual Pub Quiz on April 16. Questions revolved around democratic candidates and presidents of the past and future, accompanied by the newest Buttijams and Grammy Winners who just so happen to also have been presidents. Our virtual pub is the next best thing to a real one; a great spot to meet other Young Dems and enjoy some trivia!

– Laura Farmwald, Youth Caucus Co-Coordinator

Quarantini 

Despite lockdown, April was a busy month for Democrats Abroad Austria! On April 18, the Communications Committee invited DAA members for its first-ever Happy Hour, though the meeting might have been in cyberspace, the alcohol was real! Topics ranged from how to effectively conduct voter registration in the time of COVID-19, to our favorite quarantine baking recipes and pets. Stay tuned for our next Happy Hour (hopefully in person): a great opportunity to catch up and get to know other DAA members over your favorite drink! 

– Sophie Spiegelberger, Communications Chair

 

Solidarity Sundays #31: 

A $2.3 Trillion Stimulus Package, What’s in it for Me?

From our homes in Vienna, Solidarity Sundays activists conducted an online oversight hearing on the US government’s response to the COVID-19 unemployment crisis. At $2.3 trillion, the CARES Act is the largest economic stimulus bill in modern history. DA Vice Chair Juan Cerda showed us where the money is going. 

READ MORE

– Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large

 

 

Thanks for reading.

See you in June for our next issue!


Solidarity Sundays #31 Review

A $2.3 Trillion Stimulus Package, What’s in it for Me?

From our homes in Vienna, Solidarity Sundays activists conducted an online oversight hearing on the US government’s response to the COVID-19 unemployment crisis. At $2.3 trillion, the CARES Act is the largest economic stimulus bill in modern history. DA Vice Chair Juan Cerda showed us where the money is going.

30%:  Individuals and Families are receiving $1,200 tax rebates from the IRS. Individuals require a Social Security number, couples filing jointly both need Social Security numbers. Families receive an additional $500 for each child under 18. The rebate is reduced for high-income earners. The federal government is topping up state unemployment payments by $600 per week, and gig workers and freelancers are included.

25%:  Large corporations taking federal loans are barred from engaging in stock buybacks (but may offset COVID losses against past profits to increase their payouts). The largest group benefiting from the stimulus:  commercial and cargo airlines, and their contractors.

19%:  The loan pool for small businesses to keep employees on the payroll, all $350 bn of it, ran out in 13 days. An additional stimulus bill was passed with $310 bn. Banks disperse the loans, so businesses without bank relationships — Mom and Pop stores, neighborhood cafés — are locked out. The biggest portion went to companies with large market capitalization.

17%:  At the insistence of Sen. McConnell, state & local government grants are restricted to COVID-19 expenditures and cannot cover budget deficits. States project revenue losses of $500 bn for the next two years.

9%:  Public service grants are earmarked for healthcare providers, Medicare payments to virus patients, the Strategic National Stockpile, the CDC, and food security programs.

Juan ended by highlighting who is left out of the stimulus:  the undocumented and nonresidents who make up our most vulnerable — that is, essential — workers during the pandemic. Also excluded are DACA recipients, small business owners, Indian reservations, and those unable to file unemployment claims due to system overload.

After our oversight hearing, Sunday’s attendees recorded messages for a short video. Why? Tanya Lolonis explained that social media is where the war for November is being fought, and the GOP has a huge structural advantage:  they spent 40 years hating the media and building their own news ecosystem. Republican groups are adept at creating content and pushing it onto Facebook. Democrats are outgunned by Fox, Breitbart, and 1,000 outlets you have never heard of.

So we looked at how everyone can amplify our progressive message on social media. Text, photos, sounds, and videos (like ours!) are pieces of content. Using the supercomputer in our pockets, we can share that content with dozens or hundreds of our contacts. Want your content to be engaging so your friends will share it with their friends? Emotions drive engagement, and nothing is speedier than rage. Awe and wonder, emotions increasing desire for emotional connection, come a close second. This is why posting your personal story moves faster and further on social media.

Here are two things you can do from quarantine to help Democrats in November. One, we need phone bankers. We need a lot of people to each make a few calls. We need you now. Email solidaritysundays@democratsabroad.at and we’ll show you how easy it is to do from home. And two, use that pocket supercomputer of yours to share content and amplify our progressive message. Create content, and visit Democrats Abroad Austria on social media and share ours:  find us on Twitter (@DemsAustria), Facebook (Democrats Abroad Austria) and Instagram (demsaustria).

