GSC December 2023 Newsletter

EDITION 20 December 2023




Chair’s Corner

In this excerpt from her poem, "The Rock Cries Out to Us Today", Maya Angelou denounces war and calls for peace, in the voice of the "rock" that has existed since early time.

  • Each of you a bordered country,
  • Delicate and strangely made proud,
  • Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
  • Your armed struggles for profit
  • Have left collars of waste upon
  • My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
  • Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
  • If you will study war no more.
  • Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
  • The Creator gave to me when I
  • And the tree and stone were one.
  • Let's sing songs of peace, not war.

— Maya Angelou

— Betsy Ettorre, Chair of the Seniors Caucus


from the Editor

As we prepare to give thanks for all of the blessings we’ve received this year, I’m happy to share positive news about HR.82 - the Social Security Fairness Act of 2023.   

Representatives Garrett Graves (R-LA) & Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) are officially requesting a congressional hearing on HR.82. With Mike Johnson as the new House Speaker, and considering that Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) just signed on to HR.82 as the 300th cosponsor, things could move quickly. We are extremely well positioned on this right now. 

The most powerful contribution we can make is to describe our real life examples of exactly how the WEP hurts and will hurt us and our families. We are continuing to collect stories from you that we can use to persuade Congress to pass this bill. 

Please email your story to Brendan Read, Chair, Seniors WEP Committee. 

Thank you



New Hampshire sets presidential primary date for January 23, defying Bidens new primary order

Here we go. The 2024 Presidential Primary planning has begun with a big bump in the road. In defying the President, New Hampshire has also deleted his name from the ballot! So as you can see, we need to put the pedal down in 2024. All hands on deck!

"On Wednesday, 15 November, New Hampshire announced January 23 as the date of its presidential primary, setting up the second GOP contest of 2024 — eight days after the Iowa caucuses, and defying President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committees plans to give South Carolina the partys first primary contest.

Read the whole article - this is important.

Phonebankers still needed!

Heidi Burch has informed us that her team has 70 phone bankers trained and certified, and that she would like to DOUBLE that number. Let’s get ready to go in 2024!

If you'd like a training session at a specific date and/or time, please let us know and Heidi’s team will set it up. To sign up, please see:  

Training is for both new and experienced volunteers as voting information has changed considerably over the last few election cycles. We have two sessions:

  • "Voter Registration & Ballot Request" contains all of the information a voting assistance volunteer needs to help voters with filling out and submitting their FPCA forms using, and finding answers to voting questions.
  • "Ballot Receipt & Return" -- training on how to help voters with common problems receiving and then returning their voted ballots by the deadline.

Every volunteer who completes both sessions is tagged as a "2023 VAT Volunteer”.

And if you haven't done so already, please take a look at Voting Basics and take 15 minutes to refresh your voting knowledge -- you may learn something new!

Please let us know if you have any questions. And if you want to set up your own training sessions for your volunteers, get in touch and we'll send you the materials you'll need.

On behalf of the Voter Assistance Training Team,

Heidi, Linda, Randi, Ellie, and Andrew


Last month Ohio voters gave Ohio women a huge win in ensuring their right to a safe and legal abortion. Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment that would ensure reproductive rights in Ohio, is explained in this short article.

They also saw fit to join 25 other states to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by the end of 2024. Here are the revenue statistics from Reuters

Thank you Hoosiers! 

State Teams

DA’s State Teams continue to have huge impacts on laws and legislatures back home. Last year New Jerseyans won back the right to vote down ballot.

Have you signed up to help out our State Teams? We’re building from the ground up, and taking on issues of importance state by state. You can join a team, or if you have questions, email the organizers.

Facebook State Groups

For the past 10+ years, volunteers from Democrats Abroad have run groups for each U.S. state on Facebook. They post state-specific voting deadlines and “how to” information on all aspects of voting. If you’re curious about your voting state group, you can read about them here, and find your state group here



Medicare Portability 

The DA Medicare Portability Task Force needs your help in our advocacy for Medicare Portability abroad. If you are already signed up for Medicare, are considering doing so, or have older relatives and friends who are eligible but find it hard to justify paying for something you cannot use while overseas, please take a few minutes to record a video on your phone or laptop - click here to follow our simple instructions

Our guidelines highlight what the Task Force has consistently expressed in its ongoing advocacy: that (1) despite having paid or continuing to pay into Medicare; and (2) it’s unfair that overseas Americans cannot receive any benefits. In addition, expanded access could save Medicare money, as high-quality healthcare is often much less expensive abroad than it is in the US.

