Regional Vice Chair–EMEA, Member-at-Large–DA Austria

  • published July's Newsletter in News 2021-07-01 08:22:44 -0400

    July's Newsletter

     

    In This Issue —

    Events:

    • July 4 Party–Vienna 
    • July 4 Party–Vorarlberg 
    • DAA Black Caucus Book Club  
    • Seattle Mayor Candidate Forum 

    Issues & Actions:

    • Fourth of July Party in Vienna’s Augarten 
    • Constituent Abroad Zoom Project - Connecting Americans abroad to Congress about tax reform
    • Advocating in DC: The Benefits of Membership

    Reviews:

    • Pride Parade
    • Solidarity Sundays

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Message from the Chair

    We all bring our own individual talents and passion to Democrats Abroad. Some of us are activists. Some are organizers. Some are tech savvy. Some are poets, artists, and graphic designers.

    As for me, I’m a drummer.

    Well, not just that, of course. But playing music is something I love, and I’d like to incorporate more music into our DA events where we can.

    At my day job at SOS Children’s Villages, we have started a rock band made up of staff members. We called the band the G-Meiners, in homage to the Austrian founder of SOS, Herman Gmeiner.

    So, I thought it would be cool if the musicians among us could form our own DA Austria rock/pop/funk band! We are starting off at this year’s July 4 party with a small but powerful trio, led by our own Jacki Hafellner, a professional singer/pianist/oboist from Graz, who is also founder of the Schneider vocal academy. We’ll be joined by a buddy of mine from the G-Meiners, Paul Bastos, on guitar, and I’ll be on drums (a souped-up Cajon). We decided to have a name-the-band contest at the July 4 party. An early contender is Jacki and the Bidenettes!

    As an all-volunteer organization, it is great if everyone contributes their skills and energy to help us reach our goals. Next year, especially, we will need many more volunteers to support our get-out-the-vote efforts, be it at in-person voter help tables, phone banking, or elsewhere. There are many options. Please let us know what your talents are and how you might like to help. Fill out the form here

    And if you want to join the DA Austria band, you are more than welcome (although, as long as I’m chair, I have dibs on the drums).

    — Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

     


    Events: 

    July 4 Party–Vienna

    When: Sunday, July 4 

    Time: 12:00-4:00 p.m.

    Where: In-person. Die Schankwirtschaft im Augarten

    RSVP: Sold OutHosted by DA Austria

     

     

    July 4 Party–Vorarlberg

    When: Sunday, July 4

    Time: 3:00-7:30 p.m.

    Where: In-person. Schwarzbad, Lochau

    RSVP to attendHosted by DA Austria, Vorarlberg

     

     

    Seattle Mayor Candidate Forum July 10 at 7:00 p.m. 

    When: Sunday, July 10

    Time: 7:00-8:00 p.m. CET

    RSVP for linkHosted by DA Global

     

     

    DAA Black Caucus Book Club 

    When: Sunday, July 18

    Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m.

    Where: In-person. TBD

    RSVP to attendHosted by DA Austria




    Issues & Actions: 

    Fourth of July Party in Vienna’s Augarten

    For those who have RSVP’d (we need to cap the total at 100), we look forward to seeing you Sunday, July 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at Die Schankwirschaft im AugartenWe'll have live music performed by our new—and hopefully to be expanded—Democrats Abroad band (don't miss the name-the-band contest!). We will also have a raffle with prizes including some must-have goodies, like an Inauguration Day t-shirt straight from Washington DC, a Notorious R.B.G. bobblehead, and other fabulous DA collectible swag.

    Remember, Austria’s 3G rule applies. In the customary Austrian style, everyone pays the wait staff for their own food and beverage. More details at the event link on the DA website.

    See you Sunday! 

    — Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

     

    Constituent Abroad Zoom Project — connecting Americans abroad to Congress about tax reform

    The DA Taxation Task Force is organising zoom meetings in July to connect selected members of Congress to their constituents for a discussion about tax reform for Americans abroad. We are very excited to add this exciting new initiative to our multi-pronged strategy for getting tax reform for Americans abroad into legislation Congress will enact this year.  

    They will be sending out an email announcement to constituent-members soon. Those constituents interested in attending are asked to register.

    Constituents are the keys that open doors, hearts, and minds to our issues.

    READ MORE

     

    The Benefits of Membership

    Democrats Abroad actively advocates in DC on issues affecting Amerians living abroad. Here are two recent examples that have also been picked up in major newspapers.

    — Jen Rakow-Stepper, Regional Vice Chair–EMEA, DAA Member-at-Large

     

    Vaccines for U.S. Citizens Abroad

    The DA Global Executive Committee recently sent a letter to the Office of President Joe Biden to raise awareness that many US Citizens living abroad remain unvaccinated and will be at the back of the line to receive a vaccine in their host country. The letter urged the U.S. government to take appropriate steps to ensure that vaccines are available to all of its citizens worldwide.

    The letter came about as an action from DA Thailand where many DA members are unable to be vaccinated or to return to the US to do so. The story was picked up in the Washington Post which mentions DA’s involvement. 

    Read More

     

    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force

    Carmelan Polce, DATaxation Tax Force Chair, wrote an open letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen on the impacts of tax policy on U.S. citizens abroad. Her Letter to the Editor was published in the New York Times. Thank you Carmelan for all the fantastic work you do on our behalf!

    Read More

     


    Reviews:

    Vienna Pride Parade 2021 

    Some 20 DA Austria members came out on a steamy Saturday to march in this year’s Vienna Pride Parade. We were expecting a more or less socially distanced parade (no trucks this year), and we all came prepared with masks (thanks to Eva Ciabbatonni for handing out rainbow-colored FFP2 masks). Ultimately, most faces—like some bodies on the parade route— were uncovered. But we happened to get the lead position in front of the second wave of marchers, allowing us to keep some distance and with the added benefit that in photos it looks like we’re leading a throng of thousands!

