On Our Mind

Spotlight on Virginia

You may be wondering why we have Virginia on our mind. Well, 2019 is a pivotal year for Virginia state politics, as the results of their state elections could have a big impact on our national politics:  

➡️ “The most critical battlefields for Democrats in 2019 and 2020 lie not in a handful of statewide races but at the ground level in the state legislatures, where control of one or both chambers will determine the shape of future congressional districts.” DemsList

➡️ In Virginia, Republicans hold a slim majority in the State Senate (21-19) and the State House (51-49).  This means that Democrats need to flip just two seats in each chamber to take control of the legislature.

Not so fun fact: Democrats lost control of the VA House of Delegates in the 2018 election by a single vote-- the deciding seat was tied and Republicans won it on a COIN TOSS! If the Democrats had one more voter in that final district the delegate would have gone blue and we'd have had a legislative majority today.  

What’s more: this year there are regularly scheduled elections in Virginia where the entire legislature is up for election:

Primaries are on June 12th.  So, if you are a Virginia voter, don’t wait! Your registration must be received by May 20th to vote in the primaries!  (Click here for Vote From Abroad deadlines and registration information.)

So what’s at stake?  

2021 US Population Census and Redistricting- The population census will be taken in 2020, and from that the 2021 redistricting, or redrawing, of the electoral district map in each state will take place. The majority of redistricting plans will be drawn by state legislatures, with many subject to final approval by the state's Governor.  (Pssst…VA’s governor is a Democrat!)

Equal Rights Amendment (i.e., ERA)- Most Americans assume that women have equal rights under the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, that is not true.  ERA ratification would change that.  Only one more state needs to pass the ERA Resolution to have the 38 states needed for ratification.  Since 2011, the Virginia Senate has passed the ERA resolution 6 times, but the Virginia House has killed it in subcommittee.  It will be introduced again in 2020.

Do you vote in Virginia?*

Remember, the entire Virginia House and Senate are up for election this fall.  The DLCC (Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee) has a spotlight on the state elections in Virginia.  You can find out more about those candidates here.

Go to our Vote From Abroad website to register and request your absentee ballot!  

*Don’t leave your vote on the table: Overseas voters who indicate they "intend to return" may vote in VA state elections. In addition, VA overseas voters who indicate their "return is uncertain" may vote in VA state elections if they provide the name of an overseas employer for either the voter or the voter's spouse or the voter's parent (if the voter is a dependent).

Note: When you fill in your ballot request form, be aware that selecting “I intend to return” rather than “my return is uncertain” may contribute towards establishing yourself as a tax resident in your voting state. Because the legal requirements to establish "residence" or "domicile" for tax purposes are determined by state law and the specific facts of your life, before you note that you intend to return on your form you may consider seeking advice on these matters from your tax professional.



DA France Leaders Head to Washington, DC

Our annual Global DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad or, simply, Democrats Abroadmeeting will take place in a few days in Washington, DC. France will be well-represented by your elected officers and Voting Representatives, either in-person or via Webex.  You can find more info on the 2019 Global Meeting here.

During the meeting our very own France Environment Policy Group will present a Resolution on Renewable Energy, drafted by Dana Powers and Jim Christiansen and submitted by DNC member Connie Borde.  A model of expertise in the area of renewable energy, this Resolution, if voted on, will provide an excellent springboard for our 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform, the document that lays out the goals of Democrats Abroad and defines who and what the Democratic Party is and stands for.

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The DA France Nation Election Results are IN!

The Democrats Abroad France National Elections and Annual General Meeting were held on Saturday, May 11th at the American Church in Paris. We had an excellent turnout for the meeting and a strong response to our Early Vote/Absentee Ballot sent via email.  We are delighted that our membership showed their engagement by participating in these elections.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the Democrats Abroad France 2019/2020 Executive Committee. Congratulations to the new leadership team.  And, thank you to all who took the time to present their candidacy and run for office.


FIRST VICE CHAIR: Jonathon Holler
TREASURER: Brooke Burns
SECRETARY: Marjorie Bernstein
COUNSEL: Julia Gregoire
GOTV OFFICER: Claudia Varney


Scott Baker,  Amy Below,  Marjorie Bernstein,  Max Dunitz, Anna Marie Mattson,  Alex Rehbinder,  John Esteban Rodriguez,  Salli Swartz,  Jerry Zellhoefer

* * * * *

We would like to extend a deeply felt thank you to Joe Smallhoover and Salli Swartz, our outgoing Chair and Executive Vice Chair.  We appreciate your immense dedication and service to Democrats Abroad France.  It has been an amazing two years thanks to your commitment and leadership.


