News

Contest Alert! Let's Get Visible!

Yes, we are having a contest! We want all of our members (as well as Swiss friends and youngsters!) to help to create visibility for VoteFromAbroad.org and DemocratsAbroad.org. So we are having a “Let’s Get Visible” contest via Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram where you can use your creativity to make videos highlighting our website and the election. It is quite simple. Just create a quick video in which you show some part of life in Switzerland (alps, lakes, meadows, cows, cheese, castles, vineyards, chocolate, skis, snowboards, etc.) and then talk about VoteFromAbroad.org. The video with most “likes” will win a prize! The official contest rules are outlined on our Facebook and YouTube pages or you can simply click here to access the rules PDF. 

Have fun and create awareness all over Switzerland! Help us reach the approximately 11,000 American expats in CH who have not registered to vote via VoteFromAbroad.org.


A (Virtual) Conversation with European Ambassadors for Biden

We are now a mere four months away from presidential and congressional elections which will decide whether the American experiment in democratic governance perishes from this earth, or whether, to the contrary, with Joe Biden as President and Democratic control of the Senate and House, sanity, competence, and elemental fairness and justice can be restored to our country after these nightmarish past four years. It is time for us Americans Abroad, 8 million strong, to stand up and be counted in this stark choice, both with our votes and with our material support for the Democratic cause.

In the prevailing pandemic circumstances, the Democratic campaign has existed thus far almost exclusively in the virtual realm, much to the frustration of those of us here in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe who see our U.S. political engagement more as an opportunity for convivial congregation and fellowship with like-minded compatriots than as an act of collective contribution to the war-chest of our candidates.

In the meantime, however, the campaign is intensifying, and our help is needed now. Our members have been invited to participate in a very special virtual happening on Wednesday, July 15 at 7:00 p.m. CEST, a “Conversation with European Ambassadors for Biden,” featuring Samantha Power, Ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama Administration; Charles C. Adams, Jr., former Ambassador to Finland; Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles; and Rufus Gifford, Deputy Campaign Manager for Vice-President Biden, former Ambassador to Denmark. The conversation promises to be lively, informative, and interactive, and you will be able to catch a glimpse of many of the same friends and fellow American expatriates with whom we have gathered in the past and will gather again in the future in support of a cause which we hold dear. Here is the link through which to sign up for this exceptional event:

https://secure.joebiden.com/a/0715-conversation?attr=100558195


This event is not organized or sponsored by Democrats Abroad Switzerland, but we thought it would be of interest to our members.


The Road to Suffrage

In the United States, the right for all to vote and to participate in political life came not from the Constitution itself but from a series of hard-fought amendments and ground-breaking legislation.

To commemorate two major achievements in this march towards full democracy—the Centennial of the 19th Amendment and the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act—Democrats Abroad Switzerland is launching a series of social media posts that present key aspects of the narrative leading to the ratification of the 19th amendment and the struggles to enfranchise people of color.

The posts will run from 19 July to 26 August 2020. They will be posted daily to Democrats Abroad Switzerland’s Facebook and Instagram feeds as well as our website. Please like, comment on, and share the steps of this still-incomplete journey to universal suffrage. Most importantly, request your ballot now and mobilize your personal community of expats to do so, too!

Democrats Abroad Switzerland thanks Dr. Maura Doherty for her assistance with this project. Dr. Maura Doherty is a historian who has taught in Higher Education for decades in the United States and in Switzerland. She recently appeared as the guest historian in the BBC celebrity genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are?" alongside Sharon Osbourne. She is currently writing a book about the history of her hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts.

Design talent came from working in coordination with Vote Like a Woman, a nonpartisan campaign honoring the first 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment by getting more Americans who identify as women to vote.


AGM 2020 Wrap-Up: New Bylaws and More

We held our AGM via WebEx on Wednesday, June 24. It was very productive!

Our new bylaws were accepted unanimously and you can read those here.

Our agenda included:

Here are our AGM materials for your review and education:

Please let us know if you are interested in volunteering with us in the coming months! Either way, we look forward to seeing you soon!


DACH Needs A New Secretary; Could it be You?

