News

Volunteers needed! Do your part to help Democrats win in 2020!

Democrats Abroad will hold its Global Presidential Primary the first week of March, with two opportunities to vote in person in Barcelona on Tuesday, March 3rd, and Saturday, March 7th. These events will be held at ESERP business school (Tuesday, 4:00 to 9:30 p.m.) and Restaurante El Foro (Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.).

**We are in need of volunteers for the local primary events**

These are the kinds of tasks volunteers will be doing on the in-person voting days:

  • Helping set up, decorate and open the voting center

  • Greeting and directing voters to where they need to go based on their needs

  • Helping voters with same-day voter registration in their U.S. state if necessary

  • Helping voters to join Democrats Abroad to be eligible to vote in the primary if necessary

  • Verifying voter eligibility

  • Handing out ballots and recording who has voted

  • Assisting voters in filling out their ballots and providing any information they need

  • Selling merchandise to raise money to cover chapter expenses (for example, ballot printing, courier charges for sending ballots to DA Europe)

  • Watching children in the kids’ area while their parents are voting

  • Running errands (for example, going to the copy shop if we run out of printed ballots)

  • Counting and scanning ballots after voting is finished

  • Preparing ballot packages for sending to Prague

  • Closing the voting center

Voting hours on the two days will be divided into shifts of approximately three hours.

Tuesday, March 3: 3:00 - 6:30 / 6:00 - 9:30*
*after 9:30, ballot counting and scanning starts
We have around 10 shifts to cover

Saturday, March 7: 9:00 - 12:30 / 12:00 - 3:30 / 3:00 - 6:30 / 6:00 - 8:00*
*after 8:00 ballot counting and scanning starts
We have around 30 shifts to cover

If you want to help with this important work, send an email to info-es-barcelona@democratsabroad.org, indicating the days and hours you are available so that we can put you on the volunteer list and send you further information. Volunteers will receive training. As a bonus, it’s a great way to learn how elections work.

Non-citizens can also serve as volunteers for roles that do not involve contact with ballots or voter data.

Additionally, in the lead-up to this year’s elections, Democrats Abroad needs volunteers to do phonebanking, i.e. calling fellow DA SPain members and making sure they have the information they need to vote in this year’s elections. Phonebanking is something you can do at home on your computer when it is convenient for you. Your only expense is your volunteer time. You can sit down at your computer, sign in to the tool (Call Hub) and start making calls, using the script provided. If you are interested in helping out in this way, go to www.democratsabroad.org, sign in with your email address and password, then click on TAKE ACTION and choose the first option: Phonebank. Be sure to let us know you’re participating in this campaign so we can say “thank you!”

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Barcelona Dems on the move in 2020


At the risk of sounding cliche, the 2020 general election is indeed going to be the most consequential election of our lifetimes. Donald Trump, through his ignorance, narcissism, greed and corruption, – and governing the country in the style of a mafia Don – has done irreparable damage to the U.S. and the world in less than 4 years. We have just over 10 months to set things right again.

Here in Barcelona – permanent or semi-permanent home to an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. expats, and temporary home to a steady stream of interns and college students studying abroad – your local DA chapter is doing its part to unTrump the world. Since last summer, we have hosted a series of events to watch seven Democratic presidential primary debates together. The most recent was held January 15th at the Eroica Caffè and had the best attendance yet. We are not sure if that’s because the race is heating up, due to excitement and curiosity about the new venue, or because Trump has now been impeached, but in any case, about 35 people showed up to watch the debate. Many stayed afterward to hear from Iowa native Charles Friedman, who explained how the caucus system works in that state, as well as his thoughts about what might happen next summer if there is a brokered convention [if you are interested in receiving one of his handouts, send an email to info-es-barcelona@democratsabroad.org]. Several more debates will be held in the months ahead, so watch this space for announcements.

Debate watch at Eroica Caffè, January 15









Chapter members have also been busy this month visiting college study-abroad programs in Barcelona and registering students to vote while they are here. So far, we have spoken with students from Arcadia, Boston College and University of Chicago. There are dozens of these programs located in Barcelona and we need volunteers to help reach out to students. If you are available on a regular or sporadic basis, please let us know.


Coming up next, we will join Barcelona en Comú and Women’s March Barcelona in a panel discussion following a screening of the documentary film Knock Down the House, the inspirational story of four progressive young women (including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) who ran for Congress in 2018. Please join us for this exciting opportunity on Thursday, January 23 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

On February 18th, Democrats Abroad members will get an email invitation to participate in the Global Presidential Primary to choose Democrats Abroad delegates to the National Convention. This email will include all the information you need to vote online. However, if you live in or near Barcelona or are able to travel there, we will be holding two separate events for in-person voting on Tuesday, March 3 (Super Tuesday) and Saturday, March 9. Watch for further info in your email, this page, and on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

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Insights into Ukraine

In early December, the House Intelligence Committee released the dryly titled but undeniably captivating "Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report", setting off an impeachment process for just the 4th time in U.S. history. In the months leading up to this action, and in the news-packed weeks since, one word has been constant: Ukraine. 

