News

Voting our issues! By Karin Lippert, Chair, Women’s Caucus, Toronto Chapter

The issues matter. Getting out the VOTE matters. It all matters because we can’t afford to lose. So much has already been lost, trashed and discredited. The Toronto and Canada Women’s Caucus Groups have an opportunity to have a big impact in 2020. It is also a big job. Sometimes the news and noise from across the border is deafening, but we intend to power on. Our goal is to break some records with the numbers of women registered and voting in the upcoming election.

Most important, we are going to vote our issues and those that impact every American. We know from our Women’s Marches, potluck dinners, actions like #WeBelieveWomen in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, debate-watch events, and fun nights like the Second City all-women show we attended together in Toronto that we have women voters who care. We have to continue to engage them.

These are some of the issues we are fighting for (sadly some many decades old!):

· ERA -- #ERANOW – We’re hopeful the ERA finally passes before the election. We are not yet in the U.S. Constitution and won’t rest until we are.

· ABORTION – Our support of #STOPTHEBANS – is unwavering and consistent with our goals as activists and feminists. Women’s reproductive rights impact all of us. With the wave of legislation criminalizing abortion being passed we need to keep pushing that issue:

#My BodyMyChoice.

· VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN – Earlier this month we honoured the 14 young women killed in the Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal in 1989. Those women – killed by a young man because they were women and feminists – are a stark reminder of the danger women face in our culture and in cultures around the world.

· CLIMATE CHANGE -- This is the crisis that is everyone’s issue. Many of us are participating in the #ClimateStrike events in solidarity with youth. We need to protect our children and our children’s children.

These issues and many more require that our GOTV efforts be doubled and tripled this year. The impeachment in the House will not solve it. Trump has the biggest pulpit in the world. But WE have the numbers to win. That’s our Trump card.

For more on how to join or start a Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus in your chapter email: womenscaucus@democratsabroad.org


+

Chapter Spotlight: Canada’s Capital Region chapter brings in the voters

The geography covered by Canada’s Capital Region chapter is best marked by the rivers: the Gatineau, St. Lawrence and the Ottawa. “It’s a huge territory,” explains Rachel Eugster, the chapter’s vice-chair, “reaching all the way east to southwestern Quebec, then stretching west to Kingston. We’re trying to hold debate watches in these different areas.” At the hub, of course, is Ottawa and environs, where nearly 80 percent of the chapter’s 860 members live. It’s a challenge, admits David Schellenberg, chapter chair, to organize over such a large area. “We have endless discussions about how much we need to find and bring in more Americans. They’re out there.”

While Eugster was a member of an earlier incarnation of the CCR chapter – organizing events such as inauguration balls after Obama was elected and re-elected – Schellenberg was spurred to join Dems Abroad as Trump’s candidacy was heating up. “I remember sitting on the couch watching TV and realizing he might just win. I knew I had to do something.” Five people, including Lissette Wright, treasury chair for DA Canada, as well as treasurer for DA Global, came together in 2015. “We were all thinking the same thing,” says Schellenberg.

A sign of that collective energy was election night 2016, when the chapter organized an event at the Heart & Crown, an Irish pub in Byward Market. “It became the place in Ottawa to watch the returns,” says Schellenberg. “The entire bar was watching CNN. Both CBC and CTV hosted national shows that night and used our event, with reporters doing live hits back to both networks. It grew from just being a Democrats Abroad thing to being a big, non-partisan thing.”

Media is something Schellenberg, who also serves as communications chair for DA Canada, understands well. As co-host of the Morning Start-Up show on Live 88.5 FM, an alternative-rock radio station, for the past 11 years, he knows how important exposure is and how challenging it can be to get that exposure. Another challenge: how to juggle it all. Like Schellenberg, Eugster works more than full time as a theatre director, musician, actor, writer, choir director and editor. “My professional life is multi-streamed,” she says. “DA got added in as an extra layer.” “We’re all people with full-time jobs already,” Schellenberg says of the chapter’s board. “We don’t have enough hours in the day for all the ideas we have.”

Those ideas will carry the chapter into 2020. “I just want people to vote, to be involved in the political process,” says Schellenberg, a goal he shares with his co-chair. “Canada has this unique challenge, with so many ‘hidden’ Americans,” says Eugster, “but how do we find those people? Most would vote if they knew they could.” Globally, she’s hopeful “we’ll flip the Senate, change presidents and pass the ERA.” 

