The State of South Carolina will conduct a Special Primary Election on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, for the 5th Congressional District to replace Mike Mulvaney who became Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. This district consists of Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Union, and York counties, and portions of Newberry, Spartanburg, and Sumter counties.
The Special General Election will be held on June 20.
If you are a South Carolina voter from the 5th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.
REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE, 2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.
Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote
If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by April 3 for you to receive the ballot to vote in the primary; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by May 2.
Ballots will be sent beginning March 18 for those who have already requested them. If you do not receive your requested State ballot 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also available on Vote From Abroad.
Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/south-carolina.
We had a great time on Saturday at our Annual General Meeting in Basel, during which we elected a new Democrats Abroad Switzerland Executive Committee. A big congratulations to our newly elected leadership!
- KATHRYN EDSON, Chair
- CRESTEN MANSFELDT, Vice-Chair
- LAURA SOLIA SHELLABY (since resigned), Secretary, replaced by ELIZABETH VOSS
- CHRISTIAN JORDAN, Treasurer
- HILLARY MUERI (since resigned), Legal Counsel, replaced by WENDY OLUM
- MORGAN GRAY, Member-at-Large Press & Media
- ROBIN BOGNUDA, Member-at-Large Events & Volunteers (since resigned)
- TAYLOR DeGRAFFENRIED, Member-at-Large Membership & Voter Outreach (since resigned)
- BECKY LEACH-SEYMOUR, Member-at-Large Fundraising (since resigned)
Immediate Past Chair and Chapter Chairs are full voting members of the ExCom, ex-officio
- ANNE-SHELTON AARON, Immediate Past Chair (2013-17)
- KELLI BROUILLET, Basel Chapter Chair
- LAURA MESSENGER, Geneva Chapter Chair
- YAEL BOROFSKY, Zurich Chapter Chair
On March 15th, each of us will mail a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to the Republican Administration. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will show the media and the politicians what #resistance looks like as we bury the White House post office in officially-verifiable postcards.
Want to host a postcard writing party? Let us know. Find Postcards from Abroad events here→
Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year. We’re setting a new record: over a million pieces in a day.
So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, write from the heart, and all of us will put them in the mail on the same day, March 15, 2017. All of our issues — DAPL, women’s rights, racial discrimination, religious freedom, immigration, economic security, education, the environment, conflicts of interest, the existence of facts — can and should find common cause. That cause is to make it irrefutable that the president’s claim of wide support is a farce. The crowd of those that oppose the Republican agenda is exponentially larger.
How to participate
- Write one postcard or a dozen! Create your own cards, buy them, share them, it doesn’t matter as long as you write #TheIdes on them somewhere.
- Take a picture of your cards and post them on social media (tagged with #TheIdes).
- Spread the word! Everyone on Earth can let Washington know their opinion of the President. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.
- Then, on March 15th, mail your cards to
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
THE ONLY RULE IS NO VIOLENCE, THREATS OF VIOLENCE, OR INSINUATIONS OF VIOLENCE. THIS IS ABOUT BEING HEARD, VIA POSTCARDS. WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE IDES OF MARCH HAS A HISTORY, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT WE ARE — IN ANY WAY — CALLING FOR HERE.
Free downloadable postcards: http://resistforamerica.org/category/resources/print-materials
Nominations for the nine elected positions on the 2017-2019 Executive Committee (ExCom) of Democrats Abroad Switzerland closed on Saturday February 18. Listed below are the nominated candidates. The nine offices will be elected on Saturday March 25 at the DA Switzerland Annual General Meeting. At that meeting, additional nominations will be allowed from the floor. All candidates will be given time for a brief statement to the members.
Candidates below are listed according to office, in the same order the offices will be elected at the AGM. Within each office, candidates appear alphabetically by last name, showing their city of residence and their statements. Because we have many nominations, in the interest of readability, we display here only the candidate's name linked to their full statement on the pages that follow.
Office: Chair (2)
Office: Vice-Chair (2)
Office: Secretary (3)
Office: Treasurer (1)
- Christian Jordan (Geneva)
Office: Counsel (1)
- Hilary O’Connor Mueri (Brugg, Aargau)
Office: Member-at-Large – Membership and Voter Outreach (1)
- Taylor de Graffenried (Bern)
Office: Member-at-Large – Fundraising (1)
- Becky Leach-Seymour (Zurich)
Office: Member-at-Large – Events and Volunteers (2)
Office: Member-at-Large – Press and Media (3)
Americans who are DA members as of Friday March 24th may vote. Please reply to [email protected] to indicate your attendance at the AGM. You may vote in one of the following ways:
- In-person voting: Printed ballots will be distributed at the meeting.
