MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING DAGT
Casa Convento Concepción in Antigua
At 11:05am, the secretary determined that we had met our quorum of 25. There were 26 members in attendance, and we had 10 proxies which totaled 36. The secretary also noted that we now have a total of 502 members which is an increase from the 470 reported in 2018.The official membership count with the DPCA in 2019 is 498. The difference is due to new members joining since the official count.
The Chair welcomed the members and introduced the officers in attendance, and then presented the agenda.
EXCOM members present: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Evans, Events/membership/Fundraising Coordinator ; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Annie Vanderboom, Member at Large; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Rachel Shenyo, Occidente MeetUp Group Deputy Chair; Juan Pablo Aris, Counsel (interim).
First on the agenda was a summary of the minutes of the AGM of 2018 which was read to the members. The minutes were approved unanimously.
Next on the agenda was the treasurer’s report. As required by our bylaws, Tom Totino, Treasurer, summarized the past year’s accounts for the general membership. As a preamble to his report Tom mentioned that the numbers presented were in Quetzals not dollars, that the figures presented were summarized for presentation purposes -- a detailed report is presented to the ExCom at monthly meetings, that numbers in brackets represent negative amounts and finally that our fiscal year runs from March 1 through the end of February. He spoke about three things; Income and Expenses, Cash Flow and gave a three year comparison.
Our gross income was Q10,320. Our total expenses were Q12,058 giving us a net loss of Q1,738. He mentioned that we had a very succesful potluck and raffle at Len Clark’s home which netted Q2,775. We also made money selling hats and calendars which brought in Q1,679 and we made another Q865 showing movies. He also mentioned the generous donation of Q768 made by Dave and Kee Evans. This income was offset primarily by the Q4,169 we spent registering voters and the Q2,565 in costs associated with hosting the July 4th Sundowner event. As far as our cash flow, we started with Q6,451 and subtracting this year’s loss we end the year with Q4,713. Finally, Tom mentioned that the three year comparison shows that our expenses were about the same as the previous year. However, our income was considerably less this year because last year we had a direct email fund drive that brought in over Q3,000. There were no questions and the motion to accept the report was seconded on passed unanimously.
Next, Kee Evans, Events Coordinator, presented a summary of the DAGT events held in 2018. There were seven voter registration events held at Enlaces in Antigua throughout the year--in March, April, June, August, September, October and February. Kee stressed that there was great participation by people requesting ballots for the 2018 General Election. People called and emailed Kee up to the last minute just to be able to vote in that extremely important election. There was a Voter Registration event at Enlaces in February 2019 that not one member attended. This is because there is no general election this year. However, Kee hoped members would keep up the momentum from the 2018 election. She stressed that members should submit a new FPCA each and every year to ensure they will not be purged from their state’s voter rolls. The next Voter Registration event will be after Easter.
Kee noted our special events which included our July 4 Independence Day Sundowner party, and a fundraiser potluck event at Len Clark’s home.
The July 4th party was a success even though not as many people attended as anticipated. Drinks were sold and popcorn and tostadas were provided at no charge. It didn’t rain that night and the fireworks were beautiful, and they were the only fireworks in Antigua that night.
Len Clark hosted a DAGT potluck at his home in October, and donated four of his paintings which were auctioned in a raffle. The food was great and, as usual, the event was one of our most successful fundraisers.
This past year we showed six movies: Marshall, LBJ, A Bold Peace, Path to War, Game Change and RBG. Most were held at Kee and Dave’s home. Attendance was good and the movies were timely and enjoyed by all. Unfortunately it is mostly left up to Kee to choose and obtain our movies. She would appreciate suggestions for titles and help in obtaining the movies. Members are encouraged to share movies they have--DVDs, or whatever other form. Please call her or contact her at email@example.com.
As for upcoming events, FPCA updates will continue approximately every two or so months throughout the year. We plan to have an Independence Day party in July. And, we will continue to show movies. Our next movie is Farenheit 11/9 which has yet to be scheduled. Kee welcomes any suggestions for special events from all members.
