Athens Votes in the Global Presidential Primary!

I VOTED! And You Still Can, Too!

Democrats in Greece who have not yet cast their ballot in the Global Presidential Primary have until midnight tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 8) to get in on the decision!

Meanwhile, yesterday’s live Voting Center at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens saw a steady flow of voters from doors-open at noon until 6 p.m. Among these were nearly 50 new members, joining to take advantage of the same-day voting.

Unlike some GOP-controlled states back home, Dems Abroad, recognized as a state party committee by the national party, welcomes voter turnout and makes it easy to join and vote.

Easy as the process is, eligibility and accountability are strictly observed, just as in any precinct in the US. DAGR’s routine, laid out by Voting Center Manager Steve Medeiros in concert with Country Chair Karen Lee, tailored the global DA rules to the layout and flow of the venue in the GB’s mezzanine conference room area. “The buck stops with us,” remarked Lee. “So, that skype session with Steve, that ended at 2 a.m. was worth it. Honing those station instructions before volunteer training on Saturday really paid off in practice.” The Chair and Vice Chair of each Country Committee are the voting members of the DPCA (Democratic Party Committees Abroad).

Medeiros, Vice Chair of DAGR, noted, “You can read the rules over and over, but when you put them into a working plan for a particular venue, that’s when you digest the logic of the accountability process.”  

After close, when the ‘vote tellers’ made the preliminary count, sign-ins and new-joins matched every ballot cast! The preliminary count of local ballots did not include the ‘remote’ ballots sent by members outside Athens, and will not be official till worldwide ballots are counted by DA.  Athens results were roughly 57% Sanders, 43% Clinton, with no votes cast for the other two names on the ballot, de la Fuente and O’Malley. The tally was immediately reported by phone to the International Chair, Katie Solon. The signed report was then scanned and emailed to central. Once voting closes on March 8 and all remote ballots sent by post are received, the actual ballots will be sent to DA global. One more physical count will be made of ballots from around the world. Final, official count results will be announced by DA on March 21.

Remote ballots can be sent in by fax, email scanned attachment, or regular mail. Ballots sent via post office must be postmarked midnight on March 8. Democratic voters can still join DA and download a ballot and instructions at the DA website:

Over 40 member-volunteers covered three shifts, while students from an ACS 10th grade history class helped usher voters. The students witnessed a typical – though possibly more fun than usual – US election site and learned much. They also helped with photos for live tweeting. Other photos were taken by a member volunteer, while video footage was also recorded throughout the day.

As voters moved through the site, there was ample time for talk about the process, as well as about issues of the day and DAGR plans for the election season. Several new volunteers signed on and the Women’s Caucus netted close to 20 new names for its mailing list.

A DAGR supporter rented the venue and provided sandwiches for volunteers, while the Grande Bretagne offered coffee and water. “The GB management and staff were superb, start to finish,” said Medeiros. “We can’t thank them enough!  Nor can we begin to thank our volunteers!”

“Electoral law, party rules, state variations, process and schedules … it’s a lot to take in, let alone be competent to explain to others. But with phone banking just past, and these members helping again with the GPP, we’re getting quite good at it,” Lee added. “That’s the life blood of the organization, though, with members pitching in, gaining knowledge and confidence, moving up into leadership.”

Volunteers will be recognized at DAGR’s Annual General Meeting, set for Thursday, March 21.

Check out photos from the Voting Center on Facebook and Twitter.

DAGR Women's Caucus - International Woman's Day March 8th

Bill and Melinda Gates - Two Super Powers We Wish We Had


Take the Pledge:

GPP Press Release - English and Greek

4 March, 2016

Americans Abroad help select Democratic Presidential candidate

  • Greece is one of more than 40 around the world hosting in-person voting, and globally we are seeing a massive surge of overseas citizen involvement in the campaign

  • U.S. Democrats living in Athens can vote in person for their favorite candidate on Sunday, March 6 at the Global Presidential Primary voting site

  • Americans living elsewhere in Greece can vote now by postal ballot, email or fax

Demonstrating an unparalleled level of engagement in American politics this year, over 10,000 Americans overseas have already voted in Democrats Abroad’s Global Presidential Primary, with many more ballots to be cast between now and March 8.