Harry Edelman, Head of Youth Engagement for DA BCN, participated as a part of three U.S. delegations to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for election observation missions in Ukraine throughout 2019. He observed during the first round of the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election on 31 March in the city of Dnipro. Again, in the second round on 21 April in Kiev Oblast. And for a third time in Mykolaiv Oblast during the snap 2019 Parliamentary elections on 21 July.

On December 12, Democrats Abroad Barcelona met at the charming Catalan restaurant El Disbarat, where Harry gave an informal but very informative presentation on Ukraine. He put current events into context with insights into the country's history and culture, its electoral process, and the surprise election of Volodymyr Zelensky. He also explained the procedures and the important role played by international election observers. 






Many thanks to Harry for sharing his experiences, to Hunter for moderating, and to all the attendees who came prepared with excellent questions and comments! 



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Looking ahead to 2020: What's going on now & what to expect next

From left to right: Chris Reilly (Chair), Annie Graul (Secretary), Hunter Roberts (Vice Chair), Jim Mercereau  (Chair, DA Spain), Catherine Dexter (Membership), Steven Tolliver (former Chair), Harry Edelman (Youth Engagement), Scott Stroud (Chair, DA Toulous)

 

Last weekend, the DA Barcelona excom team and two special collaborators met for an intense weekend of teambuilding, learning and preparation for the 2020 elections. As we all can probably agree, next year’s election will be an incredibly important one, with so much hanging in the balance: the environment, minority rights, international trade, immigration, diplomacy and international alliances, more justices being named to the courts, the future of Roe v. Wade – these are just a few that come to mind. As overseas Americans, we know that the actions taken over the past three years by the current president have had far-reaching implications, not just for those living in the States, but for individuals and countries around the world. Fortunately, we voters have the opportunity to steer the US back to the proper course just 12 months from now. A lot has to happen for that to work, however, and we are busy laying the groundwork so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

What can you, as overseas Americans and DA members, do now and in the future to help in this effort?

  • If you haven’t already, join Democrats Abroad today!
  • After you’ve become a member of DA, you can sign the Democratic candidate petitions to ensure that your favorite candidate(s) will appear on the ballot for the Global Presidential Primary (GPP) next year. Each campaign needs at least 300 valid Democrats Abroad members to sign their petition by January 6, 2020 to be included on the Democrats Abroad GPP ballot.
  • In January 2020, register to vote. Even if you think that you might already be registered, go to votefromabroad.org, fill out the online form and return it to your local election officials. As an overseas voter, you need to send in the form to request your ballot for every calendar year in which you wish to vote.
  • In March, coinciding with Super Tuesday, all members of Democrats Abroad can vote in the Global Presidential Primary. Be sure to watch for emails and follow our social media accounts (TwitterFacebook and Instagram) for information about this exciting and crucial event. We will be putting out calls for volunteers to help signing in voters, supervising the election space and counting votes afterward, among other important tasks. We can’t make this work without our members, so please be ready to stand up. If you want to get started now, send an email to info-es-barcelona@democratsabroad.org
  • Be informed about your rights and responsibilities as a voter, and be sure to share important, fact-checked information with your friends and family
  • Reach out to other Americans who might not be actively involved. Ask them if they have registered and voted in the past, and if they plan to do so this year. Help us to identify expats who have “gone underground” and as such, are harder to reach.
  • Phone bank
  • Donate! Running an electoral campaign is an expensive endeavor, and the GOP is already out-fundraising and outspending us by a significant amount. Consider donating to Democrats Abroad, to local Democratic party committees in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, or to larger organizations such as ActBlue. You can also donate to Fair Fight 2020, an organization formed by former Georgia Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, to promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights.
  • Please let us know if you have any further ideas and suggestions to share with fellow Dems!

Democratic candidate petitions now available; sign to show your support

Have you signed the petition(s) for your candidate(s) of choice yet? Only candidates with at least 300 DA supporters will appear on the ballot for the Global Primary next spring. Click here for more information:  http://www.democratsabroad.org/candidate_petitions

Note that you must be a member of Democrats Abroad to sign the petitions, so if you haven't done that yet, join today! Just click above where it says Join/Sign In. 


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September presidential candidate debate watch: Save the date!

The third Democratic party presidential debate will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2019 (see http://time.com/5669734/september-democratic-debate/ for more information on qualifying candidates for this round of debates). 


Here in Barcelona, Democrats Abroad will be hosting a debate watch and conversation, to be preceded by a short update on chapter activities, on Friday, September 13, 2019. Details coming soon - watch this space and save the date! 

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Together we stand: Barcelona Dems and friends in defense of immigrants' rights

On July 12, Democrats Abroad participated in a "Lights for Liberty" vigil in Barcelona in solidarity with the 818 #Lights4Liberty vigils across the USA and worldwide. At the vigil we read aloud and distributed, in both English and Spanish, a flier informing people of the worsening humanitarian crisis for migrants and refugees.