Kee stressed again that the Federal Voters’ Assistance Program encourages all overseas voters to complete an FPCA every year, not just in years of fedeal elections. Many states will be holding elections for State offices and some of our members may be to vote in them. All members should check their local Election Office to make sure they are still registered to vote, and if they are eligible to vote in state elections, and that their ballots will be mailed or emailed to them. States holding elections this year for State Offices are: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia. There will be special elections held this year in North Carolina--3rd and 9th Congressional Districts, and Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Kee will help members wishing to vote in these elections.
Next, the MeetUp Chair reports were presented. In 2018, Traci held Voter Registration events in Santiago Atitlán and in Panajachel in February. There was another Voter Registration event in Panajachel in May plus ballot delivery assistance in October. In July there was a second FPCA event in Santiago Atitlán. Member Jeanne Mendez helped Kee and John in the CallHub effort to contact all members about voting.
Rachel Shenyo, MeetUp Chair Occidente, held one Voter Registration event.
Guatemala MeetUp Chair remains vacant.
Next, the Chair presented the Media Contact’s report. Mary Reynolds, who served as the media contact in 2017 and part of 2018, departed in June 2018. An email search for a new Media Contact encouraged Scotney Young to step in as the new media contact. Scotney was a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru where she met her husband. Now she is working at the US embassy in Guatemala City. She was confirmed by the EXCOM in November 2018. Her job is to post announcements and information on the DA website Guatemala page, and other sites such as the Revuemag.com, post information on the DAGT Facebook page and group site and purchase radio spots for advertising in Spanish to reach the dual citizen members. Types of nformation posted during the past year include Voter Registration events and photos; reminders to check out the DAGT website; information about tax filing from abroad; passport renewal changes; DNC Organizing Corps 2020 Launch; DNC Presidential Election updates; updates from the DNC Chair; relevant news articles about current events; Women’s Caucus and ERA ratification updates; Hispanic Caucus updates and mid-term election updates.
The Treasurer requested the floor to make a point about advertising in electronic publications. The Revuemag.com and Quepasa.gt, which no longer publish print versions of their magazines, look the same online but do our members use them. When he asked the body attending the meeing how often they go to electronic versions of these publicantions, no one raised their hand. It seems that no one reads the online publications. We could save a lot of money by not advertising in them. No decisions were made but it was determined that we need to know how to advertise effectively.
Next, the Chair presented the 2018 Chairperson’s report.
First, our new officers Scotney Young, Media Contact and Juan Pablo, interim Counsel, were officially introduced and welcomed.
Next, the Chair presented an overview of how Democrats Abroad is organized globally and regionally. The Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA), consists of 54 Country Committees currently active in three regions: Americas, Europe Middle East Africa, and Asia Pacific. The International Executive Committee serves a two-year term. Global Meetings are held annually alternating between Washington, DC and another of the regions. In 2018 the Global Meeting was held in Tokyo. The 2019 Global Meeting will be held in Washington, DC and will include the election of new officers.
Our own Americas Region includes 14 active country committees: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru. Regional meetings are held monthly via WebEx. A new Regional Vice Chair will be elected at the May, 2019 meeting. The DPCA charter allots 218 votes to the 54 Country Committees. Canada is one of the largest committee with 24 votes and Romania, one of the smallest, has 1 vote. Guatemala has 2 votes for its 498 members. The total number of DPCA voting member is 232 which include the 218 Country Committees chairs, vice chairs and voting representatives, 8 EXCOM members and 6 DNC members.
Overseas voting is important and DA’s votes do count. In 2018, one in 25 races were won or lost by a 1% or smaller margin, a number that votes from Democrats Abroad does affect. With a small DPCA budget we made a difference in districts in Forida, California, New Jersay and Utah. We could be even more effective with a larger budget.