Unlike voters in the United Sates, Americans living abroad will have the opportunity to vote in their primary for another four days at local polling stations, or by emailing, posting or faxing their ballot.   The primary, which kicked off at Midnight on Tuesday, March 1 in Wellington, New Zealand, has been the subject of unprecedented interest by the public and the international media. The final results of the Global Presidential Primary, including delegate allocations, will not be announced until all ballots are counted on March 21.

Voting centers report large numbers of Americans joining Democrats Abroad at their local voting center, showing proof of identity to volunteers, and casting a ballot.  U.S. Democrats in 111 cities, in 39 countries, will take part in the Global Presidential Primary before it runs its course. A full list of voting sites and times can be found at

How we work:  Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party outside the United States, has launched its campaign to help Americans citizens living abroad to nominate the U.S. Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee. (1) Any Democrat living abroad (2) can take part in the Global Presidential Primary by joining Democrats Abroad via its webpage or the dedicated voter registration/ballot request tool, Membership is free.

There are two opportunities for Americans in Greece to vote in the Global Presidential Primary:

  • On March 6, Democrats living in or near Athens can vote in person at a dedicated Global Presidential Primary voting site. Site details and polling hours have been sent to members.

  • From now until March 8, Democrats who are unable to attend a voting site can vote remotely via postal ballot, email attachment or fax. Details at (3)

After March 8, the votes of Democrats living in over 190 countries worldwide will be counted. Any candidate receiving 15% or more of the primary votes cast will be awarded delegates in proportion to their support in the Global Presidential Primary.

Democrats Abroad will have 17 delegate votes at the Democratic Convention, held in Philadelphia on July 25-28, 2016. (4)

Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) Vice Chair and Voting Center Manager Steve Medeiros noted that a huge amount of work has gone into preparations. “This is a serious election, with all the legal safeguards we have stateside. But it’s also a chance for Democrats to meet up, something that’s sometimes difficult in a city as big as Athens. We’re really looking forward to Sunday.”

DAGR Chair Karen Lee added, “Because Americans abroad hail from all 50 states, we usually vote for those who will represent our home states. But once every four years, the Democratic Party allows us to help choose the candidate we will all have in common, that is, the Presidential candidate. Casting our vote in this global election amplifies our voice in decisions that affect our lives as expats.  It’s a very special privilege. We’re looking forward to a great day on Sunday.”

For more information on this event or for members of the press interested in visiting the polling sites, contact Alec Mally, Treasurer of Democrats Abroad Greece at [email protected] or 697-379-4849


4 Μαρτίου 2016


  • Η Ελλάδα είναι μία από τις 40 και πλέον χώρες στον κόσμο όπου οι Αμερικανοί πολίτες προσέρχονται στις κάλπες για να ψηφίσουν αυτοπροσώπως τον εκπρόσωπο του Δημοκρατικού Κόμματος.

  • Το ενδιαφέρον των Αμερικανών κατοίκων του εξωτερικού για συμμετοχή στην προεκλογική εκστρατεία  αυξάνεται σημαντικά σε όλο τον κόσμο.

  • Την Κυριακή  6 Μαρτίου ψηφίζουν τα μέλη του Δημοκρατικού Κόμματος στην Αθήνα στο εκλογικό τους κέντρο.

  • Οι Αμερικανοί που ζουν στις άλλες πόλεις της Ελλάδας όπου δεν υπάρχει εκλογικό κέντρο, μπορούν να ψηφίσουν ηλεκτρονικά, ταχυδρομικά ή με φαξ.

Πάνω από 10.000 Αμερικανοί πολίτες που ζουν σε χώρες εκτός των ΗΠΑ, έχουν ήδη  ψηφίσει τον υποψήφιο της αρεσκείας τους στις Παγκόσμιες Προκριματικές Εκλογές ενώ πολλές ακόμα ψήφοι αναμένονται να καταμετρηθούν και στις υπόλοιπες χώρες από τώρα ως και τις 8 Μαρτίου που θα ολοκληρωθεί η διαδικασία, επιδεικνύοντας έτσι μια άνευ προηγουμένου προσήλωση στα Αμερικανικά πολιτικά δρώμενα.

