What Can One Dem Do?
To paraphrase: “November and Trump’s a’comin’ We’re still on our own.” The Kentucky primary this week looked a lot like Georgia before it. One polling station was open for all of Louisville, and a significant number of absentee ballots requested never arrived.
As one DAGR Issues Group member put it, “But what can WE do to make sure this doesn’t happen in November?”
First of all, numbers make the election harder to tamper with. Democrats have the numbers. That is, we have the people who agree with us on the issues.
We just have to get them registered and voting.
Here’s what we can do!
- Know the enemy. No smart election thief uses one big, blatant ploy. It’s death by a thousand little cuts. If you want to know how they all fit together, check our 2016 series, here, here, and here:
- Urge your Senators, now, to pass the HEROES Act, with money allotted to help states set up mail-in ballots. Only 3 states regularly vote-by-mail, but most others are trying to establish it, in case there’s a second wave of pandemic in the fall.
- Urge Congress to save the US Postal Service! For decades, conservatives have been trying to starve and privatize this institution we all depend on. Support funding to put it back on a solid financial footing and be prepared to quickly deliver mail-in ballots.
State and Local
Know the election law in your state.
- Start with your state’s information on the VoteFromAbroad website. You can see if you’re registered, have been sent your ballot, had it received back, and counted.
- Find out who oversees election integrity. Is it your state’s Secretary of State or another official? Is that person, no matter which party, an election protector? Or are they of the Kemp (Georgia 2018) or Blackwell (Ohio 2004) ilk?
- Look further if you want. Many university departments, e.g. law or public administration, study local elections and voting threats in their states.
- Contact your state Democratic Party. See what they’re doing to protect the election!
- Make contact with your county LEO (local election official), board of elections or other name. Let them know you’re watching and waiting with bated breath for your ballot. You can find their contact information on that VoteFromAbroad link above.
- And, while you’re at it, reach out to your county Dem party. Seriously! Send them an email and ask if they need any e-help.
There will be opportunities for us abroad to help phone bank to voters in the US. This may be via the parties, various candidates’ campaigns or interest groups. Most will use an online dialing system so you can call the US free of charge. And most will provide a ‘script’ or talking points to use.
As Howard Dean pointed out in his June webinar with DA, we’re most effective talking to voters in our home districts.
- US-side, be selective. Join a call-campaign that targets your area. The stateside voter may be excited to get a call from abroad, but you’ll have even more impact when they know you share roots, issues and candidates.
- Dems Abroad will have some calling campaigns for you to choose from later on. Once the window closes for timely voting from abroad, we shift efforts to stateside.
Democrats Abroad (last but not least!)
First, let’s energize our DA members and make sure they’re registered (www.votefromabroad.org) and have requested a ballot.
In September, we’ll be calling again to make sure they have registered. As soon as ballots are sent out (Sept 19), we need to vote and return them PRONTO! There, very likely, will be mail delays and other problems in November. An early start gives time to overcome them.
- You can help with one of the global DA campaigns using the online CallHub system, if you have a computer or laptop.
- Or volunteer to call our members in Greece. DAGR uses landline and mobile phones. We call by zip-code area, so you get to know people closest to you. You might even arrange to get together some time. Contact GOTV chair Charity Moschopoulos (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you haven’t already volunteered.
- Sign up for Voter Protection news via Dems Abroad. DA volunteers are monitoring the scene in each state, particularly in regard to the potential pitfalls in voting absentee from abroad this year. For an inside look, there’s a DA voter protection webinar on Facebook.
One last bit of advice from DA: “If someone says you can’t vote, or that you have to provide a photo ID, or register in person, know your rights (that someone is wrong)! Point to Federal voting law and make sure others know their rights, too!”
Dems Abroad Voter Help Desk - Democrats Abroad works with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to stay informed on state voting purges and negotiates with Secretary of State offices regarding access to ballots and election sites, explains Julia Bryan. “And we provide a 24/7 help desk that runs 365 days a year, answering voting questions via email, chat channels and social media channels. If you try to access an election site and it doesn’t work, don’t assume it’s your connection,” Bryan advises. “Get in touch with Democrats Abroad and let us know about the problem.”(Email: email@example.com)
And the good news is ….
At Least One Greek Bank Will Deposit Your US EIP Check
One Member's Experience!
We’ve heard a few success stories concerning the Economic Impact Payment of $1200(CARES Act), but questions continue to come in. Today, we move a step ahead … one check in the mail, deposited successfully.
When my EIP check arrived, I called my bank’s main Customer Service number and asked questions. I was lucky that day to be put through to the colleague who ‘would know the most about it.’ He explained the bank was dealing with myriad new routines, rules, etc. in light of our virus-driven work-arounds.
But as it turned out, the information he gave me held true.
1. Yes, the bank will deposit the US gov’t check in a dollar account.
(You’d have to ask further questions if you only have a euro account)
2. The deposit must be made in-person during lobby hours.
3. The deposit must be made at the bank branch where your account is registered.
After the check had self-quarantined for a few days, i.e. when I was ready to go out to the branch, I got in touch with the branch personnel and made sure they knew about the rules Customer Service had shared. I also asked about busy hours, best time to visit, etc.
When I arrived at the bank branch today, the ‘banking lobby’ manager greeted me with a smile and she recognized my voice from the phone call yesterday! This may be the upside of an economic slow-down.
The teller was also friendly and helpful. The lobby was serving 2 or 3 customers, max, in a large space. No lines outside. Most personnel were either wearing masks or working behind plastic/glass dividers. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes.
A lot of people have been wondering if/when their EIP will arrive or be deposited in a US bank account. As a Social Security beneficiary, I had expected mine to go to the account where my SS benefit goes every month.
I did not file any additional information with IRS. I had filed my 1040 returns, using my Greek address. I got Social Security by direct-deposit in a stateside bank account. There were no boxes I could tick on the IRS site to “add info here.”
But I kept checking my US account online to see if it had arrived. And then the check came to Greece by mail. This took a bit longer than an electronic deposit should have and it must have cost ‘taxpayers’ more to print and mail a few million hard-copy checks. You get the impression that someone at IRS said, “Keep it simple. Just mail them all to the address on the return.” I could be wrong.
That’s the long and short of it. Contrary to what Aunt Clara may have advised, you do not have to fly back to the US to cash the EIP check. But you may encounter other issues here, even if you bank where I do.
The best advice is call your bank and ask if and how they will handle it.
And then, if you run into any snags, be sure to let DAGR know. Dems Abroad is keeping a close eye on this as well as on registration and voting difficulties and may be able to help.
PS – If you don’t desperately need the whole EIP check, consider donating a small portion to DAGR. We do desperately need it to keep the lights on (and the Eforia happy) so we can concentrate on the elections at hand … and send the grifters packing in November!
Experienced and Submitted by Karen Lee
DAGR Fund Raising Committee
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