It'll be accomplished through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers across Canada educating Americans on their right to vote. If you're interested in volunteering in 2020 please contact the DemsAbroad Canada Volunteer Manager through this email.

+

Volunteer Spotlight: Toronto DA Member Stephanie Perry

Stephanie Perry has one piece of advice for Dems Abroad members lying awake at night stressing about U.S. politics: Get up and make some phone calls. Perry, member-at-large for DA’s Toronto chapter, should know. She was second in phonebanking calls from Canada in the lead-up to the 2018 mid-terms and number one for the Toronto call centre. “When I get up in the middle of the night to phonebank, it gives me hope and resolve. That’s a good use of my time.”

Perry, a former tax attorney in the U.S. Treasury Department, who moved to Canada 25 years ago, has been using her time to speak out since she was an eleven-year-old Pennsylvanian protesting the war in Viet Nam. She became active in the women’s movement and served as president of the gay alliance in university, even though “I’m a flaming heterosexual,” she laughs. In Toronto, her five-year term leading the Cabbagetown Tour of Homes raised money for many local charities, including women’s and Canadian newcomers’ literacy initiatives, Casey House (HIV care), art therapy for at-risk children, and a shelter for homeless LGBTQ teens.

Then came the 2016 election. Perry flew from Phoenix to Los Angeles for that city’s massive Women’s March. “I’d always appreciated Democrats Abroad for its access to voting from Canada, but I wasn’t actively involved until I saw the hundreds of thousands of potential volunteers in the streets,” she remembers. Perry also realized she “wanted to do more than march for the next four years.” She’s been all in with Democrats Abroad since then, helping organize local debate-watch parties and attending the Americas meeting in Costa Rica this past October. Perry found it invaluable “having the perspective of people from twelve other countries, many of whom face different, tougher challenges than we do in Canada in terms of getting out the vote.”

GOTV is where it’s at for Perry. “The most important thing I can do is register voters and get their ballots to them. I’ve registered hundreds, if not thousands, of voters.” All those calls have helped hone her approach. “I ask first, ‘Are you registered? Have you voted before?’ Then I walk them through the Vote From Abroad form.” Perry has found that the number one determinant for someone registering is personal contact. “People mean to vote, but … ” She’s found, too, that once people follow through they feel good saying, “‘Yes, I did vote and it’s in the mail. Aren’t I wonderful?’ And I say, ‘Yes, you are wonderful!’” Perry also tries to take it to another level, asking about other family members and friends living abroad.

With 2020 on the horizon, she hopes more Democrats Abroad will join her on CallHub. “Phonebanking is like video games or a slot machine. You’ve got that addictive pull of the handle, plus a display showing your ever-increasing score of calls made in the past hour. You get a little dopamine hit and each time you ‘win’ it makes it more likely you’ll ‘play’ again.”


+

Chapter Spotlight: Vancouver brings them in

Close to 80,000 Americans live in Vancouver, and Susan Brennan, chair for DA’s Vancouver chapter and membership chair for DA Canada, is determined to reach every one of them. “We Americans do seem to find each other,” she says with a laugh. “I think we’re more assertive, especially Americans who leave the U.S. and live elsewhere. Maybe it’s a pioneering spirit.”

The Vancouver chapter got its formal start in 2008 when DA held its global meeting in the city. Early leadership crafted by-laws and constitution, a structure that now supports almost 3,700 members, the second largest chapter after Toronto. The growth was slow and steady, before a sharp uptick in 2016. “In 2012 we had 30 people vote in our Global Presidential Primary,” says Brennan, adding this was the year she got actively involved. “In 2016, that number jumped to 125.” The 2018 mid-terms brought in 100 people to watch the returns, many of whom have now become members and active volunteers.

Brennan and her board have kept the events coming: In 2018 they set up a voter registration table in front of Trump Tower. They’ve taken advantage of public-speaking events with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. They break out hotdogs for Fourth of July picnics, turkey and fixings for Thanksgiving dinners. This season’s Democratic debates have brought out 153 “unique” people, with debate-watch venues in Downtown Vancouver, the University of British Columbia, and Surrey. Plans are already in the works for hosting Kitchen Table conversations to help mold DA’s 2020 platform. Brennan has her eye on recruiting Darius Pruss, member-at-large for DA Canada and member of the Vancouver’s board as well, to head these up. “He’s a policy wonk,” she says. “He’s really good.”