On-line voting: Links to web-based ballots will be provided to members who sign up to attend by WebEx.
If you cannot participate in either of these ways, a third possibility is available:
- Vote by proxy: Request a proxy form from [email protected]. Send a copy of your completed and signed proxy form to us by March 22nd, and give it to your chosen attending proxy member before the AGM. Any voter at the meeting may hold at most two proxies.
At the meeting, the nine offices will be elected one by one, in the order shown above. Nominations for office may be made from the floor or from WebEx, as write-in candidates. This includes listed candidates who did not win their announced race. All candidates will be given two minutes to address the members. Voting by advance ballot will not be available.
This election process aligns with that used at DA international meetings, and was preferred by the Executive Committee in view of the many declared candidates. Voters will be able to meet and hear them in person, before choosing.
- Kate Edson (Basel)
I am a lifelong Democrat and have been continuously involved in progressive causes since my first Earth Day as a teenager organising recycling drives up until the Women’s March in Geneva. I studied and worked in a field dominated by men and know how important it is to preserve the rights women fought so hard for. I volunteered with the Obama campaign in 2007 in Basel helping to organise voter registration, debate watch events, an election and inauguration night parties. In 2016, as Vice-Chair for Basel Events under the Zurich Chair Renee Rousseau I worked to organise a team in Basel that is now ready to form an official Basel Chapter. We held several voter registration events (at one event registering about 80 people), an Expat Expo, Debate Watches, Election Night Party and other events such as Tax Nights and have held regular monthly meetings of our volunteers.
During the past year I gained valuable experience working nationally on the Executive Committee as a Member-at-Large for GOTV and as acting Chair for Basel. I’ve had the benefit of the good example the current leadership team has provided in nurturing a cohesive team and have enjoyed working with them all. I have also had previous experience serving on a Board of Directors as Social Events & Programs Chair for the American Women’s Club of Basel. In addition, I think my 20 years of professional experience as an executive and project leader in a large corporation has also provided me with useful organisational and management skills that will be useful in serving as Chair of DACH.
The next two years will be critical in regaining control of Congress, working to increase the Democratic presence in local and state offices and prepare for the next presidential race in 2020. In Switzerland in 2017 we will be working to further develop local organisations, reach out to more Americans across the country and to update and increase our membership list. Then come January 2018 we will be ready to start registering voters for the 2018 midterm elections. Many progressives also feel frustration about the outcome of the elections and need help channelling that frustration into activism. We need to be ready to help. We have seen that energy used in positive protest can make a difference even with this administration in place.
- Max I. Zappe (Zurich)
I am a native Californian living in Switzerland, who has eagerly followed American political affairs since I can remember and would like to contribute as much as I can to the wellbeing of American Democracy. Being appalled by the recent election and in despair about the direction towards which American Politics has been taking a turn, I committed myself to do everything and anything I can to fight the elitist, oppressive and unrepresentative Agenda being pushed forward by the far-right. I have been very outspoken about justice, privacy and equality in the United States in the past and would appreciate the opportunity to continue to push these important principals forward on a larger scale, as Chair of Democrats Abroad. Given the chance, I would use all available resources to push against the outrageous propositions being produced by the current White House by, amongst many other things, recruiting larger numbers of volunteers, lobbying senators and congresspeople, organizing charities for groups like ACLU and Planned Parenthood, mobilizing more Voters and loudly calling out the current administration for their counter productivity and bigotry. In such unsettling and uncertain times I find it most important remain calm and consistent in contrasting unreasonable ideas. This is exactly what I hope to be able to do as Chair of Democrats Abroad and thus hope I can count on your vote.
- Kristen Jafflin (Basel area)
I joined Democrats Abroad, Switzerland 8 years ago, after moving to Geneva just a couple of weeks before President Obama’s inauguration and thankfully learning of an inauguration party hosted by Democrats Abroad.
A life-long Democrat and committed voter, I have long been active in Democratic and progressive politics. As an undergrad, I was a leader in my campus feminist and GLBT groups, and I have been an active participant in many progressive causes, from marching against the Iraq War, to pushing for graduate-student workers' rights as a member of our graduate student union while studying at UC Berkeley. I'm also an enthusiastic voter - I registered to vote as soon as I turned 18, and I participated in get out the vote drives in Nevada in 2004 and volunteered to work as a poll worker during the 2008 election.
