Ever since officially launching the Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) effort at our Annual General Meeting, Democrats Abroad Australia members have declared that enough is enough from the current Republican administration.
Democrats Abroad Australia is an organisation that is built on a network of supporting US Citizens who call Australia home. As we support each other socially, we build this community of Americans who live overseas and still believe in making a difference.
We mobilise because we know every vote matters in this election.
Democrats Abroad Australia volunteers across the country have been calling other members to ensure that we have all requested our ballot using the VoteFromAbroad absentee ballot request.
Volunteers from many State Chapters have jumped online to make calls, whether this be together at social meetups for a phonebank or from the comfort of one’s own home.
John Driggers, Democrats Abroad volunteer from South Australia says of the importance of phone banking:
"The last presidential election was decided by just thousands of votes. Seventeen congressional seats were decided by margins of 5% or less. Republican Darrell Issa in California was re-elected by a margin of .05%. Democrat Rick Nolan in Minnesota took his seat with a margin of .06%. I am convinced that the single most useful thing I can do for the 2018 elections is to help get out the expat vote.”
We have contacted hundreds of members and will contact everyone to be sure that everyone is set to receive their ballot for the midterm election!
The start of winter has welcomed the start of the new academic year and many students from the US have landed to study at academic institutions across Australia as part of their Study Abroad or Exchange.
We have been out to greet them, canvassed at numerous campuses with voter registration booths, provided hundreds of flyers and advice on how they can make sure that their vote counts.
A leader in our effort has been the incredible team of the NSW Chapter. Already a core team of volunteers have taken the initiative to stage voter registration awareness events at University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and University of New South Wales with some encouraging results and several future events planned.
Layne Mostyn, Democrats Abroad Queensland volunteer coordinator writes:
“We all know how critical this midterm election will be to the fate of our first country, and every vote counts! There are thousands of young US citizens studying in Australia - many of them first-time voters trying to navigate a confusing process - who care deeply about the issues we all face but may need support or a nudge in the right direction.”
We continue to reach out to University staff, student clubs, and campus communication channels, asking them to help us get the word out.
A staple of Democrats Abroad Australia is how we support each other. As we resist Trumpism, we resist the politics of division - and this means that we support one another through meetups and social events as part of our organisation.
Our State Chapters have regular meetings and meetups where members come together and discuss what is most important about being a US citizen abroad.
This of course includes at the moment our ambitious GOTV effort, movie watch parties, social hour at the pub, information on taxation abroad and much more.
“I have found that regularly scheduled meet ups are a great opportunity for members to be engaged. I think people generally want to feel connected and regular meet-ups are like
low hanging fruit. The NSW Chapter meet-ups see anywhere from 15-25 members showing up every month. We chat about GOTV efforts and have some friendly banter. Meet-ups are like the glue that holds the chapter together” states Democrats Abroad NSW Chapter Chair Marla Minow.
All members from all over Australia are welcome and encouraged to attend our meetings and any US citizen can join Democrats Abroad on the spot!
We know that there are nearly 100,000 US Citizens living Down Under and Democrats Abroad Australia is making a coordinated effort online to attempt to reach this audience!
Online and in social media, Democrats Abroad Australia is seeking to reach the nearly 100,000 US Citizens living Down Under.
Using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, we are sharing information about how any US citizen can use the VoteFromAbroad website to request their ballot.
Democrats Abroad Australia Social Media Coordinator Shanna Nurkin writes:
"Paid media allows us to message specific audiences (including US expats over 18) and ensure that we get in touch with the people online. We’ll always reach out using print, face-to-face and phonebanking but digital media allows us a cost-efficient solution to Get Out The Vote!”
Democrats Abroad Australia is committed to taking back the House and the Senate for the crucial midterm elections of 2018.
We will have no regrets in our efforts to Get Out The Vote.
There are numerous attacks on our democracy back home with voter suppression being rampant. Absentee ballots have won close elections in the past and every vote counts.