The future is where it’s at for Brennan and her chapter. The goal? More, she says simply. More events, “more people stepping forward.” She’s proud of her board and grateful for how they came together this past year when her husband was being treated for cancer. “We’d just opened our store,” she explains. (The couple own a comic-books and collectibles store called Nifty Keen Stuff.) “I was trying to work, take care of him and run the chapter.” The support of DA members made it all possible.

What also keeps Brennan going is the thought of all those Americans in her part of Canada. “There are a lot of people out there who could vote and don’t,” she says. This chapter is doing its best to find them.

+

Victoria DA member finds his voice on CallHub

As an audiologist, Michael Stevenson is used to listening to people. Since moving to Victoria from Washington in 2007 and joining DA’s Victoria chapter, he’s had ample opportunity to put his listening skills to use. “I was drawn to phone banking because of the time flexibility in making calls and the efficiency of working from home,” says Stevenson, who is consistently the Canadian top caller for CallHub. “I’ve enjoyed being able to call in the morning, afternoon or evening, depending what works for my schedule.” He admitted feeling uncertain at first about how well the program worked, “but those fears were quickly allayed. Training was provided and resources were available when needed. CallHub provides basic contact information, history of calls and ease in updating contact information or requesting follow-up services.”

But what he likes most about phone banking is how much people appreciate talking to someone from Democrats Abroad. “I’ve talked to Americans living in over 50 countries who were [already] registered or wanting to register in their home state. It’s certainly highlighted for me how many Americans live abroad and how important it is they maintain their right to vote.” Stevenson’s personal goal for 2020 is to focus on the climate crisis and to increase informed, active voter participation “to give Democrats the power to protect our democracy and courts.” One call at a time.

(Stay tuned for more information on how to join phone bankers like Michael in the coming critical months.)

+

Push for ERA: Virginia voters could take it over the top

Count them: 4,764 postcards signed and sent by Democrats Abroad to Virginia voters in a push to (finally) ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. With all positions in the Virginia House and Senate up for election on November 5, it’s an opportunity to flip two Republican-held seats. Virginia House chair Kirk Cox, in fact, has made it his business to block passage of the ERA for the past several years. “It would be a pleasure for us to help kick him out,” says Shari Temple, DA Global IT Team chair, who worked with VAratifyERA to spearhead DA’s postcard-writing campaign in September. With 58 Dems Abroad volunteers and teams working around the globe, more than 2,700 cards were posted to Cox’s district, another 2,000-plus sent to Republican Chris Jones’ district. “The original goal was to do 2,000 and we overachieved that!” says Temple. (DA Canada members signed and posted 800 of those cards, with 400 sent by the Hamilton/Burlington chapter alone.) If Democrats replace Republicans in both districts, “there’s a high probability that Virginia will become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment,” Temple explains.

Many think the ERA passed long ago, that it was a “seventies thing.” In fact, according to a New York Times piece published earlier this year, 80 percent of Americans “mistakenly believe that women and men are guaranteed equal protection under the United States Constitution.” But the only right the Constitution explicitly extends to women is the right to vote. While Congress passed the ERA in 1973, it then had to be ratified by three-quarters (numbering 38) of the states. Thanks to Phyllis Schlafly, a Republican anti-feminist, the amendment was derailed 45 years ago. But supporters never gave up hope that it would eventually become an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Now Virginia voters are poised to take it over the top, with DA members around the world giving it an extra little push.

+

Thank you for your calls on UPU!

Last week DemsAbroad Canada encouraged Americans to contact their Representatives and Senators to voice their concern for the potential of the U.S. to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union. We are pleased that the member countries were able to reach an agreement yesterday. We thank every American who contacted their Representatives and Senators on this important issue!

Below is a statement from Democrats Abroad on the Universal Postal Union

"Democrats Abroad is relieved that the US has agreed to stay in the Universal Postal Union, but we remain vigilant,” said Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad. “We will closely follow the situation as postal rate changes are announced. Due to the uncertainty of the impact of these price increases, we strongly encourage all US states to provide secure online ballot delivery options for their voters living outside the States."

The 192 country members of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have worked together to create a consensus solution designed to keep the US within the Union, and postal mail continuing to flow around the world. The compromise, named Option V for victory, includes phased in self-declared postal rates for larger member countries. United States representatives have stated that they will accept this option, thus maintaining postal service between the US and all other countries within the UPU. The impact on mailing to and from the US is not yet clear, as these rates have not yet been declared and will not be rolled out until the end of June next year.

In 2018, 67% of American voters abroad returned their ballots via postal mail, and nearly two in three were civilian voters. Democrats Abroad supported the majority of these voters through its ballot request tool (votefromabroad.org), phone banking outreach, and online help desk.

