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


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


A Conversation with Former Ambassador to Greece, Thomas Miller and Mrs. Bonnie Miller

  

Former Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller and his wife Bonnie Miller, will meet with members and friends of Democrats Abroad Greece on Thursday, July 16th at 9 pm in an online webinar.

Ambassador and Mrs. Miller will discuss their time in Greece, the importance of the overseas voter to the outcome of the November 3rd election and US policy regarding crucial topics affecting Greece such as AOZ, energy and security issues.  Attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions to Ambassador Miller, to be answered following the presentation.

To participate in the Webinar “A Conversation with former Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller and Mrs. Bonnie Miller,” please follow the link to register for the webinar, present your questions and receive a link to connect to the presentation.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe_GtQRTkXB1CWix9CdY8pGuzB4Lj56ildRsVmMI2Q9HcoLLw/viewform

The deadline to register is Tuesday, July 14th.

Read more

What Can One Dem Do???

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!

National

  • 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 (charity.rome@hotmail.com) 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: gotv@democratsabroad.org)


At Least One Greek Bank will Deposit Your US CARES Check

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


DA Global Presidential Primary in Greece

VOTE IN GREECE for the Democratic Presidential Candidate of your choice
Tuesday, March 3rd and Sunday, March 8th!!!

There are 57 primaries or caucuses taking place beginning February through June to select the Democratic Presidential Candidate for the November 3rd election.

Wait, the US only has 50 states! Where did 57 come from?
The Primaries and Caucuses include:
50 States, DC, 5 Territories and DEMOCRATS ABROAD!
Yes, Democrats Abroad around the world has the same status as one state and even MORE POWER!
This is your chance to vote in person in GREECE this presidential year!

During the next few weeks DAGR Members will be receiving a call from a member of Democrats Abroad Greece. Why? To ensure that we have your correct information on file, to tell you about our upcoming events and to remind you to get yourself registered to vote for both the Presidential Primary and the November elections. Our volunteers from GOTV - Get Out The Vote will guide you through registering online by going to the site Vote From Abroad - www.votefromabroad.org or offering assistance if you have difficulty registering.

Democrats Abroad GREECE (DAGR) will have 2 voting centers for the 2020 Global Presidential Primary:

 

THESSALONIKI:
DAGR Global Presidential Primary Voting Center – THESSALONIKI
SUPER TUESDAY
Date: Tuesday, March 3
Time: 1 pm to 7 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place:The Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center
The American College (ACT) -Thessaloniki
17 Sevenidi Street
Pylea, Thessaloniki 55535

ATHENS:
DAGR Global Presidential Primary Voting Center – ATHENS
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: Noon to 5 pm
Place: King George/Grande Bretagne Hotel
Syntagma
3 Vasileos Georgiou Street
Athens 10564

Am I eligible?
If you’re a Democrat Abroad member in GREECE and you haven’t voted (or plan to vote) in any other 2020 state presidential primary/caucus, you’re eligible to vote in the Global Presidential Primary.

The Global Presidential Primary is a week-long voting period -- kicking off on March 3, Super Tuesday! -- for Democrats Abroad members to participate in our official party-run presidential primary. We’re holding more than 220 events in 45 countries around the world, and we hope you’ll be joining us.

What if I can’t join a voting event in person?
If you can’t join us at our events in Greece, you can vote remotely. Look for your primary ballot in your inbox on February 18, or download it from democratsabroad.org starting on Feb 18, as well.

Do votes in the GPP count?
Why should I participate in the GPP instead of voting in my state’s presidential primary?
Yes, your vote counts!
In fact, you could even say that votes in the GPP count even more.
The Global Presidential Primary is more powerful than voting in the California primary. In fact, it’s 4 times more powerful!

I vote in California.
Can I vote in the Global Presidential Primary and the California primary?
You can only vote in a presidential primary once.
If you vote in the global primary and want to vote in California for the down-ballot primary races (like for your congressperson), you can!
Just skip the presidential section on your California ballot.

Where can I ask further questions?
Please email info-greece@democratsabroad.org

We will also be asking for volunteers on the day of the Global Primary in both Thessaloniki and Athens. If you would like to help out and be an active participant in the voting process - kind of like serving as an election judge back home, watch for our next email with a google form with volunteering opportunities.