– Tanya Lolonis




Raise Your Hand and Volunteer with DA Austria! 

The only way we can dump Trump, keep Congress and flip the Senate is by getting all Americans in Austria to register, request, and return their ballot for the November election. It’s all hands on board and we need your help! We have lots of interesting opportunities for you to work on wherever you may be located in Austria. Below are a few requests our teams have:

Phonebanking: Making calls to potential voters abroad is one of the most important volunteer jobs you can do! Most Americans abroad aren't called in an election even once (those back home are called hundreds of times). This is the job for you if you have a good internet connection and are looking for a way to hold onto the House, flip the Senate, and take back the White House. We know this election is going to be a challenge — calling our members is the most effective way of getting out the vote!

Time commitment no minimum required. You set your own hours to call.

Voter registration events and outreach: DA Austria will be setting up voter registration events for the 2020 Elections. It’s one of our best ways to personally reach out to US citizens to help them figure out what they need to do to vote from abroad. The team needs a co-coordinator as well as volunteers to help at events both in Vienna and especially in other cities in Austria.

Time commitment Co-coordinator minimum 1-2 hours per week during Fall 2020. Voter Registration Volunteer no minimum required.

Outreach Coordinators: The study abroad outreach team is looking for volunteers to help with contacting (by phone and email) study abroad programs and coordinating outreach to students leading up to the elections. We especially need people outside of Vienna who can contact local programs! 

Time commitment  minimum 1-2 hours per week during elections.

Press Co-coordinator: Are you a journalist or have experience in communications? Are you fluent in German and English? We are looking for someone to help coordinate our media outreach and press contacts.

Time commitment  minimum 1-2 hours per week especially during elections.

 

Not seeing the role you have in mind? Please get in touch, your ideas are what we need!

Whether you are used to working in a virtual environment or in person — if you are a good team player, these are great roles for you. For more information about any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact me at chair@democratsabroad.at

Only together with all of our efforts will we succeed to hold onto the House, flip the Senate, and take back the White House. Thank you for being a part of our team!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper Chair, Democrats Abroad Austria

 


CARES Act & You

 

Many thanks to everyone who joined our webinar on the CARES Act and Americans abroad. Thanks also to everyone who donated to support getting out the vote around the world. Every dollar you give supports our work to elect Democrats who will fight to make a better life for ALL Americans. If you haven't had the chance yet to donate and are interested, here's the link to the webinar's donation page.

We also wanted to make sure you were able to review the slides following the call, they are here: http://superstore.softwarespinner.com/s/J28yFczkaNnpL9n

And if you missed the webinar or are interested in reviewing some parts of it, here is the video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSvtS-cFLCU

For more information about the advocacy work that our taxation task force team does, please visit: http://www.democratsabroad.org/taxation.

As always, note that Democrats Abroad does not provide personal tax advice or recommendations. We recommend that you engage a qualified, professional tax adviser to address questions related to your personal financial situation.


In April –

In This Issue –

DA Austria Events:

  • Young Dems Online Pub Quiz Night 
  • CARES Act and You: What It Means for Americans Abroad
  • Quarantini Happy Hour
  • Virtual Call Hub Party
  • Solidarity Sundays

Online Events organised by other DA groups:

  • Suppressed Film Screening/GOTV Ideas Discussion 
  • Earth Day Panel Discussion
  • GBC Cafe - III 

Issues & Actions:

  • Run to be a Delegate at the Democratic Convention
  • The Activists To Do List
  • Coronavirus Act provisions and implementation for Americans Abroad
  • The ACA Is More Valuable Than Ever

Reviews:

  • Global Presidential Primary
  • Annual General Meeting

Members Corner:

  • Special Offer from Seymann’s Winery 

 

Mark your calendars:

  • May 16-17:  Online Regional Conventions (tentative dates, pending waiver request approval)
  • June 6-7:  Online Global Convention & Global Meeting (tentative dates, pending waiver request approval)
  • Week of August 17: Democratic National Convention
  • Nov 3:  The moment we've all been working for!

 

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

  • 7pm Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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

 

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: 

 

Young Dems Virtual Pub Quiz

Join us for our first online Pub Quiz!

Bring your own beer and enjoy democratic trivia accompanied by (some of) the presidential candidates' playlists from the comfort of your own home.