    A big thanks to Jessica Mijnssen for stepping in to be our lead Pride organizer, printing up our rainbow-themed Democrats Abroad t-shirts (designed by Sophie Spiegelberger) and putting together the paper flags we waved and handed out to fellow marchers.

    Why do we march each year at Pride? It means something different to everyone. We know from the past four years that the hard fought rights of the LGBTQ+ community can be taken away if we don’t elect leaders who respect and protect those rights. Pride is about joy and freedom; it is also about staying engaged to ensure that the rights of all are secure.

    — Richard Miller, Chair DA Austria

     

    Solidarity Sundays:  The Paris Agreement -- Where the Rubber Meets the Road,

    June 27, 2021

    “Can I still be optimistic? Is there time to make a difference?” 

    Yes, you can, says Olivia Coldrey, a leading expert in the global transformation to clean energy. National pledges to reduce emissions are increasing, but not enough—elected representatives need to act. “Best thing you can do? Speak up, vote.” (Solidarity Sundays reminds you to register to vote at VoteFromAbroad.org!)

    The US is a key actor in the world economy. Biden is moving on clean energy faster than anyone saw coming. He set the goal of net-zero by 2050, placed climate at the center of his policies, and appointed Cabinet secretaries committed to transforming our energy sector. The world’s financiers are noticing. 

    Biden wants America—the highest per capita CO2 emitter—at the forefront of climate investment. He is pulling the US out of fossil-fuel energy projects abroad and pivoting to cleaner ones. “We’re not reading it in the paper, but fundamental developments to the financial system are underway.” The Federal Reserve, for example, has signaled support for mandatory climate disclosures by companies. Businesses relying heavily on fossil fuels would become risky for investors; the attractiveness of cleaner companies would transform the global economy. Want to know more? Read Coldrey’s PDF presentation here.

    Solidarity Sundays is exploring ways to engage with our elected officials. Calling the US from abroad is prohibitive, but Skype Credit lets you phone your senators for pennies. Find step-by-step instructions here. The Equality Act has stalled in the Senate—your senators need to hear from you.

    Have a great summer break! Solidarity Sundays goes back to work fixing democracy in September!

    — Tanya Lolonis, Member at Large DA Austria, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator

     

    Thank you for reading the July Newsletter! We'll see you in September. 

     


  • published June's Newsletter in News 2021-06-01 12:31:55 -0400

    June's Newsletter

     

    In this Issue:

    Events:

    • Gabby Giffords–Courage to Fight Gun Violence 
    • Vienna Pride Parade 2021
    • Global Virtual Pride Marathon
    • DAA Black Caucus Book Club
    • ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #5
    • Solidarity Sundays
    • 4th of July Gathering in Vienna
    • Red, Wine & Blue: 4th of July Picnic in Vorarlberg 

    Issues & Actions:  

    • Introducing DAA’s new Phone-bank Coordinator Yvonne Richard
    • Auf Wiedersehen
    • GBC Book Club is Back!

    Reviews:

    • Global & Regional Meetings 
    • Expat Taxes 101 
    • Solidarity Sundays: Moonshot

    Members Corner: 

    • The Senate Filibuster Impasse

     

    Having trouble viewing this email? You can read the newsletter online

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Gabby Giffords–Courage to Fight Gun Violence

    When: Thursday, June 17

    Time: 5-7:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Switzerland

    Vienna Pride Parade 2021

    When: Saturday, June 19

    Time: 1-5:00 p.m.

    RSVP: In-Person! RSVP here

     

    Global Virtual Pride Marathon

    When: Sunday, June 20

    Time: 12 p.m-12:00 a.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Global LGBTQ+ Caucus

     

     

     

     

     

     

    DAA Black Caucus Book Club

    When: Sunday, June 20

    Time: 4-6:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Austria

     

     

    ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #5

    When: Thursday, June 24

    Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link Hosted by DA Austria

    Solidarity Sundays

    When: Sunday, June 27

    Time: 4-6:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link

     

    4th of July in Vienna

    When: Sunday, July 4

    Time: 12-3:00 p.m.

    RSVP: In-person! RSVP here  

     

    Red, Wine, & Blue: 4th of July in Vorarlberg

    When: Sunday, July 4

    Time: 3-7:00 p.m.

    RSVP: In-person! RSVP here  

     


    Issues & Actions: 

    Introducing DAA’s new Phone-bank Coordinator Yvonne Richard

    DAA has a new Phone Bank Coordinator! Yvonne Richard has taken on the position of head of phone bankers. Yvonne lives in Vienna and has a lot of experience in phone banking, including being one of the top callers in the 2020 election cycle. She will be supported by Marjorie Rosenberg in Graz, who was also very active on Call Hub during the last presidential election. DAA’s phone bankers helped raise the global turnout in the crucial election that voted Trump out of the White House. Next year when both the Senate and House are at stake, our team of phone bankers in Austria will again play a crucial role in raising awareness for the midterms among American voters living overseas and helping them cast their ballots from abroad.   

     

    Auf Wiedersehen

    It’s a bittersweet goodbye to two of DA Austria’s most dedicated super volunteers who are moving back to the US in June. Dan Englund and Michael Wagner arrived on the DAA scene a few years ago and quickly became regular attendees of Solidarity Sundays, Pro DA, Pride parades, and other meetings and events. They also became invaluable super volunteers as they dedicated many hours to helping Americans register to vote at voter registration events and the Global Presidential Primary. Michael was Phone Bank Coordinator during the 2020 election cycle, and his leadership resulted in DA Austria’s wildly successful call campaign in 2020. 

    We wish you a great next chapter in your lives, and we will see you again!