Bryan further stated, “Our voter protection team will continue monitoring voting abroad actions in every US state to ensure that we are ready to sound the alarm and stop GOP leaders when they purge voter rolls, attempt to block Americans from accessing voter information from abroad, or use other means to limit our access to the ballot box.”

Democrats Abroad encourages all Americans abroad to register and request your ballot early every year, to use electronic delivery options if they're available, and to monitor your ballot status to be sure your vote is counted. Voters with questions or issues to report should reach out to gotv@democratsabroad.org.

September 25, 2019

More information on the UPU agreement: http://news.upu.int/no_cache/nd/upu-member-countries-reach-unanimous-agreement-on-postal-remuneration-rates/


An assault on our rights as voters living outside the US is about to occur - we need your help!

The Trump administration is attacking voting rights again - this time the rights of Americans abroad - through their plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union on October 16th. If the withdrawal goes forward, postal mail service to the United States will be thrown into disarray and the USPS expects postal service to and from the States to be massively disrupted.

This action will hit voters from abroad hard. Beyond the widespread, unprecedented disruption to personal, business and financial affairs that the withdrawal will create, voters abroad will not be able to return their ballots or ballot requests by standard postal mail.

Just consider - in 2018, 67% of ballots from abroad were returned by postal mail.

For more information on the impact of oppressing the overseas vote please read this post from DemList.com.

Call your Senators and your Representative and demand that they pressure the Trump administration to stop this nonsense now.

  • Demand they push for the Trump administration to allow the uninterrupted flow of overseas mail to the US
  • Remind them that your ability to vote depends on being able to get your overseas ballot back to the US on time, and that goes for everyone voting abroad in every state and district across the country.
  • Consider including a personal story of your experience returning your overseas ballot, or other ways you depend on sending and receiving mail to and from the US.

Contact your governor and state legislators and ask them to step up to preserve your right to vote from abroad.

Whether you’re voting for President or town council members, the rules that determine how you can request, receive and return your ballot are decided at the state level. State legislation can make it harder for you to vote from abroad, or it can create a path around the mess that will be made by the Postal Union withdrawal.

1. Use this guide from Vote From Abroad to look up your state’s ballot delivery methods.

2a. If your state requires ballot requests and/or returns be sent by mail (and not email/online submission), contact your governor and state legislators.

  • Ask that they push for legislation in 2020 which allows their military and civilians abroad to submit their absentee ballot requests (aka “FPCAs”) and overseas ballots by email or online submission.

2b. If your state allows ballot requests and/or returns to be done online or via email, consider letting your governor and state legislators know how much you appreciate these essential, modern solutions which ensure that you can easily and securely request and return your ballot. In order for these options to be maintained, it’s helpful for them to know why it matters to you!

Protect your right to vote!

  • If you aren’t registered to vote yet and will vote in any of these states, register to vote as an overseas voter NOW -- before the UPU withdrawal.

Go to www.votefromabroad.org and click “start” to fill out your voter registration form and overseas absentee ballot request. Then mail it in ASAP.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Oregon
  9. Rhode Island
  10. South Dakota
  11. West Virginia
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Wyoming

Democratically yours,

Steve Nardi
Chair, Democrats Abroad Canada

+

Webinar: Operating a Canadian business as a US citizen Sunday April 28, 2019

Democrats Abroad Canada is pleased to bring back our U.S. Tax Webinars for members. These webinars fill up quickly, so please register to attend today!

Operating a Canadian business as a US citizen

The Trump tax reforms made entirely changed the tax reforms around operating a business as a US taxpayer resident in Canada. This webinar will provide an overview of those changes and examine strategies for dealing with the complexity as a Canadian resident US citizen who wants to incorporate. Incorporation can still provide significant tax benefits — even for those with double tax exposure. Specifically, the webinar will cover at a high level:

  • Tax benefits of incorporation
  • The US repatriation tax and strategies for offsetting it;
  • The US GILTI rules and strategies to mitigate them;
  • Other tax planning ideas for incorporated business owners.

Sunday, April 28, 2019
3:00 P.M. Eastern / 12:00 P.M. Pacific
Duration: 90 minutes

This is an online webinar session and advance registration is required. Register by clicking here and we will follow up with WebEx installation/user/meeting information. Hope to "see" you there!

About the presenter

Max Reed is a cross-border tax lawyer at SKL tax in Vancouver where he focuses on tax strategies for those with tax issues that span the Canada-US border. Specifically, he has written a number of articles addressing the taxation of US citizen business owners who reside in Canada. SKL Tax has been helping people with double tax exposure for over 40 years.