Where: Online

When: 7-10pm, April 10, 2020

RSVP for the link by sending an email to youthcaucus@democratsabroad.at

Find this event on Facebook 

 

CARES Act & You: What It Means for Americans Abroad

DA Austria and DA Global are excited to host a fundraising tax webinar to support DA’s phone banking campaign to reach our members around the world!

In this webinar, ex-pat tax expert, Nathalie Goldstein MsC, EA and CEO of My Expert Taxes, will discuss the implications of the legislation on Americans living abroad, how to go about requesting a stimulus check, and other Expat 101 tax basics. There will be plenty of time for a question and answer session. 

Please note that Democrats Abroad does not endorse any particular company nor give tax advice. 

Where: Online

Donation: $10

When: April 15, 2020 at 7pm CET

RSVP on the Democrats Abroad Website 

 

Quarantini Happy Hour

Grab a glass, mix your favourite cocktail or sip a cup of herbal tea and join our first Quarantini Happy Hour for a relaxing evening get-together to catch up and meet new people!

See you there!

Where: Online

When: April 18, 2020 from 7-10PM

RSVP: Please email communications@democratsabroad.at for link.

 

Virtual Call Hub Party

Phone banking is the most effective way to reach our members and remind them to register, request, and vote their ballot. It is also easy and fun! 

We want to call all our members in the next few months. Help us reach this goal by learning how to use the CallHub program. Join us for an online phone banking party and we will help you get set up and comfortable in no time!

Where: Online

When: April 20, 2020 from 6-7:30PM

RSVP: please email chair@democratsabroad.at for the link

 

Solidarity Sundays

The most massive emergency aid package in US history is now law, a $2 trillion stimulus package to help the US economy fight the devastating spread of COVID-19. The stimulus package represents a massive financial injection into a struggling economy to help American workers, small businesses, and industries grappling with economic disruption. However, what's really in it? Who really does this package benefit? What's in it for you and your family? Join us at our next Solidarity Sunday to find out. 

As we continue to practice social distance, there will no meet up in-person. Please register to receive the video teleconference link to: vicechair@democratsabroad.at Visit us on Facebook.

Where: Online

When: April 26, 2020 from 4-6pm

RSVP for the link at vicechair@democratsabroad.at

 

OTHER DA EVENTS ONLINE:

Suppressed – Film Screening 

Our Virtual Film Nights continue with a discussion on the documentary, "Suppressed - The Fight to Vote". This short 38-minute documentary reveals the rampant voter suppression behind the 2018 midterm elections in Georgia.

Watch the film at your leisure on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03DGjnIkTdI) and join us for a discussion with DAB volunteer, Robin Lofton, a social justice writer, historian, and progressive activist who led us through our Black History Month Lunch last month.

Zoom details will be sent when you RSVP - here's to Confinement Cinema!

Where: Online Hosted by DA Belgium

When: April 23, 2020 from 7:30PM

RSVP for the link at Suppressed

 

 

Earth Day Anniversary – Panel Discussion

Is Climate Change a gender issue?  What are the impacts of environmental conditions on infectious diseases? How can empowering women save the planet from climate collapse? 

You’ll be surprised at the answers…

Where: Online Hosted by DA Germany

When: April 21, 2020 at 7PM

RSVP for the link on the Democrats Abroad Website

 

Global Black Caucus Cafe III

This will be our third GBC Cafe. In this interactive event, we will discuss a topic that is TBD but interesting none the less.

Everyone is welcome to join. We had a great discussion last time and we hope you will join us for what should again be a lively discussion.

This is an online event. You will receive the connection information in an email after your RSVP.

Where: Online Hosted by DA Germany

When: April 28, 2020 at 4-7PM

RSVP for the link on the Democrats Abroad Website

 


ISSUES & ACTIONS:

 

Run to be a Delegate at the Democratic Convention

If you (or someone you know) is interested in running to be a delegate candidate, please fill out a nomination form. Forms are due on April 17th. Two delegate candidate workshops are now available on the DA website to answer your questions:

Delegate Workshop on April 11

Delegate Workshop on April 13

Or, don’t hesitate to contact me at chair@democratsabroad.atwith any questions you may have!

A Message from the Affirmative Action Committee —

During the week of August 17th, the Democrats Abroad (DA) delegation will join with others at the Democratic National Convention to formally choose our nominee for President of the United States. This is a great honor and among the most important civic roles one can have as a U.S. citizen living abroad.