     

    GBC Book Club

    Our book club is back! We're starting off with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a historical novel that traces the descendants of two half-sisters Effia and Esi, born into different villages in Ghana. Homegoing follows the parallel narrative lines of their descendants through eight generations, intimately portraying African and African American experiences in the aftermath of enslavement. Join our virtual meeting Sunday, June 20 at 4 p.m. via Zoom. Be sure to RSVP on the Democrats Abroad page to get the link. See you there!

     


    Reviews:

    Global & Regional Elections and Meetings

    At 3 a.m. Austria time, groggy Democrats (at least those in our time zone) logged into Zoom for the 2021 Annual Global Meeting.

    It was the second time since the start of the pandemic that the global gathering of Democrats Abroad leaders was held virtually, electing new international officers, voting on bylaws, and passing resolutions.

    But for 2021, it was decided to start the meeting at a time convenient for members in the Asia Pacific region, which is why your three voting members from DA Austria – chair, vice chair, and DPCA voting rep – needed to rise (if not shine) quite early.

    That marked the start of a 20-plus-hour online meeting over two days – May 15 and 16 – with more than 200 participants present at all times. Like a mini-session of Congress, there were presentations, speeches, motions, objections, amendments, points of order, and most of all – votes. It was truly a demonstration of just how dedicated people are to this all-volunteer organization.

    A lot was achieved. We elected a new International Executive Committee, and we can be most proud that our own Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, our former chair of DA Austria, prevailed over four challengers to be elected the new EMEA Regional Vice Chair.

    READ MORE


    Expat Taxes

    June 15 is the tax filing deadline for Americans abroad. To help you get prepared, Democrats Abroad Austria hosted a 90-minute webinar in May titled Expat Taxes 101. It was a super informative session with two amazing guest panelists: Nathalie Goldstein of MyExpatTaxes, and Katelynn Minott of Bright!Tax. They covered everything from the basics of tax filing and getting your stimulus payments (if you haven’t already), to the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) and the IRS’s amnesty program for those who may be behind in their filings. 

    If you missed it and would like a recording, please make at least the minimum donation for our global get-out-the-vote efforts in 2022 by clicking here, and then send your request to Richard Miller at [email protected].

     

    Solidarity Sundays:  Moonshot 

    May 30, 2021

    Solidarity Sundays looked at a critical, little-understood aspect of the Biden project. His infrastructure plan aims to transform America's economy and society. We talk about what the proposals contain, how much they will cost, in what shape they will pass — if they will pass at all. But what happens after the legislation becomes law may be the most consequential part of all.

    Elaine Kamarck, Harvard professor and seasoned White House advisor, addressed the question, why do modern presidencies begin in hope and end in disappointment? Her answer:  presidents enter office with little understanding of the massive government they're supposed to run.

    Inexperience can cripple an administration. Consider Bush and the Iraq War, his response to Katrina, and the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare website. These failures ended hopes of progress on important policy issues. Worse, they eroded trust in the ability of government to solve people's problems. Donald Trump leveraged this disillusionment to vault to the Oval Office. 

    Dr. Kamarck credits Trump's cluelessness about the federal government as the reason it remains intact. Biden, by contrast, understood how to harness the government's capacity to tame the pandemic. If he creates infrastructure jobs before the midterms, she predicts a good outcome for Democrats. You can get Dr. Kamarck's book, "Why Presidents Fail -- and How They Can Succeed Again" here.

    Solidarity Sundays explored trolling, the Republican political strategy of the internet age. Each day, Ted Cruz and Marjorie Taylor Greene intentionally bait liberals into online fights. And the engagement is a trap:  every time liberals fight with someone in the comments section or dunk with a Quote Tweet, algorithms push the offensive post into the feeds of more people. Read an excellent explanation of this GOP strategy — and how to outwit the algorithm — here.

     


    Members Corner:

    The Senate Filibuster Impasse   

    Over the past decade, the Senate filibuster rule has ground essential Senate legislation to a virtual halt. In the last session, only four percent of proposed Senate legislation was brought to a vote (govtrack.us/congress). The minority party, whether Democratic or Republican, uses this tactic to indefinitely prolong legislative consideration or debate, which often results in no debate at all. All filibusters, however, are not the same. Rule of thumb estimates indicate that over the past decade, Democratic legislation had more popular support from all voters than was the case for proposed Republican legislation. Hence, Joe Biden could claim that the recent passage of the Covid-19 Relief Package had bipartisan support, even though Senate Republican members were uniformly opposed.

    To defeat the filibuster maneuver and to actually bring legislation to a vote, a 3/5 majority or a 60 senator vote is required to close debate. The high threshold should prompt Senate members to negotiate across the aisle and reach legislative compromise. Such compromise, however, has been overtaken by party interest.  Popularly supported and essential legislation languishes and often dies as a result of  unprecedented filibuster use.

    READ MORE

     

    Thank you for reading the June Newsletter!

     

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  • published Global & Regional Elections and Meetings in News 2021-05-30 17:25:49 -0400

    Global & Regional Elections and Meetings

    Global & Regional Elections and Meetings

    At 3 a.m. Austria time, groggy Democrats (at least those in our time zone) logged into Zoom for the 2021 Annual Global Meeting.

    It was the second time since the start of the pandemic that the global gathering of Democrats Abroad leaders was held virtually, electing new international officers, voting on bylaws, and passing resolutions.

    But for 2021, it was decided to start the meeting at a time convenient for members in the Asia Pacific region, which is why your three voting members from DA Austria – chair, vice chair, and DPCA voting rep – needed to rise (if not shine) quite early.

    That marked the start of a 20-plus-hour online meeting over two days – May 15 and 16 – with more than 200 participants present at all times. Like a mini-session of Congress, there were presentations, speeches, motions, objections, amendments, points of order, and most of all – votes. It was truly a demonstration of just how dedicated people are to this all-volunteer organization.