Αντίθετα με τους ψηφοφόρους που ζουν εντός των ΗΠΑ, οι Αμερικανοί του Εξωτερικού έχουν την ευκαιρία να συνεχίσουν να ψηφίζουν στα τοπικά εκλογικά τμήματα, με ηλεκτρονικό ταχυδρομείο, με μέσω ταχυδρομείου η με φαξ για 4 ημέρες ακόμα. Οι Προκριματικές Εκλογές που ξεκίνησαν στο Γουέλινγκτον της Νέας Ζηλανδίας την Τρίτη 1 Μαρτίου, βρίσκονται υπό το πρίσμα τόσο του κοινού ενδιαφέροντος όσο και του διεθνούς τύπου. Τα αποτελέσματα των Παγκοσμίων Προκριματικών Προεδρικών Εκλογών, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των αποτελεσμάτων για την κατανομή των εκλεκτόρων, θα ανακοινωθούν μόνο αφού θα έχει τελειώσει και η τελευταία καταμέτρηση στις 21 Μαρτίου.

Τα εκλογικά κέντρα που έχουν στηθεί σε όλο τον κόσμο αναφέρουν χαρακτηριστικά ότι οι Αμερικανοί πολίτες προσέρχονται αθρόα με το διαβατήριό τους για να ψηφίσουν. Αναμένεται ότι μέχρι την λήξη της προθεσμίας, Αμερικανοί Δημοκρατικοί από 111 πόλεις 39 χωρών θα έχουν λάβει μέρος στις Παγκόσμιες Προκριματικές Προεδρικές Εκλογές. Οι τοποθεσίες στις οποίες λειτουργούν εκλογικά κέντρα καθώς και τα ωράρια λειτουργίας τους αναρτώνται στην επίσημη ιστοσελίδα του Κόμματος,

Πως γίνεται η διαδικασία: ΟΙ Δημοκρατικοί του Εξωτερικού, που είναι το επίσημο όργανο του Κόμματος των Δημοκρατικών, έχουν ξεκινήσει την προεκλογική εκστρατεία για την ανάδειξη του εκπροσώπου του Κόμματος για τις Προεδρικές Εκλογές. Οποιοσδήποτε Δημοκρατικός ζεί στο Εξωτερικό μπορεί να συμμετάσχει στη διαδικασία των εκλογών 1) με το να γίνει μέλος του Κόμματος μέσω της ηλεκτρονικής σελίδας του, ή 2) με το να εγγραφεί στους εκλογικούς καταλόγους και να ζητήσει το ψηφοδέλτιο του μέσω του Δεν υπάρχει καμία χρέωση για να γίνει κάποιος μέλος.

Υπάρχουν δύο τρόποι για να ψηφίσει στις Προκριματικές Προεδρικές Εκλογές κάποιος Αμερικανός πολίτης που ζει στην Ελλάδα:

  • Είτε να προσέρθει στο Εκλογικό Κέντρο στις 6 Μαρτίου κατά την ώρα που θα αναγράφεται στο έντυπο που θα του αποσταλεί,

  • Είτε να στείλει ταχυδρομικά, ηλεκτρονικά ή με φαξ το ψηφοδέλτιό του συμπληρωμένο στην διεύθυνση έως τις 8 Μαρτίου (3).

Οι ψήφοι των ψηφοφόρων του Δημοκρατικού κόμματος που ζουν σε 190 χώρες και πλέον εκτός των ΗΠΑ θα καταμετρηθούν μετά τις 8 Μαρτίου. Οι υποψήφιοι που θα λάβουν πάνω από 15%  επί του συνόλου των ψήφων, θα εξασφαλίσουν αντιπροσώπους ανάλογα με το ποσοστό των ψήφων που έλαβαν στις Παγκόσμιες Προκριματικές Προεδρικές Εκλογές.

Οι Δημοκρατικοί του Εξωτερικού θα εκπροσωπούνται από 17 μέλη στο Συνέδριο των Δημοκρατικών στη Φιλαδέλφεια στις 25-28 Ιουλίου 2106.

Ο Αντι-Πρόεδρος των Δημοκρατικών στην Ελλάδα κ. Στηβ  Μεντέϊρος  δήλωσε ότι έχει καταβληθεί πολύς χρόνος προετοιμασίας για τις εκλογές αυτές. « Οι εκλογές είναι σοβαρή υπόθεση και πρέπει να ακολουθήσουμε όλες τις  νομικές διαδικασίες. Εκτός από αυτό όμως, είναι μια ευκαιρία για να συναντηθούν οι Δημοκρατικοί και να γνωριστούν, κάτι που είναι δύσκολο σε μια μεγάλη πόλη όπως είναι η Αθήνα.  Ανυπομονούμε να έρθει η Κυριακή».