Since arriving in Switzerland, I've been an active member of Democrats Abroad, participating and volunteering frequently for all manner of events, from Art Walks to Expat Expos. This past election year, I was part of a team of Basel-area Democrats who organized a great voter registration effort and many election-related events, including Debate and Election-night Watch Parties. We've continued to be active since the election, organizing a Basel Chapter of DACH, and contemplating how to best respond to the terrifying new Republican administration. As part of that effort, I'm head of a team that completed database training and certification on the new DA database.
It is vital that we resist the Republican administration and fight to take over the House and Senate in the mid-term elections. As secretary of DACH, I hope to put my passion, skills and experience to use strengthening DA Switzerland to help us all in that effort. I should be able to do so from day one, given my familiarity with DA Switzerland and certification on the database (the latter being essential for maintaining the membership list).
- Laura Solia Shellaby (Geneva)
I am a proud American and progressive Democrat who firmly believes in the power of democratic government to advance social good and serve the needs of its citizens. At this alarming and uncertain time in American political history, I believe that citizen engagement in the political process is more important than ever to ensure that our democratic institutions protect all Americans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, place of origin or economic status, maintain peace in the world, and withstand the dangerous whims of the current administration. This is why I would like to dedicate my time and efforts to serve Democrats Abroad in Switzerland as your Secretary.
I believe that my education, professional experience, and genuine passion for policy and politics qualify me for this role. Originally from New York, I bring a global perspective to all that I do and have travelled extensively in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Professionally, I specialize in the development of multi-sector partnerships for global health and am currently a Partnerships & Networks Manager at the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in Geneva. My previous experience includes working on corporate social responsibility initiatives in the private sector, managing partnerships and communications for a Liberian NGO during the Ebola Crisis, and serving as Global Health Lead at the Clinton Global Initiative. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Public Health Policy from New York University and a Master of Science in Global Affairs from NYU's Centre for Global Affairs.
If elected, I will use my education and experience to fulfil the office of Secretary in an organized and efficient manner and contribute to the Executive Committee to the best of my abilities. In addition, I will employ my millennial enthusiasm and digital fluency to support increased member engagement through new avenues of information exchange and heightened activism. With daily headlines focused on the most sensational news coming out of Washington and the definition of "facts" up for debate, I will strive to break through the noise and elevate the most critical issues facing our country and you, the Democrats of Switzerland.
As the so-called 51st state, we - the millions of Americans living abroad - represent a powerful voting bloc that can swing elections and sway elected officials on issues that matter. Working together as the Democrats of Switzerland and as part of Democrats Abroad worldwide, I believe that we can make a difference. Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy. It would be an honour to serve you.
- Elizabeth Voss (Basel)
For as long as I can remember, I have identified with and held dear the programs and ideals that the Democratic Party represents. I come from a union family who instilled in me the importance of voting for candidates who protect workers' rights. As a young adult, I benefitted from the services offered at a reasonable cost at Planned Parenthood. I have used the social safety net when it was necessary and I had no other options. So many of my life experiences and my beliefs necessitate my allegiance with the Democratic Party; truly, the party cares for the real needs of the American people with basic empathy underlying each of the policies put forth by our representatives.
The Democratic Party is at a critical point. That the GOP controls the majority of state legislatures and governorships as well as the House and Senate spells major trouble for the Democrats now and far into the future. It is essential that we start gaining back ground so that after the next census, the Republican gerrymandering doesn't worsen and cause more issues for us and for the freedoms and protections of the American people, both at home and abroad.
I haven't ever held a secretarial position. However, I was heavily involved in Student Council and Key Club executive boards in high school. Additionally, I have worked in office settings for over ten years and have excellent written and oral communication skills. I am very organized and am also proficient with the Google suite of office tools (Docs, Sheets, and Slides).
It is unfortunate that I didn't really find my passion for politics until we moved overseas, but I suppose my passion was born of necessity. The current state of politics in the US is dire and while I feel fortunate to have some distance from it, I also feel it's necessary to do everything I can to help improve things for my friends and family back home, as well as the rest of the country, and the world at large. I have a five year daughter. My husband and I have had to explain to her that we won't be moving back to the US for at least four more years, but I want her to be able to move home one day and be proud of the country she’s returning to. That is why I want to be involved in the DACH Executive Committee.