    A lot was achieved. We elected a new International Executive Committee, and we can be most proud that our own Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, our former chair of DA Austria, prevailed over four challengers to be elected the new EMEA Regional Vice Chair.

    Among the seven bylaws that passed, one that is most consequential changed the way DA calculates the number of DPCA voting representatives per country committee. The end result is that many smaller country committees – some 80% of the CCs – will now have one additional voting representative. For DA Austria, that means our voting power goes from three to four!

    About a dozen of the 25 resolutions passed (see below), with the rest tabled for a later meeting. We also voted that next year’s global AGM will be held in-person in Costa Rica!

    A 20-hour Zoom meeting can be exhausting for attendees, but even more for those who are facilitating sessions for hours and hours on very little sleep. A huge thank you to all those who led us through the sessions on the bylaws and resolutions, as well as a big shout out to members of the outgoing International Executive Committee, especially our former Chair Julia Bryan, who was the epitome of poise, patience, and cool during the AGM. 

    Onwards, together! 

    — Richard Miller, Chair, DA Austria

     

    Bylaws and Resolutions at the Global Meeting

    At the Global Meeting, the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) body debates and votes on proposed Bylaws amendments and Resolutions. Following are the Bylaws and Resolutions that passed or were sent to committee. There was not enough time to hear all the Resolutions and another meeting will be set for the DPCA voting representatives to hear and consider them. 

    Bylaws Amendments that passed: 

    Proposal 1– Proposal to remove automatic proxies; Proposal 3 – Proposal to provide for more direct involvement by the DPCA Excom in appointments; Proposal 5 – Remove requirement to hold the DPCA Officer elections at the first meeting of the year; Proposal 6 – 2021 DPCA Vote Allocation Amendment, Proposal 9 – Remote On-line participation for quorum; Proposal 10 – Section 6.2 Election of RVC by One Vote Each for Chair and Vice-Chair; Proposal 11 – Country Committee Admission Criteria: Increasing Minimum Membership. 

    Bylaws Amendments that were referred to committee:  

    Proposal 7 – Create DPCA Representation for Non-Country Committee Members; Proposal 8 – Enable the Formation of Region Committees; Proposal 14 – Using Ranked Choice Voting within Democrats Abroad at International and Regional Levels.

    Adopted Resolutions: 

    1. To Rename the Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge for Congressman John R. Lewis; 2. Applauding Congressman Jamie Raskin and House Impeachment Managers; 5. In Support of Urgent Federal Tax Filing Relief for Americans Abroad in the American Jobs Plan (infrastructure legislation) and American Families Plan; 6. Honoring Patrick Werner, founder of Democrats Abroad Nicaragua; 10. In Support of the PRO Act; 11. In Support of H.R. 40 and the Commission to Study U.S. Reparations; 16. In Support of Medicare Portability; 21. To condemn the Arkansas Legislature for passing Anti-Transgender Legislation; 23. In Support of Non-Citizen Service Members, their Families, Deported Veterans and H.R. 1182: the Veterans Deportation Prevention and Reform Act; 24. Supporting the Military Justice Improvement Act to Protect Military Women & Men from Sexual Harassment & Assault; 26. Advocating Against Prison Gerrymandering.

    — DA Austria’s DPCA Voting Representatives: Richard Miller, Faith Hall Herbold, and Jen Rakow-Steppe

     


  • published May's Newsletter in News 2021-05-04 06:20:11 -0400

    May's Newsletter

    In May's Issue:

    Events:

    • Citizen Stripping
    • Candidate Townhall for EMEA Regional Vice Chair
    • AAPI Caucus and Hispanic Caucus: Meet the Candidates
    • 2021 Global Meeting & Elections
    • 2021 EMEA Regional Meeting & Elections
    • Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad
    • ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #4
    • Solidarity Sundays: Moon Shot

    Issues & Actions:

    • A Message from the Chair
    • Upcoming Global & Regional Meeting
    • Vaccinated in America

    Reviews:

    • Solidarity Sundays

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Citizenship Stripping

    When: Tuesday, May 4

    Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Spain

     

     

    Candidate Townhall for EMEA Regional Vice Chair

    When: Wednesday, May 5

    Time: 9-10:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by EMEA

     

    AAPI Caucus & Hispanic Caucus Meet the Candidates

    When: Thursday, May 6

    Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Germany, Berlin

     

    Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad

    When: Thursday, May 20

    Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Austria

     

    ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

    When: Thursday, May 20

    Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link

     

    Solidarity Sundays:

    When: Sunday, May 30

    Time: 4-5:30 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link

     


    Issues & Actions:

    Message from the Chair

    When you’re part of an organization (and especially when you are the chair), it’s essential to have a good elevator pitch: You know, that 30-second explanation of what your organization is all about, presumably the one you tell someone in the time it takes to travel in an elevator (and in Austria, there aren’t too many long elevator rides).

    On a recent call with our outgoing global chair Julia Bryan, she put it like this: Democrats Abroad is the largest organization of civilian Americans outside the United States. We make sure overseas Americans know they can vote, make sure they know how, and make sure they know that their vote counts!

    It’s that last bit—the extent that our votes count—that I find the most compelling.

    So, get this: In 2020 approximately 1.8 million eligible American voters living abroad requested their ballot compared to 930,156 ballots received in 2016. We likely doubled our vote!

    The overseas vote was the margin of victory for Biden-Harris in Arizona (~19,500 votes from abroad), Georgia (~20,000 votes from abroad) and most likely Wisconsin (numbers still out, but Biden won by less than 1%, which we typically deliver). Our votes also helped tip the scales in the Georgia Senate race, leading to a run-off and a Democrat-controlled Senate.

    As I’ve heard Julia say on a number of occasions, “Hey folks, WE SAVED DEMOCRACY.”