DA Switzerland needs a new ExCom Secretary ASAP! Liz Voss, our previous secretary, is still on the ExCom but as Vice Chair; she will be available to train you and guide you through the secretarial duties! If you think you might be interested, please contact her at [email protected].

A PDF version of this job description is available here.

ExCom_Secretary_Job_Description_page-0001.jpg

Read more

DA Discussions: Looking Local

 
While the world watches the US presidential election closely, and to a lesser extent Congress, most elections in the US on November 3rd will be for local offices. The consequences of these elections are tremendous. Not only will local results determine congressional district lines for the next ten years, but with reduced federal spending on a social safety net, Americans increasingly turn to local government programs for basic needs.
 
Several members joined us for a Democrats Abroad Virtual Discussion of the advantages and limitations each Party has when it comes to winning these crucial local seats. Tory Mallett, a political sociology PhD student at the London School of Economics, lead us in a discussion of both ideological and institutional strategy for finding progressive success all the way down the ballot. The Zoom meeting was recorded; the YouTube link can be provided upon request.
 
Theory:

Cases:


DACH Revised Bylaws - Final Draft for Review

Hello Fellow Voters!

We are now just shy of one week before our Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will be held via WebEx next Wednesday evening (24.06.2020). All members are encouraged to attend as we review the last year and sharpen our focus on the elections for November. We have a lot of exciting news to share.

In addition to the regular topics of the AGM, we will also vote on the "revised bylaws." The current DACH bylaws were approved in 2014 and there were some updates needed in order to meet current Democrats Abroad global requirements. The revised bylaws include updates about technologies used for member communications and meetings, updates to privacy of your data, updates to gender specific wording, and updates to some financial requirements.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the update process and those who spent hours to review, comment, question, or make suggestions so that we have a comprehensive yet inclusive set of bylaws that are reflective of our membership. Those who exercised their rights to comment on the draft versions were proactive and quite helpful for all of us as members.

I am pleased to attach the final version of the "revised bylaws" via PDF. This is the final version after the public comments have all been incorporated and this is the result after the WebEx review/comment meeting which took place on Wednesday evening, 17.June.2020.

I encourage you to read through these "revised bylaws" so that you are prepared to vote on them next week during the AGM.

Please note that voting will take place in the WebEx "chat box" and we have volunteers who will count the votes. If you are not familiar with WebEx or the use of the "chat box," we will have one more training session this coming Sunday (21.06.2020) at 13:00 CEDT. The link to this training is HERE.

I am very much looking forward to seeing you online for the AGM next week!

Vance White
DA Switzerland Chair

 


Antiracism/Black Lives Matter Events Around Switzerland

Democrats Abroad Switzerland (DACH) has been made aware of the following demonstrations and marches planned around the country over the next few days:

Basel

  • Demonstration Against Racism
    June 6 at 1 PM
    Barfüsserplatz
  • No to Racism! Together We Are STRONG!
    June 13 at 2 PM
    Barfüsserplatz
    Wear all black

Bellinzona

  • Demonstration Against Racism
    June 6 at 4 PM
    Piazza del Sol

Bern

  • No to Racism! Together We Are STRONG!
    June 13 at 2 PM
    Bundeshaus
    Wear all black
    More information here.

Geneva

  • Demonstration - Cancelled
    June 8 from 4:30 to 6 PM
    Outside the U.S. Mission in Geneva
  • March
    June 9 from 6 to 9:00 PM
    Gather at Place de Neuve; travel in groups of 300 along the route to end at Parc des Cropettes
    More information here.

Lausanne

  • Demonstration
    June 7 at 2 PM
    Choose any spot throughout the city, maximum 30 people per location.
    More information here.

Neuchâtel

  • Demonstration Against Racism
    June 6 at 1 PM
    Places des Jeunes Rives

Zürich

  • March
    June 6 at 2 PM
    Gather at Bahnhofstrasse/Main Station
    Note: As of this time, we are unsure who is organizing this event, as are other leaders in the area. As such, please take precaution if you choose to attend.
  • No to Racism! Together We Are STRONG!
    June 13 at 2 PM
    Stadelhofen
    Wear all black
    More information here.
DACH is supportive of Black Lives Matter (BLM) initiatives and as such are making members aware of related events across Switzerland. These events are neither organized nor sponsored by DACH. If you choose to participate, please maintain the proper spirit of peaceful demonstration and also observe any COVID-19 guidelines regarding social distancing and number of people at a gathering. Here is a Twitter thread with some ideas on how to protest safely.
 
