Greece

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Welcome to Democrats Abroad Greece!

DAGR is the official country committee for US Democrats living in Greece. From the Lefka Ori to Rodopi, from Argostoli to Alexandroupoli, our members are engaged, informed and active both in community life here and in American politics.

Find out about our chapters in Athens or Thessaloniki or get in touch with an At-Large representative if you live outside a chapter area.

Watch this space for upcoming announcements of meetings and events - we have events planned throughout the year and encourage anyone interested to take part or pitch in.

If you have questions or would like to help with Democrats Abroad in Greece please contact us.

Anastasia Harris-Papaioannou, Chair 
Democrats Abroad - Greece 
chair-GR@democratsabroad.org

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DA Greece Leadership:

Stacey Harris-Papaioannou
| Greece Chair, Media Contact & Communications Chair
Judith Gerardos
| Secretary
Nicholas Loisos
| Treasurer & IT Support
See all Leaders


  • News

    Covid-19 Payments - Do not be Misled!!

    IRS Does NOT Cross-Reference US Voter Rolls

    “With great shock and amazement I read an email issued by Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter that completely misleads US Citizens living in Greece, who have struggled with the chaos and the instability the Covid-19 virus has caused in their lives,” said Chair of Democrats Abroad Greece, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou. “The letter, issued on July 24th, stated the second round of Covid-19 supplements that will go to US citizens, is being labeled by Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter “Help from TRUMP” and they IMPLY that US Government Agencies will be cross referencing voter registration rolls in the US with citizens who received the first round of deposits through the CARES Act.”

    "I am a highly active volunteer who has made it my vocation to encourage U.S. expats in Greece to exercise their right as US citizens to vote in federal elections, no matter what their party affiliation. Using scare tactics and outright disinformation to mislead fellow Americans, by tying the receipt of a supplement for Covid-19 Relief dependent upon registering to vote and framing that relief as a gift from President Trump, is outrageous" Papaioannou added.

    Both the English translation of the letter and the Greek version follow at the end.

    Democrats Abroad Greece alerted the US Embassy to the letter and today US Citizens Services sent out a notification to all registered US Citizens in Greece on how to register to vote from overseas and request their absentee ballot.

    To be clear, the Covid-19 relief (CARES Act, Economic Impact Payment (EIP)) has NOTHING to do with whether or not an American is registered to vote. Nor does it matter which party an American may be a registered member of. American voters are registered by their home county in their home state. Those of us who vote from abroad are registered in the US state/county where we last voted before moving abroad. The Federal government does NOT have a roll of registered voters!

    Assistance under the CARES Act is not a gift from Trump or the White House! It is a refund of tax money US Citizens have already paid in, and, in some cases, will be taxable income on returns we file in April 2021. To call the supplemental payment ‘Trump Help’ is ridiculous. The CARES Act was passed by the House (Democratic majority).

    The IRS (Internal Revenue Service, i.e. the US Federal tax authority) does NOT have a list of registered voters. Voting in US federal elections does not make a voter a target of the tax authority. People who vote in Federal elections are not hounded down by the IRS. States do have the list of people registered in their state and may follow up to see if the voter owes state or local taxes. But the Federal government does not.

    Likewise, registering to vote in any US state has no connection to receiving Social Security pension benefits. The IRS and the SSA are two separate government agencies.

    The letter that misleads is as follows:

    ---------- Forwarded message ---------

    From: Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter <info@republicansoverseas.gr>
    Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020, 16:51
    Subject: Second installment of TRUMP HELP
    To:

    CAUTION: For the second installment of the TRUMP HELP on the effects of the virus.
    Announcement of the Greek Branch of the U.S. Republican Party. 16th July 2020

    As is well known in the Senate, the fate of the second tranche of the TRUMP AID, which tens of thousands of residents of Greece with American citizenship have already received, or are in the process of receiving, is being discussed in the coming days.

    From the information we have from the confidential news that our party officials in Washington are sending us, the second installment will be given around October and will be aimed primarily at Low and Zero Income Americans. Like the first instalment will be given on the basis of the tax return for the years 2018 and 2019 or the declaration of non-obligation to file a tax return, better known as Free-filers which tens of thousands of American citizens, permanent residents of Greece have completed and sent according to the detailed instructions we have issued.