    So when you're recruiting a new member to Democrats Abroad Austria this year (hey, how are you coming along with that?), you can try out that elevator pitch and be sure they know that our votes really do count!

    — Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair

     

     

    Upcoming 2021 Global & Regional Meetings

    The 2021 Global Meeting and EMEA Regional Meeting will take place exclusively online on the weekend of May 15–16. All DA members are welcome to attend the meetings. Please note that there are a few “meet the candidate” events listed under events above.

    The EMEA Regional Meeting will take place from 9–10am (CET) on Sunday, May 16. The only order of business is for the election of the 2021–2023 EMEA Regional Vice Chair. Former DA Austria Chair, Jen Rakow-Stepper, is one of five candidates running for the position.

    In order to accommodate participation from timezones from Fiji to Vancouver, the 2021 Global Meeting will be called to order at 3:30 a.m., Saturday, May 15 (CET) and adjourn at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 16.

    During the global meeting, DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad) voting representatives elected at the county committee level (3 from Austria) will elect the Global Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Legal Counsel. These individuals will lead Democrats Abroad for the next two years, guiding and supporting all of our leaders, volunteers, and members around the world. Here is the link to the Officer Candidate list: DA 2021 International Officer Candidate List.pdf

    A draft agenda is available here. The agenda is tentative and subject to change. Attendance online will be possible throughout the meeting. Chairs, Vice Chairs, and DPCA Voting representatives of compliant country committees of Democrats Abroad may vote. You may register for the meeting here.

    Resolutions and changes to the DPCA ByLaws (Charter) will also be voted on at the meeting. Here is the list of charter amendments and list of resolutions which the DPCA body will discuss.

    — Jen Rakow-Stepper, DPCA Voting Representative

     

    Vaccinated in America

    Late in the afternoon on a recent Friday, my wife and I walked into one of the cavernous south halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Inside a room large enough for an airliner to be displayed in, we went straight up to one the FEMA staff managing the check-in process, confirmed our registrations, and then walked straight to an empty seat at one of the many vaccination stations. Less than 10 minutes after pulling into the parking lot, we had received our first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. For a lot of us living in Europe, this ease of access to vaccines seems like some kind of dream. From 8 in the morning until 7:30 in the evening, there are appointments available every 15 minutes—either on foot or in the new convenient drive-thru—making getting vaccinated even easier than getting married!

    On the reverse, to fly back to Austria we needed a negative COVID test. Not having symptoms, we found we had to pay at least $125 for a test, and most options would not return a result—even for antigen tests— any faster than 2 to 3 days. We ended up going to a small clinic which provided rapid antigen testing for the casino workers on the Strip and paying cash to get tested, while here in Austria we can get a PCR test result the same day for free via Alles gurgelt! at any BIPA location.

    In so many ways, the entire COVID vaccination and testing experience was a great reminder of both the strengths and weaknesses of the two countries I live my life between. The USA has a mammoth capacity for making huge quantities of virtually anything and then distributing it rapidly. Something which requires social responsibility and continued, thorough effort with no obvious immediate result, like widespread testing, is much more effectively done here in Austria.

    Back in Austria now, we’re happy to have been vaccinated and happy we could easily test upon our return to continue to stay safe!

    — Nathan Fowler, DAA IT Committee

     



    Reviews:

    Solidarity Sundays: For the People

    April 25, 2021

    Wherever Republicans control a chamber of the state legislature, bills to restrict voting are advancing fast: 361 bills and counting. Americans face a potential contraction of voting rights unlike anything in recent memory.

    The vehicle for Democratic pushback is the For the People Act. The pro-democracy bill would register voters automatically, end partisan gerrymandering, and make Election Day a federal holiday. Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad, broke down how the legislation, called S1 in the Senate, could stop voter suppression in its tracks. But without changing the filibuster, it can‘t pass the Senate.

    Democrats Abroad is experimenting with different approaches to build momentum for S1. They are talking with legislators to suggest changes to the bill that address particular challenges overseas voters face. What, for instance, is the biggest reason votes from abroad don‘t get counted? People not receiving ballots in time or not getting them back in time. Prompt transmission of ballots is vital to us.

    After seeing how hard it was to vote from abroad in 2020, members are stepping up to help protect the vote. For one initiative, DA contacted members from New Jersey, where the Assembly is considering absentee voting legislation. They asked them to text their legislators to support changes that help us vote. The high number of people who answered DA’s call is inspiring similar initiatives.

    You can take action from home. Solidarity Sundays learned the nuts and bolts of emailing our senators — a quick, effective way to tell your senators to support S1 and reform the filibuster. Email yours in five minutes (find them here.) Want a copy of the Solidarity Sundays Guide on emailing senators? Contact us: [email protected]

    — Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sunday Co-Coordinator

     

    Thank you for reading May’s newsletter!


  • published April's Newsletter in News 2021-04-07 09:17:41 -0400

    April's Newsletter

     

    In This Issue– 

    Events:

    • Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott
    • ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days
    • Vorarlberg Picnic Social
    • Solidarity Sundays: For The People

    2021 Annual General Meeting & Elections:

    • Election Results

    Issues & Actions:

    • Letter from the Chair
    • Open Caucus and Committee Positions
    • Introducing Jason Means
    • News from Solidarity Sundays
    • Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

    Reviews:  

    • Annual General Meeting
    • Filibuster or Bust!