Watch for our email invitation to attend US Personal Tax Webinar on May 26th.

Questions? email exec-vice-chair@democratsabroad.ca


DemsAbroad Canada 2019 Election Results

The DA Canada Nominations and Elections Committee is pleased to provide the results of the 2019 Annual General Meeting & Election.

Chair: Steve Nardi

Executive Vice-Chair: Julie Buchanan

Vice-Chairs (2): Marnelle Dragila & Ed Ungar

Secretary: Sue Alksnis

Treasurer: Lissette Wright

Membership Secretary: Susan Brennan

IT Manager: Tim Smith

Counsel: Danielle Stampley

Members-at-Large (3): Sofia Misenheimer, Darius Pruss, and Chris Shaw

DPCA Voting Representatives DemsAbroad Canada is allocated and expected to elect 24 Voting Representatives. In accordance with Article 15 of DA Canada Bylaws we achieved sex parity by electing 12 female and 12 male Voting Representatives.

Steve Nardi

Julie Buchanan

Ed Ungar

Marnelle Dragila

Tim Smith

Sue Alksnis

Darius Pruss

Lissette Wright

Chris Shaw

Susan Brennan

Louis DeLamarter

Danielle Stampley

David Hoyt

Sofia Misenheimer

J David Markham

Gena Brumitt

David Mivasair

Heidi Burch

Robert J Petrusa

Rachel Eugster

Engin Polar

Tracy Hudson

Kenneth Sherman

Denise Roig

In addition, the Proposed Bylaw Amendments were approved by the required two-thirds (2/3) majority.

Here are the complete vote results:

* = ACCLAIMED

Office + DPCA Voting Representative

Name

Country Chair

Steve Nardi*

Executive Vice Chair

Julie Buchanan*

Vice Chair

Marnelle Dragila*

Vice Chair

Ed Ungar*

Secretary

Sue Alksnis*

Treasurer

Lissette Wright*

Membership Secretary

Susan Brennan*

Counsel

Danielle Stampley*

IT Manager

Tim Smith*

Member-at-Large

# of votes

DeLamarter, Louis [M]

25

Misenheimer, Sofia [F]

101

Mivasair, David [M]

57

Pruss, Darius [M]

64

Shaw, Chris [M]

59

DPCA Voting Reps [Female]

# of votes

Brumitt, Gena

69

Burch, Heidi

72

Busch, Earlene

45

Castillo, Ivelisse

44

Eugster, Rachel

75

Hudson, Tracy

78

Roig, Denise

54

Schneiderman, Heidi

Withdrawn

Scott, Brook

53

DPCA Voting Reps [Male]

# of votes

DeLamarter, Louis

Acclaimed

Markham, J David

Acclaimed

Mivasair, David

Acclaimed

Petrusa, Robert J

Acclaimed

Polar, Engin

Acclaimed

Sherman, Kenneth

Acclaimed

DPCA Voting Reps [Male]

# of votes

Hoyt, David

13

Schellenberg, David

7

Proposed Bylaw Amendments

Yays

Nays

Should proposed amendment 4.1 be adopted?

109

7

Should proposed amendment 6.2 be adopted?

103

13

Should proposed amendment 6.4 be adopted?

111

8

Should Article 12 be renamed Article 11

118

2

Should Article 11 be renamed Article 12?

117

3

Should proposed amendment 18.3 be adopted?

111

5

Should proposed amendment 19.6 be adopted?

114

4

Should proposed amendment 20.1 be adopted?

117

2

A copy of the most recently approved DA Canada Bylaws can be downloaded by clicking here.

The membership is informed that any member of DA Canada who wishes to challenge any election result may do so by submitting an email to Bodil Geyer, Chair of the NEC, at: bodil.geyer@swimrecruiting.com. All challenges must be submitted by April 30, 2019.

The Teller of Elections tabulated the results of the 127 electronic valid ballots cast. (Out of the 134 ballots submitted, 7 were spoiled and not included in the results). 20 in-person valid ballots were cast for nominations from the floor where needed. Any questions about vote tallies may be directed to the Teller of Elections at: nominations@democratsabroad.ca

With highest regards,

DA Canada Nominations and Election Committee

Bodil Geyer, NEC Chair [Vancouver, BC]
Starla Goggins [Toronto, ON]
Randi Weitzner, NEC Teller of Elections [Montreal, QC]

+