We are trying to vet this information as best we can. However, events are developing quickly and our members are looking to us for information. It is our hope and assumption that you, our members, are well-informed and savvy enough to research these events/organizations yourselves, as well as planning for ways to keep yourself safe should something go wrong.
 
Also: Please promote DACH and the right to vote! Carry posters and highlight “Vote from Abroad” or “VoteFromAbroad.org” or “DemocratsAbroad.org” in your signs and in your clothing (t-shirts, hats, etc.). If you have votefromabroad.org handouts or cards, feel free to carry some to give to people along the route!
 
You may be able to find more information about these and other events at the Black Lives Matter Switzerland Facebook page or by emailing [email protected].
 
As always, thank you for your time and consideration. Be safe and do good.

2020 DA Switzerland AGM on Wednesday, June 24

Democrats Abroad Switzerland will hold our 2020 Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from 7 - 10 PM via WebEx. At this meeting we will adopt new bylaws for DACH. Your presence is greatly desired as we need a quorum in order to adopt the bylaws.

You will also hear our annual reports, hear overviews of the DA Regional and Global Conventions, participate in a brainstorming session for Get Out the Vote, and discuss election events for November.

2020 Annual General Meeting (Add to Google Calendar.)

Meeting Title = DA Switzerland AGM
Date and Time = Wed, 24 Jun 2020 19:00:00 CEST
Duration = 3 hours
Meeting number = 478854014
Meeting Password = dems
Meeting URL: https://democratsabroad.webex.com/democratsabroad/e.php?MTID=madefb2d9f483193b1167487c39b2a6e5

Agenda (preliminary)

  • 6:45-7:00 PM - Sign in, get WebEx set up properly, virtually mingle
  • 7:00-7:45 PM - Approve the 2019 AGM minutes; business meeting and officer reports
  • 7:45-8:45 PM - Adoption of new bylaws
  • 8:45-9:00 PM - Break
  • 9:00-9:30 PM - Get Out the Vote brainstorming
  • 9:30-10:00 PM - Election events for November
  • 10:00 PM - Adjournment

Bylaws Revision: Please Review the Proposed Changes. We invite you to comment!

We are pleased to include a draft of the revised bylaws for DACH, which will be presented for approval at the AGM on June 24. Several changes were necessary to bring our bylaws in line with changes made to the Democrats Abroad Charter. These include concepts such as "One Person, One Vote," wording changes regarding gender balance, etc. Also, we used this opportunity to include the status of DACH as a Verein/Association under Swiss laws in order to be compliant with local rules and regulations.

We invite you to make public comments via Google Docs here. You can view and comment on this Google Doc without having a Google Account.

As you review the draft, please note the following:

  1. Minor punctuation, format, spacing, capitalization, or spelling changes have been made and are not highlighted as "edits" from the original bylaws from 2014.
  2. Please do not reformat or concern yourself about formatting as that will be cleaned up in the final draft before presentation at the AGM.
  3. Please note that in Google Docs, you can choose to view all edits and comments (default setting) or you can use a simple view that only displays the "final document."



  4. Please respond with any comments or suggestions by 5 PM on Friday, June 12.
  5. A WebEx session for review and discussion of all public comments will be held on Wednesday, June 17 at 7 PM. Please plan to attend as we want to finalize all changes and address all questions before the AGM.

We will have several events leading up to the AGM to prepare our members for the vote about bylaws and attending the meeting via WebEx.

We look forward to seeing you at these virtual events over the coming month! Thank you for your time and attention.


#YeahScience

As we’ve learned during the global pandemic, science communication is not easy. There are contradictory data sets and a lot of misinformation. How do you navigate the noise?

Our very own Zachary Bailey, post-doctoral pathogen ecologist at the ETH, shared his knowledge on Covid-19. We also discussed trusted science podcasts, blogs, and journals.