     

    Having trouble viewing this email? You can read the newsletter online

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott

    Tuesday, April 13,  6-7 p.m. (CET) – Online

    RSVP for the zoom link

     

    Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

    Thursday, April 22, 7-8 p.m. (CET) – Online

    RSVP for the zoom link 

    SolSun: For The People

    Sunday, April 25, 4-6 p.m. (CET) – Online

    RSVP for the zoom link, then pour a

    glass of wine and join us in Paris

    DA Vorarlberg Picnic Social

    April 23, 5:00-8:30PM

    Vorarlberg (in-person)

     


    2021 AGM & Elections:

     

    New Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elected

    Due to Covid restrictions, the election of the 2021-23 DAA ExComm was conducted for the second time in an online-only format. To maximize opportunities for engagement in the electoral process, the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) issued multiple announcements soliciting nominations in the weeks before the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and ensured that members would have ample time to cast votes, beginning on March 7. Voting concluded during the March 21, 2021 AGM.  Although several qualified candidates stepped forward to serve on the ExComm, there were no contested races. 

    Congratulations to our new ExComm members: 

    Chair:  Richard Miller (73 votes), Vice Chair:  Faith Hall Herbold (71 votes), Treasurer: Diego Heatherman (70 votes), Secretary: Marcy Fowler (71 votes), Counsel: Josh Friedman (71 votes), Members-at-Large: Ted France (69 votes), Jacki Hafellner (66 votes), Tanya Lolonis (68 votes), Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (69 votes), Raina Saul-Ganev (69 votes), Sophie Spiegelberger (68 votes), DPCA Voting Representative: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (72 votes)

     


     

    Issues & Actions:

    From the Chair

    Many of us look for outlets where we can volunteer our time, to help others and make a difference. I know I have, pouring coffee at soup kitchens, joining community spring clean-ups, raising money for good causes.

    But nothing quite compared to my time as a DA Super Volunteer (not an official title, I’m sure) in the run-up to the 2020 election. The energy I felt rallying overseas voters made me feel like I was personally working to save democracy, if not the planet! And that energy was amplified many times over by so many of you. Look at what we in Austria achieved!

    • In 2020, our 34 phone bankers had 11,904 conversations with members around the world - the 6th highest of all country committees!
    • With 65 active volunteers, DAA had one of the highest volunteer rates of any country committee.
    • Volunteers working at 17 in-person voter help tables registered and helped hundreds of Americans living in Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, and Vienna to vote.
    • And finally, 391 Americans in Austria joined DAA in 2020 - our largest gain ever!

    As your Chair for the next two years, working alongside an amazing Executive Committee, we look to harness that same energy to set the stage and then get out of the vote for the midterm elections in 2022.

    But we need your help. If you have the time and desire, please consider sharing your talents and skills, whether to organize an event or recruit new members. Find out more about open positions below, "Open Caucus and Committee Positions."

    Let me end with a challenge! I would ask each one of you to commit to signing up at least one new member of DA Austria this year. I am going to start with my youngest son, Marco, who turns 18 on April 8. That’s one! Who will you approach?

    What makes me proud is to lead an organization with so many committed members. I cannot think of a more important way to volunteer than by being part of this great team and serving as chair of Democrats Abroad Austria.

    Democratically yours,

    Richard 

    Democrats Abroad Austria, Chair



    Open Caucus and Committee Positions

    We are searching for people to lead some of our caucuses, namely the Youth Caucus, AAPI Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and LGBTQ+ Caucus. If you have questions about leading a caucus, reach out to our new Vice Chair, Faith Hall Herbold, who, with Jason Means, is co-coordinator of DAA’s Black Caucus. You can also read about all our volunteer positions here.

    — Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair



    Introducing Jason Means

    Global Black Caucus Austria would like to introduce Jason Means, who will serve as co-coordinator with Faith Herbold. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jason moved to Austria in 2018. When he’s not working in international research funding at the University of Vienna, you can find him...on the couch, surrounded by plants and attempting to knit (a newly acquired lockdown skill)! Welcome to the team, Jason! Stay tuned for more information and events from the GBC!  



    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force Congressional Action

    The Taxation Task Force has published a Democrats Abroad statement submitted to the Senate Committee on Finance in relation to their March 25 hearing on “How U.S. International Tax Policy Impacts American Workers, Jobs, and Investment”.  You can download it here.

    Importantly, in our statement we join the other organisations advocating on behalf of Americans living abroad in asking for hearings on Americans abroad and the tax, financial account reporting, and other issues we deal with, as well as the implications of Residency-Based Taxation.

    Many DA members have messaged the Tax Task Force about the hearing, interested to know if we would make a statement.  

    Tax is an issue of perennial concern to Democrats Abroad members.  We ask you to read this post and share with friends, colleagues, and on your social media channels.  

    We are still looking for volunteers to help with some research in support of our advocacy work. If you would like to help, please contact us at [email protected].

    Many thanks and please send questions or comments to [email protected].

    — Carmelan Polce, Taxation Task Force Chair



    News from Solidarity Sundays

    For four years, Solidarity Sundays conducted our own civics course, analysing our political system and acting to fix it—one Sunday a month. 

    The pandemic pushed our community into cyberspace, but the challenge helped us to move from humble beginnings in Vienna‘s 7th District to global 😉 reach. Online, Solidarity Sundays draws participants and speakers from all corners of Austria, from Israel to California and from the UK to South Africa.

    Our co-founder, Juan, has relocated to Paris, where he now chairs the Paris Chapter of DA France (congratulations, Buddy!). On April 25 he will host Solidarity Sundays‘ first Parisian Edition. 

    At our last meet up, Bruce Murray spoke to us on how H.R. 1 passed the House with unanimous Democratic support. The bill is designed to take the burden off voters, and it’s a broadly popular bill. But Republicans have decided that anything that makes it easier for all people to vote is a nonstarter for them. Solidarity Sundays is building on Bruce‘s lead. At our April meeting, Ada Shen, former Chair, Democrats Abroad France, will discuss voter protection and the For The People Act in detail, and how we can help get it over the finish line.