These efforts and more will continue until election day on 6th November 2018.
We welcome all members in Democrats Abroad Australia to be involved!
National Chair, Democrats Abroad Australia
Democrats Abroad Australia (Democratic Party Caucus Abroad, DPCA) is the official overseas wing of the Democratic Party for American citizens living outside the US and its territories.
It’s a question well worth asking.
Especially now, we must be bold enough to ask this in the face of the current administration.
Whether we have been in Australia for decades or just months, we look at the United States in disbelief at the depths to which the current administration continually takes our country.
It isn’t just one man, but a segment of our national character that has brought out the worst.
If we dare to contemplate it, this is indeed not just the actions of one individual. Not only does the current administration need to change, but does something much more within our culture.
When we contemplate this, we realise: we are not just resisting Trump, but resisting Trumpism.
When we resist Trumpism, something changes. The conversation, the dynamic, the focus the subject matter of what are we are truly up against. This forces us to have a look at the long ascendancy of attacks on equality and justice throughout the United States.
We wake up to the unfortunate fact that there is a history of division in our country, one which we continually strive to change.
Thus to truly resist Trump, we must focus on the factors which allow the politics of division to flourish.
We know that we are inclusive in our organisation, we firmly hold that no one should be disadvantaged in any way because of their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion. However, the problems facing America now cut across the definitions of identity politics.
So when we talk of the politics of division, we must also focus on the structural issues facing America.
This in fact evolves our definition of what it means to be political. Politics is everywhere, touches every aspect of our lives, every action is a political one. This is not to reduce life’s complexity to the level of partisanship, no, absolutely not.
This means that we need a sense of community and belonging that have not been part of our narrative. We need to inject this awareness and practice into the political sphere.
We need a new political discourse that does not divide on the level of identity politics and does not cower behind ideology.
What is needed is a real empathetic space where political issues can be debated, where leaning in is the default when seeing disagreement. It is holding the politics of division and allowing an accountable discourse to occur where the result is inclusion rather than exclusion.
We will have disagreements, from within our own party at times, but we cannot avoid or nullify our difference through avoiding debate on real issues facing us. What we need to learn is the tools of compassion to hold disagreement while still ardently seeking reform and unity.
It is only in this space that Trumpism will be defeated. Simultaneously, we must face difficult decisions of how our structural politics has not benefited those most vulnerable and in need. Our middle class has all but disappeared, the “working poor” is a reality and many Americans suffer the effects of staggering inequality.
The stories are countless: single mothers working two full time jobs to make ends meet, a generation of tradespeople seeing their careers evaporate or exported overseas without a system of job-retraining, students facing insecure working environment with escalating student debt and many many Americans are suffering financially due to exorbitant healthcare costs.
When the “economy” is discussed on the news, when do we hear about the effects on normal Americans? What is their life like? Where are their stories?
As Martin Luther King Jr said: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and although some of us may be in relative positions of privilege, that does not mean we avoid the threat facing America and so many of its residents.
We cannot snap our fingers and to make all of this end. We must be aware that this trend has continued for some time and is getting worse.
We will not be able to achieve equality immediately, that is real.
However, that does not mean we should limit our aspirations, settle for mediocrity, nor defer our ambitions.
We of course need to be realistic but we cannot accept anything less than the intention to make our home the best it can be and truly hold up to the “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” principle we hold as sacrosanct.
This midterm election year will be crucial in our efforts to this end.
As we assertively continue with our Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in Democrats Abroad Australia, we also find unity in our local meetings that bring people together for a sense of community.
As we call Australia home, we desire what is best for our friends and family back home.
Through our intention and our actions, is how we will create the America we want.
Democrats Abroad Australia, National Chair
We will be watching the results live on CNN at the Aurora Hotel from 10am. Bring your friends + family, coworkers or come on your own and meet some new friends. Let's gather together and acknowledge the accomplishments of our membership in getting out the vote for this important mid-term election.
Looking forward to seeing you all on the 7th!
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