Η Πρόεδρος των Δημοκρατικών κα Κάρεν Λη πρόσθεσε ότι « Επειδή οι Αμερικανοί που βρίσκονται εδώ κατάγονται από όλες τις 50 Πολιτείες, συνήθως προτιμούν να ψηφίζουν τα άτομα που γνωρίζει ο καθένας από την δική του Πολιτεία καταγωγής. Αλλά κάθε 4 χρόνια το Κόμμα των Δημοκρατικών μας δίνει την δυνατότητα να ψηφίζουμε  τον ένα κοινό για όλους υποψήφιο, τον Πρόεδρο.  Η ψήφος μας στις Παγκόσμιες Προκριματικές Προεδρικές Εκλογές διευρύνει την δυνατότητά μας να ακουστούμε ως εκπατρισμένοι Αμερικανοί, κάτι που είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο προνόμιο. Γι αυτό έχει μεγάλη σημασία για μας η Κυριακή των Εκλογών και ανυπομονούμε να δούμε τα αποτελέσματα».

For more information on this event or for members of the press interested in visiting the polling sites, contact Alec Mally, Treasurer of Democrats Abroad Greece at [email protected] or 697-379-4849


Women's Caucus - Suffragette‏ Movie

The film Suffragette has finally come to town!

Join the DAGR Women's Caucus on Wednesday, February 24 for the film and discussion!

Odeon Opera

Akadimias 57

Wednesday - 8:15 p.m.

Let's meet at the ticket booth at 8:00. We will go across the hall afterwards to Cafe Opera for a drink and discussion.
Kindly fill out our 10 question survey beforehand and we can see the results together at Cafe Opera.
The film is also showing in Kifissia if you would like to organize a group!
If you want to check out the trailer you can view it here:

Call 694 260 2055 or email [email protected] with any questions. 

Join Us for the GPP in Greece!

Like Democrats Abroad around the world, DAGRs can nominate our candidates for the November election by voting in our home states. Or, as members of Democrats Abroad, we are also eligible to vote in the Global Presidential Primary. And there are good reasons why we should!

This means we can vote on two different ballots, BUT we can only vote ONCE for each office. While it may sound confusing, it’s really quite easy. Here’s how:

  1. Register to vote in your home state and request your ballot. You’ll want the Primary ballot, now, and the General one sent in the autumn. Go to and follow the instructions.
  2. Ask for your ballot to be sent by email or fax for fastest delivery. When it arrives, follow the instructions that come with it to vote and send it back.
  3. On your state Primary ballot, mark the House and Senate candidates (or down-ballot races if your local election officlal determines you can).
  4. Leave the Presidential box blank on the state ballot!
  5. Vote for a Presidential candidate in the DA GPP, between now and March 8.
  6. In Greece, the Voting Center will be in Athens on Sunday, March 6. Come, vote, meet friends, and argue politics! Watch for email with the location and open hours.
  7. If you can’t make it to the Voting Center, you can order a GPP ‘remote ballot. ’ Download a remote ballot at and follow the instructions.

Remember, however you decide to vote, you can only vote for each office ONE TIME. So, do NOT send in a GPP remote ballot and then try to vote again at the Voting Center ‘just to be sure.’ If you do, they’ll both be invalid. But, you can still come to the Voting Center and be part of the action. 

 Now it's YOUR turn to decide!

Vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary!


Sunday March 6th


In Athens

Hotel Grande Bretagne

on Syntagma Square

From noon to 6pm


If you can’t make it to the Voting Center, you can order a GPP ‘remote ballot. ’

Download a remote ballot at and follow the instructions.

DW6 House Parties in Greece

DAGR Debate Watch DW6 House Parties

After upsets in IO and NH and with crucial tests in SC and NV ahead, the 6th
Democratic Debate (pre-dawn Friday in central European time zone) may be the
best one yet,. PBS carries it from the University of Wisconsin, with PBS
NewsHour co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderating.

Find a house party near you to watch it with friends!