Brady Kiesling Elected Vice Chair in Special Election

In a special election, completed on January 8, Brady Kiesling became Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) Vice Chair with 80 percent of the ballots.  Following the death of country Chair Steve Medeiros, on November 7th, as per the DAGR Constitution, the Vice Chair, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou, succeeded Medeiros as Chair.  A Special Election was run from December 18th through to January 7th.  Brady Kiesling and George Malamo were the candidates. Electronic ballots and mail-in ballots could be cast.  The Election committee -- comprising Nikki Fellouris, chair, and committee members Anna Haughton and Sarajane Kidd Leone -- announced the results at an online Webex meeting on Wednesday, January 8th.

(R-L) - Brady with Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair, Will Bakker, Regional Vice Chair - EMEA
and Stacey Papaioannou, Chair DAGR

Brady was a featured speaker at the EMEA Regional Democrats Abroad conference held in Athens this past October. He has been active in mobilizing the American community in Athens in support of Democratic candidates since 2004. During the 2008 elections, he maintained the DA membership database. From 2010 to 2013, he served DAGR as Secretary.  He has volunteered for a variety of DA programs and events including phone banking, Study Abroad outreach, data base upkeep and nominations-elections committee.

Brady first came to Greece in 1979 when he studied at the American School of Classical studies. He is currently working on a free app,Topos Text, that accesses Greek classics and archaeology.  Kiesling is a writer and researcher based in Athens.


Women's March 2020 in Athens

The “march that became a movement” showing support for women’s equal rights across the globe converged on Syntagma Square Saturday afternoon January 18th.
The temperature was a balmy 10 c and the main square and surrounding streets had been closed off by police 30 minutes before the program was to be presented (no thanks to a VIP making an exit from the Grande Bretagne!). But nothing could deter the Women’s March Athens 2020 and their hundred or so supporters to be there!
In 2017 THE MARCH began as an outcry against one single misogynist but the issues that women confront around the world are comparable. Participants hope to bring true equality to our societies by raising awareness and activism-which is what THE MARCH is all about.

Members of the Women's Caucus of Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) invited all individuals and women's groups to peacefully participate in this year's march in Athens on January 18. Equality is on the table in 2020, advocating for a society of equals across all geographic and economic borders. The voices were loud and messages strong that we will no longer tolerate or defer to a community that does not treat each of its members with equality. Hillary Clinton made the point more than 2 decades ago. Today, women struggle across the globe for autonomy over their bodies, financial equality in the work force and ultimately THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS.

     

In its 4th year, the program on Saturday included presentations from:

Georgia Kallis, DAGR Women’s March 2020 Chair
Brady Kiesling, DAGR Vice Chair - A message from Democrats Abroad Greece
Karen Lee, DAGR Fundraising Chair - A message from Margarita Papandreou
Dr. Maria Alvanou, Criminologist, Defense Attorney
Zefi Diamanda, Journalist, Adjunct Professor at Panteon University of Athens
Apostolos H. Pontas, Politician-President of EDEM Union of Democratic National Reform
Alicia Stallings - Poet presenting “Atalanta”
Maria Misenidou
Jai Salvador
Las Tesis (ENGLISH) “The Rapist is You” - Las Tesis “The Rapist is You” (Greek)
Zandile Ngubane - Mandela Gals - “Still I Rise” Maya Angelou
Mandela Gals - Dance Performance


Special Elections to Fill the Vacancy for DAGR Vice-Chair

DAGR is holding a Special Election from December 18th until January 7th 2020 to fill the vacancy on the Executive Committee of Vice-Chair. Following the death of Country Chair, Steve Medeiros on November 7th, Stacey Harris-Papaioannou, succeeded as Chair as per DAGR bylaws. That in turn created a vacancy in the position of Vice Chair. In compliance with the regulations that Chair and Vice-Chair must be sexual opposites, only males were eligible as candidates.

As of the close of nominations on December 15th the two candidates for Country Vice-Chair are:

The candidates for the position of VICE CHAIR DAGR are:

  • Kiesling, (John) Brady
  • Malamo, George

The two candidates have prepared statements concerning their candidacy:

Brady Kiesling, Candidate for Vice Chair Democrats Abroad Greece

I appreciate the confidence shown me through this nomination to fill in as Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Greece. Steve Medeiros accepted the post of Chair out of an admirable sense of loyalty to the American citizen community of Greece. He understood, as we did not, how little time was left to him, but he also understood the urgency of the political crisis in Washington and the need for volunteers to step forward. With such an example I could not decently turn down the request for help.

I am a writer and researcher living in Athens, and the former head of the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Athens. My experience in Greece dates back to 1979, when I studied at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. My current project is a free classics/archaeology app called ToposText.

I have been active since 2004 in helping mobilize the American community in Athens in support of Democratic candidates and other worthy causes. During the 2008 elections I maintained the DA membership database; I served 2010-2013 as Secretary and have volunteered for various events and programs in recent years, including phone-banking, database upkeep, and the nominating committee.