    — Tanya Lolonis & Juan Cerda, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinators

    Contact us!  [email protected]

    Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

    While you’re calling and writing to your representatives about the Environmental Justice for All Act, learning about the impact of industrial agriculture on the climate and food production, and not falling for fossil fuel industry greenwashing, we hope you will join us in celebrating Earth Day safely from wherever you are! Because we are spread across the globe, and subject to different covid restrictions, The Climate Action Team is curating a list of virtual Earth Day events for you to participate in. We have things that work for multiple time zones, and for various age groups. This list will be continually updated until Earth Day, so if you have a suggestion, please email it to [email protected] and we will consider adding it! Find all the Earth Day events here.

     


     

    Reviews:  

    2021 Annual General Meeting

    Forty-two members attended this year’s Annual General Meeting from all around Austria. They participated in a discussion about our plans to hold the House and Senate in 2022 and map out our priorities for 2021 in order to achieve this goal. Members went into breakout rooms for small group discussions and then reported back to the main group. Some of the themes touched on were ways to reach more Americans, increase membership, and raise funds to support our Get Out The Vote efforts in 2022. We also discussed how to build on our momentum with members outside of Vienna and keep them engaged when we return to in-person events. 

    Prior to the introduction of the 2021-2023 Executive Committee, the outgoing ExCom and Caucuses gave reports on their work over the past year. In her Chair’s Report, Jen noted that DA Austria once again had fantastic voter engagement numbers this year ranking 6th globally and had the highest volunteer rate of the 51 DA country committees. Marcy, in her Treasurer’s Report, discussed DAA’s strong financial position thanks to an increase in sustaining donors and generous donations. She also reported on how the funds raised were put to good use to enhance our voter engagement efforts. 

    Special guest speaker, Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair, spoke to us about how DA was the margin of victory in key states, like Georgia, in 2020. Her presentation also focused on legislative outreach to counteract voter suppression efforts at the state level. Please get in touch with her if you’d like to help in this effort at [email protected]

    Thanks to everyone who attended! As promised, you will receive an invitation for a wine tasting event as soon as we’re able to hold in-person events again.

    — Jen Rakow-Stepper, 2017-2021 DAA Chair



    Solidarity Sundays: Filibuster or Bust

    March 28, 2021

    Americans want gun control, money out of politics, and action on climate. Why doesn't Congress act on the people's priorities? Are there any levers to break the gridlock? 

    There's one. Every bill passes through the Senate on its way to becoming law. And a single Senate rule lets a minority of senators block the will of the nation.

    The filibuster, a parliamentary procedure, was an innovation by southern senators to protect slavery. It has been used to prevent anything from legislation to nominations from being brought to a vote unless three-fifths of senators (60 of 100) vote to move forward. This means a minority of 41 senators can prevent bills they don’t like from ever getting a vote.

    Eliminating (or reforming) the filibuster only needs a simple majority of senators (51) to change the rules. However, a small group of Senate Democrats remains reluctant to eliminate this anti-democratic feature of our political system once and for all. Got 5 minutes to help democracy? (Heck, it's lockdown, of course you've got 5 minutes!) Help your senators do the right thing. Tell them to end the filibuster and fix the Senate. Find and email them here.

    Budget reconciliation is exempt from the supermajority requirement, which is why Biden's American Rescue Plan passed with only 51 Senate votes. It sends economic assistance directly to families, workers, and small businesses. Hunter Christopher says one feature is poised to make it the biggest anti-poverty act since The New Deal.

    Currently, the partially-refundable Child Tax Credit helps families by reducing their income tax liability. The Rescue Plan takes the transformative step of making the credit fully refundable. 

    Why does refundability matter? It can now be paid to working families who don‘t earn enough to pay federal income tax. And monthly installments begin this summer—no waiting until tax season. 

    Economists expect this to reduce child poverty in America by 45 percent. Elections have consequences. Solidarity Sundays thanks you for being a voter.

    — Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinator

    For slides from the meet-up:  [email protected]



    Thank you for reading April’s newsletter!

     


  • published The ERA is Above Party Politics in ERA Stories 2021-03-24 08:11:44 -0400

    The ERA is Above Party Politics

    I grew up in Northern California in a divided and polarised household. Politics were the regular side dish and both Republicans and Democrats were at the table. I know I don’t see this issue as my mother did or as my great aunts did. Regardless of their politics, they understood how important it was to pass the ERA. But growing up, I took it for granted. Growing up around strong, assertiveI, working women, I thought the ERA was a done deal. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now, breaching sixty years old, I finally understand what my great aunt meant when she often repeated, like a mantra, that. “Women must have their own money”. Women of that generation were denied a bank account, a credit card, their own livelihood because they were not protected under the law. It’s high time women were. Please vote to finally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. —Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, votes in California, lives in Vienna


  • New Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elected

    The election of the 2021-2023 DAA ExCom concluded during the March 21, 2021 Annual General Meeting.  Congratulations to our new ExCom members!

     

    Chair: Richard Miller (73 votes)

    Vice Chair: Faith Hall-Herbold (71)

    Treasurer: Diego Heatherman (70)

    Secretary: Marcy Fowler (71)

    Counsel: Josh Friedman (71)

     

    Members-at-Large:

    Ted France (69)

    Jacki Hafellner (66)

    Tanya Lolonis (68)

    Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (69)

    Raina Saul-Ganev (69)

    Sophie Spiegelberger (68)

     

    DPCA Voting Representative:

    Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (72)


  • published March's Newsletter in News 2021-03-08 04:21:24 -0500

    March's Newsletter

    In this Issue —

    Events:

    • Women's History Month
    • Annual General Meeting & Officer Elections
    • ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report #2
    • Solidarity Sundays: Filibuster or Bust?