Next, the Chair mentioned important dates relating to the 2020 election. Country Committees will be determining the location of their 2020 global primary voting centers in December of 2019 and then come the caucuses and primaries from Iowa to super Tuesday. Monday Feb 3: Iowa Caucuses, Tuesday Feb 11: New Hampshire Primary, Saturday Feb 22: Nevada Caucuses,Saturday Feb 29: South Carolina Primary, Tuesday Mar 3: (Super Tuesday) primaries in Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, (and Democrats Abroad through March 10th)
The Chair showed the title page of our DA website, including the Guatemala page. He encourages members to visit the site to learn about news, events, voter registration, caucuses and primaries.
After a short recess the AGM was reconvenced. Thea Hocker, DAGT’s Nominations and Elections Committee chair, reported on elections for the new EXCOM. She described the nomination process and the election process. She presented nominations received prior to the AGM, and because voting would be in-person only, asked for nominations from the floor. There were none. The slate of nominees included-John Chudy; Chair, Mary Lou Ridinger; Vice Chair, Tom Totino; Treasurer, Lyn Totino; Secretary, Juan Pablo Aris; Counsel, Dave Evans and Hyungjoon Jin; Members-at-Large. A motion from the floor to approve the slate by acclamation was made, and seconded, and after each candidate said a little about themselves and their aspirations for DAGT, was approved unanimously.
Next came the ratification of Appointed Officers of Standing Committees. They are Scotney Young, Media Contact and Communications Chair; Kee Evans, Issues/Special Events Chair and Membership/Voter Registration Chair and Fundraising Chair; Madeline Kreider Carlson, Lake Atitlan MeetUp Group Chair (acting); Rachel Shenyo, Occidente MeetUp Group Chair (acting). The Chair noted that the Guatemala City MeetUp Group Chair position remains vacant.
Next came recognition of significant donors and outstanding volunteers during the past year. Recognitions included: Dave and Kee Adams Evans for their generous donation to DAGT; Len Clark for his Potluck and fundraiser raffle of donated art works; Rachel Shenyo for her ‘Lo siento por el imbecil’ hat concept and production; Traci Styner for her exceptional contributions to the Get-Out-The-Vote Activities around Lake Atitlán; Kee Adams Evans for her exceptional contributions to Voter Registration efforts, fund raising activities and events coordination; John Green for contributions as a Member-at-Large from 2015 to 2017 (not present in 2018 to receive his award then)..
The Chair then described the upcoming global DPCA meeting in Washington, DC May 17-19, and encouraged members to attend. Members will get to meet other members from around the world and will learn of policies and issues affecting overseas Americans and what DA is doing about them. They will also get to attend a door knock on Capitol Hill to pitch DA concerns to members of Congress such as voter protection, taxation, immigration, and Medicare portability. The Chair encouraged all members to contribute to the DPCA to make it an even more influential organization. And to support DAGT by Feeding the Donkey jug and/or purchasing one of the remaining ‘Lo siento por el imbecil’ hats.
The Chair then opened the floor to general discussion. One member emphasized that we need to attract more young people to the country committee. Other members noted that we had tried with little success. We encourage ideas to bring in more members including younger ones. Members discussed how exactly we can contact young voters. It was suggested that they may be reached through Facebook, organizations like NGO’s where they work or volunteer, and at schools if they are teachers or parents of students. We welcome any suggestions and efforts in this attempt.
Members discussed the delivery of voted ballots which is difficult in Guatemala without a functioning mail system and, in places where there is violence which effects voting and ballot delivery. In Guatemala we can leave our ballots at the embassy to be mailed. Of course the best solution is to allow return of voted ballots by email which is happening in some states. Lastly, members discussed the upcoming Democratic primary debates. Some hope that we don’t have all candidates at one time like Republicans did in 2016. Some support the idea of debate-watching parties. Members of DAGT are encouraged to vote in our own primary and not in the state primary where they vote.
A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and passed at 1:18 pm.