- Yael Borofsky (Zurich)
I am sure every member of this organization can agree that the political events of the last year and a half have been devastating. After living in Zurich during nearly all of campaign season, I came back to Cambridge, MA last September, just in time to watch Donald Trump win the election and then become inaugurated as the president of the United States. Despite the factthat I never imagined myself as an activist or a protester, since the election I have attended various events in the Cambridge/Boston area to either build community in the face of Trump’s lunacy or to protest (specifically, so far, for women’s rights and against the travel ban on Muslims from seven countries). Through these experiences, it has become increasingly clear to me that we cannot expect a tolerant, forward-thinking democracy as the default mode in the US or any country. Instead, we must work hard to protect this ideal at all times.
I am running for Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Switzerland because I realize that now is both a surprisingly difficult time to live outside the United States — separated from those whose pain we share — and an urgently important time. Organizing ourselves now for the 2018 mid-terms, and eventually the 2020 elections, will not only be our way of staying engaged and making our voices heard from afar, but our activism can also be a set an example for our Swiss and European neighbors. Through Democrats Abroad events and outreach we can find new venues to discuss the difficult issues we care about (even if we disagree), learn more about what we can do to protect the rights of those who are more vulnerable than we are, and demonstrate that Americans are actually better than our slogans – that we really do value, above all, liberty and justice for every person.
I hope to bring to the post of Vice Chair my experience co-founding and running an MIT discussion forum focused on energy and human development, as well as my background in journalism, policy, and urban studies and planning. Most of all, though, I would contribute a newfound personal commitment to civic engagement. A commitment that is necessary now, in the face of the current challenges, and also, perhaps especially, in the future, when tolerance, justice, and peace may not seem so broadly threatened, but such ideals will be no less in need of protection. I look forward to meeting other DACH members on March 25.
- Cresten B. Mansfeldt (Zurich)
Briefly, I am originally a DFLer from the True-Blue State of Minnesota (the last Republican Presidential Candidate to win Minnesota was Nixon in 1972). I received my Bachelors in Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota and my PhD in Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. During my tenure at Cornell, I participated in student governance for five years, eventually being elected the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and assisting in the formation of the Cornell NYC Tech Campus. After completing my studies in 2013, I assisted a colleague in establishing a tech startup in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2015, I was recruited for a research scientist position at the Swiss Federal Aquatic Research Institute (Eawag) and have been enjoying my time in Zürich ever since.
My vision for the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee falls into three sequential phases: diversification, support, and transition.
With the energized interest in DACH throughout Switzerland, the Vice Chair position enjoys the opportunity of delegating tasks that were championed by Vice Chair Peter Butterfield to newly formed positions, caucuses, and volunteers. This process of delegation will strengthen the network of DACH, maintain activity in the various roles, and realize the highest marginal utility received from the diversity of expertise housed in DACH. Therefore, the initial goals of the Vice Chair should be to (1) agglomerate the institutional knowledge amassed by the outgoing Vice Chair Peter Butterfield and the Executive Committee as a whole, (2) meet with the volunteers in the emerging positions to determine which tasks performed previously by the Vice Chair would be best distributed, and (3) delegate the appropriate tasks and focus the role of the Vice Chair in a manner to best serve the Chair, the Executive Council, and DACH members.
As the roles of the new format become more clarified, the Vice Chair should support the Chair, the Executive Council, and the new positions. This role will require flexibility in tackling issues and opportunities as they arise. Essentially, the Vice Chair should be a jack-of-all-trades fix-it position smoothing the expansion process. Communication with all members of the Executive Committee, collaboration with the international network, and involvement in the forming caucuses are key functions of the Vice Chair position.
Finally, I believe a cornerstone of my role as Vice Chair would be to assist in ensuring the strength of DACH by training and recruiting a pool of talent that potentially can not only replace me, but achieve more as a future Vice Chair.
- Christian Jordan (Geneva)
- Christian Jordan (Geneva)
I appreciate this opportunity to continue to volunteer with DACH members and executive committee. So as to further our political party objectives, recruitment, fundraising, and awareness.
Again, it was great working with the DACH executive committee for the past two years and to continue would be my pleasure.
I would like to note the following experience that could be of interest:
- Over 20 years In Accounting and Financial Controller
- Certified General Accountant (CGA)
- Member of Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
- Member of International Financial Management Association (IFMA)
- DA / DACH member since 2004
- DACH co-organizer for 3 separate years of the Annual Softball tournament against RACH.