We owe it to Steve’s memory, as well as to our children and the world as a whole, to mobilize every American vote we can in 2020. If judged worthy of your vote, I pledge to work closely with our new Chair Stacey and the rest of the DAGR board in carrying out a successful Global Primary and Get-Out-the-Vote campaign this fall. Democrats Abroad must remain a vibrant element of the American community in Greece.

George Malamo, Candidate for Vice Chair Democrats Abroad Greece

I am George Malamo of Florida, and I am a proud native Floridian from Pensacola. You may recognize my name since I served as Athens Chapter Representative 2017-19 and ran again for “At Large” in January. I was not elected (due to my physical absence), but that’s politics. Unlike my opponent, I have consistently stepped up for a full term DAGR Board position in recent years and in light of Chair Steve Medeiros’ passing, I am volunteering again to serve.

I have been a registered Democrat in Florida since 1978, it was my father’s party so it runs in the family. We both agreed on the same beliefs of the Democratic Party such as strong economic security for everyone, no one should be homeless, hungry, abused, or neglected, fair tax systems, equal rights, the free enterprise system for the working/middle class, among many more. These beliefs would probably define me as a moderate Democrat, definitely not a fire-breathing progressive. It doesn’t hurt to have a few moderate Floridians on the DAGR Board as the country’s third-largest state in population terms remains a critical electoral battleground, if not the most critical state.
Currently, I’m serving for a third consecutive year as the President of AHEPA Chapter Solon HJ04 in Athens, with extensive contacts in the local community and senior leaders as well as Washington, while organizing events for Greek-American relations, working closely with the educational sector, and supporting the social solidarity of the Attiki region in health, welfare, and gender equality.
My Greek is near-native fluency, which will be invaluable as we fight to win hearts and minds in the Greek-American community here, especially in the sizeable group of Greek Americans who inexplicably lean towards President Trump. If needed I can comfortably handle election-year media outreach in the community, although that is not my purpose for running.
I am an engineer by training which I think would complement the wide array of skills and experience of the non-technical professionals already serving on the DAGR Executive Committee. I prefer focused resource management and people that know me can confirm that I am not afraid to speak up. We all know that DAGR’s financial resources have been tapped out since we started operating an expensive formal Edra in central Athens back in 2016, and I think DAGR desperately needs tighter financial management if we are ever to move ahead. I have ideas that will cut costs without limiting our projects and programs. If elected I will work to keep spending to the minimum on vanity projects and lower-priority activities so that we can keep our eye on the ball, that is electing democrats in 2020.

I hope you will consider voting for me so we can do all that is possible here in DAGR to try to move our homeland forward in 2020.


Only members of Democrats Abroad Greece are eligible to cast ballots for this election.  If you have not received the electronic link to the ballot or the pdf ballot, please contact electionsdagr@gmail.com.

The DEADLINE for submitting electronic ballots is Tuesday, January 7, 2020; 23:30 (11:30 pm)

The DEADLINE for mailing postal ballots is Thursday, January 2, 2020.

If you encounter difficulties with the electronic link, please request the Special Election Ballot from: electionsdagr@gmail.com.

• Please print the PDF, fill it out, sign it, scan or photograph the ballot. Send it as an email attachment to: electionsdagr@gmail.com

• If you prefer to mail the ballot, please post it by January 2nd, 2020 so that it has reached the office by Tuesday, January 7th. Send it to:

Democrats Abroad Greece
23 Ilia Zervou
Athens, GR 11144

The Special Election Meeting to tally the votes and announce the winner will be on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 on WebEx at 7 pm. The link to the meeting will be sent out January 7th.

Thank you in advance for making the time to vote!


Debate Watch in Thessaloniki


Democrats Abroad Thessaloniki Chapter members will gather for a Debate Watch of the Democratic Party Presidential Primary Candidates in their November 2019 Debate.

Members are encouraged to bring friends, family, colleagues, and people they know who follow U.S. Politics - and to invite Study Abroad and other students they know to join in too. We’ll watch the candidates on You Tube (the Debate will have been broadcast live from Atlanta on 20 November), voice our opinions – and order out for pizza and beer.

When: Saturday, 23 November, 19:00 – 21:00

Where: Democrats Abroad/Thessaloniki Chapter charter member, Mary Kosmidis, has kindly offered a space for us at: 
Iasonidou 19, 3rd Floor. Near Kamara, between Filippou and Olympou Streets. Ring the downstairs doorbell marked Mary Kosmidis.

Ten candidates have met the polling and donor thresholds to participate: Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.