Since Trump took office, the number of people detained in the U.S. has risen from about 34,000 in 2016 to more than 52,000 today. Over 14,000 of them are children. Since 2017, seven children have died in U.S. detention — oftentimes in for-profit facilities. During the spring of 2018, the U.S. government systematically separated over 3,000 children from their parents without establishing a proper way to track the families separated or count the number of children detained; many still have not been reunited. Doctors and lawyers who have visited the camps have confirmed that the people detained are subjected to living conditions that are inhumane and comparable to torture centers. Claims of sexual and physical abuse have gone without investigation. The sick and elderly are confined to “icebox” rooms for weeks. Children as young as four months, separated from their parents, are handed to unrelated, slightly older children to be cared for. People have gone weeks without taking a shower or brushing their teeth. Medicine is confiscated and medical care is withheld.

Our Barcelona vigil was an impactful and inclusive experience for everyone participated and attended. We co-organized the event with Womens March Barcelona and we also allied with local Central American groups: Casa CentroAmerica and Tierra Catracha/Red de Hondurenas Migradas, who gave passionate speeches about the violent situations refugees from the northern triangle are fleeing. 

More protests are planned for the months ahead, including a #WeThePeopleMarch solidarity event on September 21 and participation in the Global Climate Strike event on September 27.


In the meantime, what else can you do? 

1. Donate to an organization that is doing frontline support work for migrants and those in detention. Make it a monthly donation if you can. We suggest RAICES and https://immigrantfamiliestogether.com/

2. Call your US representative and senators daily and demand an end to US concentration camps, accountability for DHS, ICE and CBP, and an end to human detention for all migrants.

3. Volunteer with a local immigration rights advocacy organization. If you can't find one where you live, then form an education+action group of your own like we did in Barcelona. Facebook page: Immigrant Justice Now International; Facebook group: Immigrant Justice Now Spain; Twitter: @TogetherIntl; Instagram: @immigrantjusticenow @demsabroadspain

4. Activate within your community by organizing with your neighbors, your friends, and your colleagues for ongoing action against detention camps in your area. (See #3 - our group is remaining focused on crimes against humanity in the USA, but we are also paying attention to the situation in Spain and Europe and will expand our actions by allying with local groups whenever we can.)

5. Engage in non-violent civil disobedience for as long as it takes to close every U.S. detention camp and to convince our government to respect human rights. Organize local protests, sit-down strikes, and ongoing action at ICE, CBP and local representative offices, and local detention camps, and support those who do with money, amplification on social media, media access and coverage, and your time. We can provide networks and resources to support these efforts. 



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Enthusiasm picks up in August: Round 2 of Democratic primary debates

Barcelona chapter members and friends gathered at The Lexington Bar on the evenings of July 31st and August 1st to watch  two debates between the very large Democratic field of candidates. Turnout was even better than for debate-watching party for first round of debates in June, with approximately 40 people showing up this time to watch the 20 candidates. The new leadership team (shown below) did a great job of organizing the event and revving up enthusiasm.

From left to right: Catherine Dexter (membership), Sharon Avery (Treasurer), W. Hunter Roberts (Vice Chair), Harry Edelman (voter registration), Annie Graul (Secretary), Chris Reilly (Chair)



The next round of debates will be held in mid-September, and there will be gatherings in Barcelona for those too, typically scheduled a day or two after the actual debates are broadcast in the U.S. Momentum is building as our chapter gears up for what promises to be a tumultuous political year ahead, the global Democratic primary and the vital general election in November 2020. Watch this space for more information! 


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Join us to watch the second round of candidate debates!

Like the Barcelona weather, the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign is really heating up. Earlier this week, CNN announced the line-up for the second round of Democratic presidential primary debates, which will be held in Detroit on July 30 & 31.

Please join Democrats Abroad Barcelona for one or both of the following Debate Watch parties, where we will watch and discuss recorded versions of the complete debates:


Debate 1: Wednesday, July 31

On night 1, the public will hear from candidates Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson.

Details and RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/events/2387017501568762/


Debate 2: Thursday, August 1

On night 2, the rest of the candidates will take the stage: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang.

Details and RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/events/350207539209237/


Both events will be held at The Lexington Bar, Carrer de Muntaner 108, Barcelona

  • 7:00 PM arrival, meet and greet, stop by the bar for drinks and snacks
  • 7:30 Debate begins
  • 9:45 Drinks and discussion

Bring your friends - all are welcome. We will ask for a donation of €5 for Democrats Abroad, and please buy a drink or some food to thank our gracious hosts at the Lexington.

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Barcelona Chapter marches with Pride BCN 2019

Building on the success and great fun of last year's Barcelona Pride we marched again under our Democrats Abroad Barcelona Chapter banner on Saturday June 29th.  We met at the Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies like we did last year.   We flew the US and pride flags and had plenty of signs. We picked up a bunch of marchers along the way, including two guys from Colorado who mentioned that they had a gay governor.  We said,  "We know we got our members from Colorado to request their absentee ballots to vote for him ."  We mentioned that we had Crisanta Duran as a guest speaker at one of our meetings two years ago and some of us are supporting her in her campaign to unseat the current Republican congressman. Needless to say they were surprised. While the turnout was a limited we made our mark and handed out cards to folks we met along the way.


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