    The second installment of the Trump aid seems to be somewhat more targeted, according to our information, and there is a good chance that some criteria will be put in place that exclude the receiving of the aid from what we call incidental American citizens, in translation "Symptomatic American citizens", i.e. those who have nothing to do with American political or social life. The most likely criterion for American residents abroad is strongly debated to be timely registration on the electoral roll.

    From what is also being discussed, no new application will be required and cheques will be mailed to the same persons, at the same addresses, but ONLY as long as further cross-checking is made and they are found to be active voters, i.e. they have been registered for the year 2020 on the electoral roll of a US state.

    That is why we are making this announcement today, since the deadline for registration on the electoral roll is 10 August 2020, i.e. less than a month. According to our information, if you are not registered to vote in the elections, you will most likely lose the second instalment of the allowance permanently, nor will it be possible to file late applications for registration on the electoral roll.

    We are making this announcement to ensure payment to you of the second installment of the TRUMP HELP. We've already given you the link to register for the electoral roll with the instructions we sent you to get the first installment of the TRUMP HELP. https://www.usvotefoundation.org/

    We hope you will take care of it accordingly, because if you neglect to register as voters, there will be absolutely nothing we can do to help you and the second instalment money will be permanently lost to you.

    If you need any help you can call the office
    Monday to Friday
    11:00-16:00
    210 61234 44
    6909914381
    Also keep track of the group on facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/217745992983012/?ref=group_header
    to have a more direct contact and update

    This announcement will be published on all our websites to inform Greek-Americans.
    The Party's Management Committee

    The misleading email in Greek is as follows:

    ---------- Forwarded message ---------

    Από: Republicans Overseas Hellenic Chapter <info@republicansoverseas.gr>
    Date: Παρ, 24 Ιουλ 2020, 16:51
    Subject: Δεύτερη δόση του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP
    To:

    ΠΡΟΣΟΧΗ: Για την Δεύτερη δόση του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP για τις συνέπειες του Ιού.
    Ανακοίνωση του Ελληνικού Παραρτήματος του Ρεπουμπλικανικού Κόμματος των ΗΠΑ. 16 Ιουλίου 2020

    Όπως είναι γνωστό στην Γερουσία συζητείται τις επόμενες ημέρες η τύχη της δεύτερης δόσης του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP το οποίο δεκάδες χιλιάδες κάτοικοι της Ελλάδας με Αμερικανική υπηκοότητα έχουν ήδη λάβει, ή είναι σε διαδικασία λήψης.

    Από τις πληροφορίες που έχουμε από τα εμπιστευτικά νέα που τα κομματικά στελέχη μας στην Ουάσιγκτον μας στέλνουν, η δεύτερη δόση θα δοθεί περίπου τον Οκτώβριο και θα απευθύνεται κυρίως σε Αμερικανούς πολίτες χαμηλών και μηδενικών εισοδημάτων. Όπως και η πρώτη δόση θα δίνεται με βάση την φορολογική δήλωση των ετών 2018 και 2019 ή την δήλωση μη υποχρέωσης υποβολής φορολογικής δήλωσης, γνωστότερη ως Free-filers την οποία δεκάδες χιλιάδες Αμερικανοί πολίτες, μόνιμοι κάτοικοι Ελλάδας έχουν συμπληρώσει και στείλει σύμφωνα με τις αναλυτικές οδηγίες που έχουμε εκδώσει.

    Η δεύτερη δόση του βοηθήματος Τράμπ φαίνεται ότι θα είναι κάπως πιο στοχευμένη, σύμφωνα με τις πληροφορίες μας και υπάρχει μεγάλη πιθανότητα, έως βεβαιότητα να μπούν κάποια κριτήρια που θα αποκλείουν την λήψη του βοηθήματος από αυτό που ονομάζουμε incidental American citizens, σε μετάφραση «Συμπτωματικούς Αμερικανούς πολίτες», δηλαδή αυτούς που δεν έχουν καμία σχέση με την Αμερικανική πολιτική ή κοινωνική ζωή. Το πιθανότερο κριτήριο για τους Αμερικανούς κατοίκους του εξωτερικού συζητείται έντονα να είναι η εμπρόθεσμη εγγραφή στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους.