The Task Force intends to edit your clips into a short video that we hope will be shared widely on social media and get attention in the press and from Congress.

Thanks very much for your support of this important initiative.

The Medicare Portability Task Force

Will Medicare ever be Portable? 

This Blue Vote Café podcast featured DA member from the Americas region, and Eagle Pass, Texas Amerika Garcia Grewal. 

In this segment entitled "Horrific Barriers of Buoys and Razor Wire in a Texas River" Amerika paints a vivid picture of what is happening in the Eagle Pass area of the Rio Grande river where “concertina wire” was strung for 7 miles along the river, and the bouys installed on the river to deter illegal immigration. 

She also mentioned that Eagle Pass, Texas only has basic medical facilities and few have health insurance. Because of this people avoid going to the doctor until they have a health emergency. they cross the border to the health complex in Piedras Negras, Mexico.  Medicare Portability and the workarounds for "near abroads” - those on the U.S. border where U.S. citizens in economically deprived towns have devised to get what they need. Worth a listen!

Thanks to Karen Lee for suggesting this content.

The Social Security Death Panel is imminent

Last month we asked you speak out to Congress to save Social Security/Medicare.

On 14 November, House Speaker Mike Johnson made an announcement that should have everyone who relies on Social Security and Medicare alarmed. He is taking steps to create the commission that we've long been warned about - the one President Biden's White House called a "Death Panel for Medicare and Social Security.” 

A few other salient points about the new speaker -

  • He didn’t just vote against certifying the 2020 presidential election results, he helped lead the charge. The New York Times called him "the most important architect of the Electoral College objections."
  • Donald Trump says he’ll be a "fantastic" Speaker.
  • He voted against establishing the bipartisan January 6 Commission.
  • He’s a staunch anti-abortion rights extremist who’s supported nationwide bans. After Roe fell, he tweeted this message for abortion providers in Louisiana: "Perform an abortion and get imprisoned at hard labor for 1-10 yrs & fined $10K-$100K."
  • He led a group of far-right House Republicans that regularly calls for cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
  • He introduced a national “Don’t Say Gay” bill to block federally funded institutions -- including public schools -- from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students under 10 years old.

Retirement Planning Guide

This handy guide makes it easy to find valuable information for filing your taxes, Medicare premium rates and more. 

JOIN Social Security Works!

Have you joined yet? You’ll receive updates on their work, take direct action, and sign petitions to protect Social Security. Watch our webinar here



In addition - special bonus! - if you also feel like writing a letter or sending an email to your local paper back home, please send us a link to the paper if it gets published, and share it with us so we may inspire other members to write to their newspaper editors and legislators.



Americans Overseas

If you’ve just moved overseas and want to learn about tax filing, Americans Overseas created a FAQ section at the bottom of this page that will walk you through the basic information. 



Quick Links

Friday - 24 November - Coffee Chat

Dont miss our Seniors and Disability Caucus monthly chats from 9 to 10:30 am Eastern Time (US & Canada). Everyone is very welcome!
RSVP to get the Zoom link, and add it to your calendar. 

Next chat: Friday 26 January 2024.



Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. You can find the list of positions DA is looking to fill on DA’s Volunteer page

  • The Global Seniors Caucus is always looking for volunteers. Email us for details on our volunteer opportunities.
  • The Global Black Caucus is searching to fill more positions. Get in touch here.
  • The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the 2024 election! Do you have a communications background? Are you interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form.

If you like our work, please consider making a donation to Democrats Abroad.
It all goes to helping us Get Out The Vote! 


If you like our work, please consider making a donation to Democrats Abroad. 

It all goes to helping us Get Out The Vote! 

Connect with us