- Boy Scouts of America Local committee member for Eagle court of Reviews and other voluntary service.
- Geneva -'Feed the Needy' (feeding homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, & distressed families)
- Orphan aid Africa fund raising
- Orphanage fund raising for India, Nepal, Morocco.
- Fund raising for installation of Water wells in Mozambique
- Geneva Softball League-Treasurer/Accountant 2010-2013 http://club-softball.web.cern.ch/club-softball/GSL/
- CERN Softball club-Accountant and treasury from 2010-2013
- Geneva Youth Baseball League - Volunteer Accountant 2009 - 2015
- Geneva - Lions Club International 'Nations 102w' in all benevolent / charity activities.
- Treasurer Club47 2015-2016 - Voluntary
- USA birth, Irish Naturalization from 1997 & Swiss Naturalized from 2001
Finally, I believe that my professional experience, sport activities, community activities, family of 3 children, and benevolent activities give me a strong recommendation to continue as DACH volunteer of Treasurer.
- Hilary O’Connor Mueri (Brugg, Aargau)
- Hilary O’Connor Mueri (Brugg, Aargau)
I am a Democrat, an expat, a combat veteran, a lawyer, but most importantly, I am a concerned American. As such, I am honored to apply for the position of Counsel to Democrats Abroad Switzerland.
I attended The Ohio State University on a full academic scholarship, graduating with a BS in Aviation Engineering in 1999. I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy and immediately began flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Over the course of my career, I flew the F-14D Tomcat, F/A-18B/D Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, and F-16B Fighting Falcon. My time in the military included combat missions in Iraq for which I received the Strike/Flight Air Medal and Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for heroic achievement, and a tour as a Strike/Fighter Instructor at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, teaching advanced tactics to over 250 aviators per year. Beyond my personal achievements, I was proud to lead a team of 30 aircraft mechanics resulting in a 100% sortie completion rate during combat operations and award-winning personnel retention rates.
I left the military after eight years of active duty service. I attended the University of San Diego School of Law, moving to Los Angeles to work for Perkins Coie LLP upon graduation in 2010. My main focus was product liability and corporate litigation, part of a team defending multimillion dollar lawsuits, but I was also privileged to perform hundreds of hours of pro bono work, fighting for residency visas for undocumented immigrants who were the victims of violent crime and fighting for the rights of a homeless woman in an insurance dispute.
As a naval officer, I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States; as a lawyer, I gained a much more in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the nuance of the constitution’s protections and again swore an oath to support the Constitution as part of my admission to the State Bar of California. Like so many other Democrats, I am pained to watch the systematic perversion and outright destruction of the very foundation of our nation. I am excited by this opportunity to help give voice to the expat community of Switzerland in resisting the unconstitutional efforts of those who would twist the Constitution for personal gain.
Additionally, American ex-pats face special challenges, from the FATCA and FBAR to medical insurance access to the challenges hindering foreign residents pursuing their right to vote. I would be privileged to advocate on behalf of our community for tangible, positive change as well as to empower local Americans in overcoming many of these hurdles.
In my spare time, I’m an avid knitter, mediocre skier, half marathoner, and voracious reader. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the DACH community as Counsel.
- Taylor de Graffenried (Bern)
- Meghan Jones (Lugano) withdrawn
- Taylor de Graffenried (Bern)
I would like to declare my interest in becoming the Member-At-Large for Membership/Voter Registration in the DACH Executive Committee. With the current political climate in the USA, and voter disenfranchisement, I want to take a leadership position in ensuring that US citizens abroad have the support and information needed to remain registered and receive their absentee voting ballots. In addition to that, I would like to work with other members of DA in order to support the enfranchisement of US citizens born abroad. Specifically, I would like to work with DACH members and others to try to pressure the approximately 14 US states that do not give voting rights to citizens born outside the US and who have never maintained residence in the US.
I had the opportunity to register voters at a couple of DACH events and I was surprised to learn that it can be a complicated and sometimes confusing process. US citizens abroad should never be prevented from voting because of a sometimes confusing bureaucratic process. I want to do whatever I can to smooth this process for US voters abroad, especially with the importance of the 2018 elections.
Additionally, I feel that the implementation of a ten percent growth in membership can be achieved as a by-product of well planned and organized voter outreach. I personally joined DA during the process of registering for my absentee ballot and I believe that strategy, coupled other outreach events, will ensure that we are able to meet our membership goals.
I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the Executive Committee to advance both our membership and voter registration goals.