    Από ότι επίσης συζητείται, δεν θα χρειαστεί νέα αίτηση και οι επιταγές θα ταχυδρομηθούν στα ίδια πρόσωπα, στις ίδιες διευθύνσεις, ΜΟΝΟ όμως εφ’ όσον γίνει περαιτέρω διασταύρωση και βρεθεί ότι είναι ενεργοί ψηφοφόροι, δηλαδή έχουν εγγραφεί για το έτος 2020 στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους κάποιας Πολιτείας των ΗΠΑ.

    Για αυτόν τον λόγο, προβαίνουμε στην ανακοίνωση αυτή σήμερα, μιάς και λήγει η προθεσμία εγγραφής στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους στις 10 Αυγούστου 2020, δηλαδή σε λιγότερο από ένα μήνα. Σύμφωνα με τις πληροφορίες μας, εάν δεν έχετε εγγραφεί για να ψηφίσετε στις εκλογές, το πιθανότερο είναι ότι θα χάσετε οριστικά την δεύτερη δόση του επιδόματος, ούτε θα υπάρχει η δυνατότητα να κατατεθούν εκπρόθεσμες αιτήσεις για εγγραφή στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους.

    Προβαίνουμε σε αυτήν την ανακοίνωση για την διασφάλιση της πληρωμής προς εσάς της δεύτερης δόσης του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP. Σας έχουμε ήδη δώσει το λίνκ για την εγγραφή στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους με τις οδηγίες που σας στείλαμε για να πάρετε την πρώτη δόση του ΒΟΗΘΗΜΑΤΟΣ TRUMP.Αν και θα το βρείτε και https://www.usvotefoundation.org/

    Ελπίζουμε να μεριμνήσετε αναλόγως, διότι αν αμελήσετε την εγγραφή σας ως ψηφοφόροι, δεν θα μπορέσουμε να κάνουμε απολύτως τίποτα για να σας βοηθήσουμε και θα χαθούν οριστικά τα χρήματα της δεύτερης δόσης για εσάς.

    Αν χρειάζεστε κάποια βοήθεια μπορείτε να καλείτε στο γραφείο
    Δευτέρα ως Παρασκευή
    11:00-16:00
    210 61234 44
    6909914381
    Επίσης να παρακολουθείτε την ομάδα στο facebook
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/217745992983012/?ref=group_header

    read more

    Dems Abroad Greece Suggests a 200th Birthday Present to the US Post Office

    Most Americans living outside the US depend on the US Post Office to deliver their ballots for US elections. But, this year, will the ballots arrive back in time to be counted?

    It’s the question that nags at a few Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) members. So, they decided to take a small, symbolic step and ask the Democratic Party to take a strong stand for absentee voting rights.

    At the global level, Democrats Abroad has been looking at solutions that include urging states to accept ballots by email attachment and fax. A few states do; most do not. And not all state legislatures, where voting practice is decided, are anxious to encourage full voting rights. Failing a secure way to transmit ballots, voters are left with trying to get them back as best they can.

    In past years, most US voters abroad sent their ballots back by regular mail or by courier if time was short. Some voters took advantage of the embassy’s diplomatic pouch. It was considered fast and secure, although not a good solution for tardy voters. The ballot still had to be mailed to their home county after the pouch arrived in DC and could arrive too late.

    US federal law sets broad rules for elections. Among these, all voters, no matter their state, are allowed to vote in federal elections, that is for President and House and Senate seats. It also requires the states to send out absentee ballots 45 days before the election. This year, they’ll be sent out on September 19. Voters who specify delivery by email or fax will get theirs the same day. Those who ask for the hard copy with return envelopes to be sent by mail used to get them within about a week. Now, arrival of the blank ballot sheet is also uncertain.