Thank you to everyone who attended, participated in and helped to organize these elections!

We look forward to a busy and productive 2019/2020 where we achieve our objectives as Democrats Abroad France to build, engage and mobilise our membership and to GET OUT THE VOTE in 2020 to flip the US presidency and Senate BLUE!

May 11th is DA France National Election and Annual General Meeting

It is time for our bi-annual election of National Democrats Abroad France (DAF) officers.  See the candidates running for Leadership, here.

All members of Democrats Abroad France are welcome to attend and vote in the DAF National Leadership Elections on May 11 In addition to attending the in-person Election Meeting on May 11, all DAF Members have had the option to vote early via an online absentee ballot made available via email. This is to encourage DAF member participation from all across France even if they cannot attend the Meeting on Election Day. The absentee/early vote ballot closes end-of-day on May 8th.

In the event of ties, the DAF Elections Board may elect to conduct an immediate run-off election to break ties, time and other conditions permitting. In such case, all members of DAF registered and in attendance in person at the Election Meeting will be allowed to vote in a run-off election.

Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Time: 1:30 - 5:00 pm
Place: The American Church in Paris, 65 Quai d'Orsay 75007

RSVP here

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On Our Mind

Innovation: a word that’s bandied about a lot these days, from cars to coffee. But innovation in activism? Bah, oui!

As an American, being away from home in political times like these can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, there is low risk of unwittingly running into someone wearing a MAGA hat. On the other, it can sometimes feel a bit…disempowering to be so far away from the center of activity.

All the more reason to get involved in activism from abroad through your Democrats Abroad France Chapter, or through other international and local organizations.

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Early/Absentee voting in the DA France Elections closes May 8th

Don't Wait to Vote:

Your Early Vote/Absentee Ballot Has Been Sent via Email

The Early Vote/Absentee Ballot is optional -- Democrats Abroad France members may use this online Early Vote/Absentee Ballot to vote in the National Leadership Elections in advance of the May 11, 2019 Election and Meeting. It may also be returned by mail (see ballot instructions for more details). This Early Vote/Absentee ballot will remain open until the end of the day Wednesday, May 8, 2019.


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On Our Mind


Gerrymandering, a word you probably first learned in high school social studies class, is alive, and (ahem) well. At least that’s how the GOP would have it.

But in an affront to an earlier power grab in Michigan, a panel of judges have recently ordered new elections in several state-Senate districts, having citing nearly 30 electoral maps as unconstitutional.

And there is more good news: four states have passed acts in November 2018 to end gerrymandering.

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On Our Mind

We’re guests on this planet. And let’s face it ... we’re not always good ones.

So for Earth Day this year, how about taking the Trash Tag Challenge?

It’s simple: take a before photo of a place where there is a bunch of trash, then clean it all up.  Take an after photo when finished. You get bragging rights and can motivate others by documenting it on Instagram and Twitter using #trashtagchallenge.*

For other ideas on how to pay homage to our big blue marble, check out the Earth Day Network

* Send your photos to us on our Democrats Abroad France Facebook page with the names of the people in the picture.  We'll post them on the page to encourage other members to do the same!!!

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Voting in the DA France Leadership Elections is Open

Early Vote/Absentee Ballots Have Been Sent via Email

The Early Vote/Absentee Ballot is optional -- Democrats Abroad France members may use this online Early Vote/Absentee Ballot to vote in the National Leadership Elections in advance of the May 11, 2019 Election and Meeting. It may also be returned by mail (see ballot instructions for more details). This Early Vote/Absentee ballot will remain open until the end of the day Wednesday, May 8, 2019.


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Democrats Abroad France Stands In Solidarity

Democrats Abroad France stands in solidarity with the people of Paris and of France as Notre Dame burns this evening. We honor the firefighters and police for their efforts to save this extraordinary edifice, appreciated around the world as a symbol of French history, culture, art and humanity and acknowledged for its beauty. 

We encourage the Americans of France to join our French friends and families in the effort to rebuild Notre Dame, as President Macron has pledged the French Nation will do.