We will once again have a fired-up delegation casting our votes with all the other Democratic state parties' delegates in showing support and unity among us. You may recall from 2016 our delegation was prominently shown on media stations around the world!

With great interest in attending the national Convention, this is the moment for all interested Democrats Abroad members to submit their declaration of delegate candidacy. Any DA member is eligible to run, and the Affirmative Action Committee strongly emphasizes the importance of DA members from historically-underrepresented backgrounds to run as delegate candidates in showing the world the diversity of our Party and our members around the world.

Forms to declare delegates’ candidacy are now available online. Please encourage your country committee’s members, state chapters, caucuses, task forces, and other leaders and members to fill it out as soon as possible and return it no later than April 17th.

-The Democrats Abroad Affirmative Action Committee-

Questions or comments? E-mail: diversity@democratsabroad.org

 

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! For lots of ideas listen to this podcast – What To Do Online Right Now

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 Plouffeepisode “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. We need your help! 

READ MORE


Coronavirus Act Provisions and Implementation for Americans Abroad

Americans abroad are clearly very keen to know: if they are eligible for things like the Recovery Rebate; what amount of aid they might collect; and how and when the aid will be delivered.  It is fair to say that lockdown-related job and income losses are causing a great deal of stress, with people clearly feeling scared and financially vulnerable.

DA’s Taxation Task Force has published this information about the CARES Act on the Taxation page of the DA Website. 

However, there is currently not a lot of clarity available from Treasury about how the aid will be delivered or when it will be received.  Those uncertainties are even more profound for Americans abroad. 

We are currently drafting a CARES Act FAQs document. But it may not be populated with very useful responses for some days (or longer). We will forward a link to the FAQs document soon and message you when we have material updates.

DA’s Taxation Task Force


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.

READ MORE

 


REVIEWS:

 

Global Presidential Primary 

From March 3–10, 2020, the Global Presidential Primary took place at 230 voting centers and hundreds of Ballot Assistance Events around the world. Thank you to all our members who voted in person in Vienna on March 3 or March 7, or came to a Ballot Assistance events in Graz, Innsbruck, or Salzburg, and to all of you who voted remotely either by mail or electronically. I’d also like to give a big thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make these events a success!

Globally, two candidates reached the 15% threshold and will have delegates apportioned to them proportionately — Bernie Sanders received 57,9% of the vote winning 9 DA delegates and Joe Biden won 22.7% of the vote winning 4 delegates. DA has a total of 21 delegates that will go to the convention — the 13 pledged delegates that were proportionately determined in the GPP and the 8 unpledged delegates who each carry ½ vote. There was an important rule change made after the 2016 primary and unpledged delegates will only be able to cast a vote in case of a second round of voting for the nominee. 

Anyone interested in running to be a delegate should fill out the nomination form by April 17. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

DA Austria had a 24% increase in voter turnout in 2020 vs 2016. Thank you for casting your ballot for the presidential nominee with Democrats Abroad! 

— Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair 

 

Annual General Meeting

DA Austria held its first-ever online Annual General Meeting on March 22, 2020. Despite the challenges involved, thirty-eight DAA members attended — about the number that have attended our in-person AGM’s in past years.

The various Chair, Treasurer and Auditors’ reports showed that DA Austria is an active and growing organization. We were able to cover costs incurred by our many events in 2019 through the generosity of our sustaining donors, a fundraiser, and swag sales.Solidarity Sunday’s room rental costs were covered by a generous donation from an anonymous donor.

DA Austria had a record breaking 259 people who became members between February 1st and March 10th. Most did so in order to vote in the Global Presidential Primary. 

Faith Herbold, GOTV coordinator, and Caitlin Ahern, database manager, led an online Get out the Vote training workshop before the meeting. Keep an eye out for future training events to help us get out the vote for November!

Thank you to everyone who joined the meeting and stayed for the nice chat afterwards. You can watch a recording of the meeting here.

— Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair 

 


MEMBERS CORNER:

 

Special Offer!

Seymann’s Winery had planned to do a wine tasting after our Annual General Meeting, but instead has offered DA Members free delivery on a Spring Fever Wine Tasting Box. 

Mix it up, choose your favorite wines in their webshop with the note „DemAbroad“ … 6 bottles or more will be sent by DPD delivery service. 

Seymann takes care of the shipping charges #thinkglobalbuylocal

 


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