Friday, February 12, 7 p.m.
House Party at Panos Karousakis' home in Panorama 
Beer and wine provided - Potluck snacks! 
For address, directions and other details, call: 
Panos at 231 033 2565 or Kevin at 693 077 7237 or 231 091 6324

Friday, February 12, 7 p.m.
House Party at Nikki Fellouris' home near the Hilton
Wine provided - Potluck snacks! 
For address, directions and other details, call:
Nikki at 693 661 8493

Saturday, February 13, 7:30 p.m.
House Party at Marion Kavallieros' home in Kifissia
Wine provided - Potluck snacks! 
For address, directions and other details, call:
Marion at 694 615 9203

If you'd like to host a party, reply here and we'll help put yours up on
this page.


We turn a spotlight on an issue which was solved on paper years ago. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark abortion case that could gut Roe v. Wade, it is important to know what is at stake.  Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly Cole) is a case regarding a deceptive Texas law designed to shut down more than 75 percent of all women’s health clinics that provide abortion services in the state.

Take a look at a preview of the startling new documentary, "Trapped", a film that addresses TRAP laws—Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers—and their impact on abortion providers in the South. The film was recently showcased at Sundance Film Festival and in the above link, you will see Amy Goodman interview the Director Dawn Porter and guests Willy Parker and June Ayers, who are fighting to keep abortion accessible in the South.

For more information on the Supreme Court Case, The Center for Reproductive Rights is representing medical caregivers in their efforts to ensure women’s access to safe and legal abortion care and their website provides an excellent overview of the case and its implications. Follow this link for a captivating read.

Good visuals on how recent legislation has severely limited women’s choice all across America can be seen through the following graphs - Learn more about their work at the Guttmacher Institute




Hello from DAGR Women’s Caucus!

Thank you to those of you who took the time to return our Survey Monkey – we look forward to exploring the results together later this month when we confirm the date and time to go and see Suffragette.  So watch this space!

The link to the survey is still open if you would like to participate:

In the meantime, there is a Japanese Film Festival this week featuring four films that explore the role of women in contemporary Japanese Society.

The Film Festival Screenings take place at 7 p.m. on February 3, 5, 6 and 7 at the Alkyonis New Star Art Cinema in Athens and admission costs only 3 euros. There are English and Greek subtitles.

Women's Caucus will meet on Sunday for the Sunday Film in front of the theatre at 6:30 .

Alkyonis New Star Art Cinema, 42-46 Victoria Square, tel 210.822.0008, 210.822.0023

Good News Two Times Over!!!!!

When something wonderful happens for our friends, we share their joy. And that is especially true this week. Our Vice Chair, Steve, and Tony, a retired doctor and his partner of nearly 34 years, finally saw their commitment recognized under Greek law. Adding to the moment, theirs was the first same-sex civil partnership (symfono symviosis) signed by Athens Mayor George Kaminis and officially the first in Greece.

The news is spreading steadily now, and DAGR shares the joy, if not the credit. The country committee in Greece has exercised restraint in joining with LGBT activists locally, all the while supporting DA’s global effort. DA’s role, including participation in Pride events in more liberal countries, is to advocate for gender issues in the US. So, naturally, last year, when the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Dems Abroad, and its LGBT Caucus in particular, cheered.

And so did we, even while worrying the decision might entice some of our supporters to take their spouses back to the US. With this new Greek law, our LGBT couples can choose to stay here, and DAGR can ‘come out,’ too. Potentially, this means a DAGR LGBT Caucus and participation as an organization in the next Pride event. There will be more events, because there will be many practicalities in the new laws (everywhere) to work through and because it takes a while for laws on the books to become laws of the heart.

Let me return, for just a minute, to the personal level. Steve and I first worked together for the 2009 Inaugural celebration at ACS. We’ve cooperated closely for almost 10 months now at the helm of DAGR. And it has been a total pleasure; he’s one of the most thoughtful human beings I know … and a lot more self-disciplined that I am. I flare up, Steve smooths me out, and a happy medium goes forward. Oddly enough, despite a few meetings held at Steve’s place, I’ve never met Tony. In these recent months, he’s been gone a lot, volunteering with Doctors of the World in refugee centers around the country. We’ve had one or two long phone chats about the refugee reality, and from these I gather he’s at least the second most thoughtful human being. He’s also served on the mayor’s refugee advisory committee, so it seems Mr. Kaminis shares my take. Friends of theirs add to the chorus of ‘really, really good people; couldn’t have happened for nicer folks!’