    As for returning ballots, the current view is even cloudier. Embassy “diplomatic pouches” are reputed to be taking longer. Current word has it as long as several weeks to arrive in the US (plus local mailing after entering the country), while the latest date after Election Day is 10 days for some states, and by Election Day for others.

    Mail service out of countries abroad is similarly uncertain this year, while couriers may be costly. A recent quote for an A4 standard weight envelope was €62!

    The possible failure of stateside mail in November arises from two factors. First, the US Postal Service has been underfunded for four decades and may run out of operating money this September. Second, the Covid pandemic has hit the USPS from all sides. As flights and cargo were blocked initially, mail originating overseas was delayed. Delivery of packages in the US has expanded due to phone and online ordering of supplies. But, USPS employees, initially not provided with PPE, have been infected, some 2000 quarantined by the end of April. This reduces available staff to deal with the backlog as commerce picks up.

    Worse yet, the recently appointed head of the USPS, Louis DeJoy, a person with no USPS experience but plenty in the private logistics field, has reportedly ordered mail staff to sort what they can and leave the rest for the next shift. The backlogs will, presumably, build up until a lot of mail doesn’t get delivered on time.

    The primary cause of USPS underfunding is a 1970 law (The Postal Reorganization Act) that requires its pensions to be funded 75 years into the future.  No other government agency or private business is so required. Why? A likely answer lies in a movement some 50 years old and funded by the rightwing Koch family to drive the post office into the ground and then demand its privatization.

    Against this foreshadowing of mail failure, Dems in Greece decided to do what they could, apart from signing all the online petitions. First of all, Democrats Abroad, or Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) as it’s formally known, is an official committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The voting members of DPCA are the chair, vice chair and, in larger committees, voting representatives, of each Country Committee. DAGR, a smaller country committee, has two, its chair, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou, and its vice chair, Brady Kiesling. They also lead the 11-member board (ExCom) that acts officially for DAGR.

    So, any member of DAGR can bring a matter of concern to the ExCom to act on. This time, a few members who’ve been following the mail uncertainties decided to make an official request for a resolution to start here and go straight to the top. The draft is simple:

    “Because the majority of Americans living outside the US borders depend on the US Post Office to deliver our ballots to our Local Election Officials, and because the USPS is currently underfunded to the point it may run out of operating funds in September 2020, we call on our elected officials to fully fund the USPS at least through the end of the year, so that the November 2020 general election can go forward, disenfranchising no eligible US voter. While this is crucial to those of us living abroad, it is also of vital, life-saving interest to our fellow voters inside the US, many of whom will depend on receiving and returning mail-in ballots. It is also the least we can do to provide PPE and safe working conditions for our mail processors and carriers to perform their duties without risking their lives and livelihoods.”

    The Resolution was approved in a special e-vote called last night and sent to the global DA board. They are expected to approve it in their regular meeting on Friday.  And if approved, it will be sent to the DNC. From there, it’s up to the Democratic caucus in House and Senate to put their weight behind it. Funding for the USPS is included in the HEROES Act, the second major piece of legislation passed by the US House of Representatives to deal with Covid-19. The HEROES Act, which as written provides $25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS, is currently stalled in the US Senate.

    The small, symbolic step taken in Greece is democracy in action. According to DAGR member Karen Lee, one of the 8 who put forward the proposal, “This is why we belong to DAGR. Because it’s an official part of the Democratic Party, it’s a conduit for voters’ voices to be carried straight to the DNC.”

    The resolution is timed to reach DC over the weekend, which, by no coincidence, marks 200 years of public postal service in the US. Says DAGR Chair Papaioannou, “We hope it’s a fitting 200th Birthday present to the Postal Service and a real help to American voters this November!”

    References:
    Broad information on USPS employee Covid infection/quarantine April 2020 http://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-usps-employees-test-positive-2000-in-quarantine-2020-3

    Postmaster General DeJoy http://www.newsweek.com/trump-donor-louis-dejoy-confirmed-postmaster-general-1502579

    Postal Union (APWU) statement on DeJoy directives http://www.apwu.org/news/message-members-apwu-national-executive-board-response-postmaster-general

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