We thought it wise to check with Steve before ‘going to press’ with the news. He’s away on business this week, but here’s what he emailed back with the go-ahead, “We are really proud to be able to promote and celebrate social progress...and maybe along the way bring those Manolis in the closet out, so they can learn that they have power.”

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Doing what each of us -- as individuals and as members of a historically progressive political organization -- can do to make the world a more just place, where everyone has the means to live and the liberty to pursue a bit of happiness.

To Steve and Tony, our heartfelt best wishes on this momentously happy occasion!

Karen Lee

DAGR Chair

Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act of 2015 (DRIVE Act)

DRIVE aims to provide funding for the federal transportation network as well as for investments in highway infrastructure. The recapitalization of the Highway Trust Fund, which faces financial difficulties, is another goal of the proposed legislation.

One of the provisions included in the multitude of pages authorizes the revocation, or denial of renewal, of a US citizen’s passport if the citizen has an outstanding tax liability to the IRS of $50,000 or more. When the law is passed, it is expected to generate a considerable dollar amount per annum in tax revenue.

thanks to Kat

Regardless of revenue gains, this provision might very well cause problems to the nearly 110 million Americans who hold valid passports (a much larger number than what is commonly believed) and who could sometime along the way have to deal with tax debt. The problem is even worse when it comes to Americans living abroad (a rough estimate places the number somewhere between three and six million) who rely on their passports far more heavily than their fellow Americans living in the United States.

If overseas Americans cannot renew their passports, or have them revoked, they will not even be able to travel back home and might see their lives thrown into disarray since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, currently codified as 8 U.S.C. § 1185, stipulates that: Except as otherwise provided by the President and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may authorize and prescribe, it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.

The aforementioned provision could be tantamount to exile. What is more, this policy was not introduced after consultation with the American diaspora and, to exacerbate the problem, communication between the IRS and the overseas community is not what it should be mainly due to overseas IRS office closures and funding cuts.

Another issue regarding the case is the fact that there seem to be questions of due process. It is not clear if citizens threatened with passport revocation or renewal denial will get to appear before a judge and have a fair and impartial hearing. Furthermore, taking into consideration that to err is human, is there a guarantee that no mistakes will be made and no person will be deprived of a passport due to some glitch in the IRS system? Will the Americans concerned be able to seek an injunction against the revocation of their passport if they are mistakenly branded as delinquent taxpayers? Will they be able to take any other course of legal action necessary in case they suffer damages due to passport problems? It appears to be rather difficult to sue the government due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity which holds it immune to damage claims unless it agrees to such litigation. Although certain kinds of lawsuits against federal employees are allowed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), the process is complicated and time consuming.

On a different note, one might see broader issues at play. Freedom of movement is governed by the United States Constitution under the Privileges and Immunities Clause and is seen by many Americans as a human right – whether it is movement within the US or internationally – that is fundamental to the pursuit of happiness. Such freedom is a characteristic of open societies, a valid passport being a means that makes it possible, and it is too important to jeopardize over tax debt or budget concerns.

Although it is true that the administration can deny or revoke passports on grounds of foreign policy, national security or suspected criminal conduct, one should tread carefully when such matters are involved. For example, in Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116 (1958), the United States Secretary of State refused the issuance of a passport to an American citizen on the basis of suspicions that they intended to travel abroad to promote communism. The Court did not deal with the question of constitutionality in this case, but in an opinion by Justice William O. Douglas it held that the federal government may not restrict the right to travel without due process:

“The right to travel is a part of the ‘liberty’ of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. If that ‘liberty’ is to be regulated, it must be pursuant to the law-making functions of the Congress. . . . . Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, is a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country . . . may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.”

It also held that “the broad power of the Secretary under 22 U.S.C. § 211a to issue passports, which has long been considered ‘discretionary,’ has been construed generally to authorize the refusal of a passport only when the applicant (1) is not a citizen or a person owing allegiance to the United States, or (2) was engaging in criminal or unlawful conduct.”

By Vassilis Fragiskos

Editor’s note: In November, 2015, Dems Abroad (DPCA) wrote to members of Congress urging this provision be removed from the highway bill. DPCA continues to advocate for a careful review to reduce impacts on Americans living outside the US.