    In Memoriam:

    • Erich Zawinul

    2021 AGM & Elections:

    • Caucus and Committee Positions
    • Election Notice & Candidate Statements
    • AGM Announcement
    • Amendments to the Bylaws

    Issues & Actions:

    • Democrats Abroad Austria in Vorarlberg
    • Dems Abroad Taxation Task Force Needs You!
    • Women’s History Month

    Reviews:

    • SolSun

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Women's History Month

    March 8, 7:00 PM (CET) – Online

    DAA Annual General Meeting

    March 21, 3:00 PM (CET) - Online

    Ballot for the 2021 Election of Officers

    Vote from now until March 21, 1:00 PM (CET) or at the AGM on March 21 at 3:00 PM (CET)

    Biden Harris Progress Report #2

    March 24, 7:00 PM (CET) - Online

    Filibuster or Bust

    March 28, 4:00-6:00 PM (CET) - Online

    DA Vorarlberg Picnic Social

    April 23, 5:00-8:00PM - Vorarlberg (in-person)

     


     

    In Memoriam

    It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to a beloved member of ours from Vienna, Erich Zawinul. Erich, son of Joe Zawinul, passed away on Feb. 11, 2021. "Erich was the first American I met when I first moved to Vienna in 2008 - a year we all hold dear! A group of friends were invited to his flat to watch the election night results. As night turned into day, he and I were the only ones left, waiting anxiously for Obama's victory to be announced. I actually had to wake him up to share the good news - it was a long night. That is such a precious memory filled with heartfelt tears and joy that I will always remember," recalls our former Vice-Chair Ashley Arreola-Rogez. RIP Erich. You will be missed by many.

    — Ashley Arreola-Rogez

     


    2021 AGM & Elections:

     

    Caucus & Committee Positions

    Democrats Abroad is an entirely volunteer organization and, as such, we rely on members like you to support our projects with your skills, energy, and passion. We’re looking for people who have anywhere from 10 minutes a week to 10 hours a month to help engage overseas Americans to vote.

    Now is not the time to sit back and rest on the Biden/Harris win. The 2022 election will be absolutely critical to making sure Democrats increase our margins in Congress and the Senate. It will be a huge challenge and we need your help. Take a look at the Caucus and Committee Volunteer Description List and make a pledge to help win important races in the midterms.

    You don’t see a good fit? Drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know what you want to do to secure ‘22.

    —Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DAA Chair

     

     

    2021 Election of Officers

    Due to ongoing Covid restrictions, elections for the 2021-23 DAA Executive Committee will be solely online. Members may cast their electronic ballots either in advance of the Annual General Meeting (AGM), or during the AGM.

    Please note, ballots cast in advance must be received by 1 pm (13:00 CET) on March 21, 2021. Please take care to sign your ballot with correct information on the Signature portion of the ballot.

    During the AGM you will also have an opportunity to meet your representatives and tell them what you would like to see DA Austria do over the next two years. You'll hear from DA International Chair, Julia Bryan, about the critical work DA accomplished in the 2020 election. You can meet other DAA members from around Austria and hear about about their activities, and you'll find out about plans for the 2022 midterm elections. Finally, you'll receive an invitation for free entry to an in-person wine tasting fundraiser with Seymann's Winery (as soon as permitted) as a thank you for your participation.

    Get your ballot here: www.bit.ly/daa-election-2021

    If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

    — 2021 Nominations and Elections Committee, Democrats Abroad Austria

     

     

    ExCom Officers & DPCA Voting Representative Candidate Statements

    Members of the Executive Committee are elected for two-year terms. To ensure gender balance, and in in line with the policy of the Democratic Party and the DPCA, the Chair and Vice-Chair shall not be of the same sex.

    — 2021 Nominations and Elections Committee, Democrats Abroad Austria

    Read the candidate statements here

     

     

    2021 Annual General Meeting and Officer Elections

    DA Austria’s Annual General Meeting will be held online on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3 p.m. All DAA members are welcome to participate in the elections and join the meeting. We especially hope to see many of our members who live outside of Vienna and may not normally attend the AGM! Any American 18 or older by the next federal election and residing in Austria may also join the meeting and vote.

    Come for business –

    Special guest DA Global Chair Julia Bryan will give her expert insights into the fantastic work that was accomplished by Democrats Abroad members around the world in the 2020 and Georgia runoff elections. She’ll also talk to us about DA’s outreach with our representatives in DC in order to inform them on the issues that matter most to all Americans who live abroad.

    At the meeting we'll present brief reports on 2020, discuss plans for the upcoming year, and conduct a vote on amendments to the DAA Bylaws (see changes below). There will also be an Elections Meeting to elect an Executive Committee for the 2021-2023 term (see 2021 Election of Officers above).

    Join us for a wine-tasting –

    DA Austria is required by our By-Laws to hold an Annual General Meeting prior to March 31 of each year. We also have a quorum requirement to make the meeting valid. Please help us meet these challenges by joining us in our online AGM!

    As a thank you for your loyalty and help through this difficult period, AGM attendees will receive an invitation for free entry to an in-person wine tasting fundraiser with Seymann's Winery. We'll set the date just as soon as restrictions are lifted.

    Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization for more than eighteen years. In 2021, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and vote of all our members.

    Please RSVP for the meeting on our events page at democratsabroad.org/at_events You will receive a confirmation email with the meeting link.

    Thank you for your support,

    – DA Austria Executive Committee

     

     

    Amendments to the Bylaws

    At the Annual General Meeting, the DA Austria Bylaws Committee will submit amendments to DA Austria’s Bylaws for a vote by the membership. Recent changes in the DPCA Charter, compliance with Austrian association statute requirements, and enhanced clarity motivated the committee’s proposed amendments.

    The proposed amendments intend to accomplish the following:

    • Establish more effective notification deadlines for members affected by Removal of Membership provisions (See 3.9 and 9.1)
    • Clarify terms, including:
      • 4.1 Members of the Executive Committee
      • 4.3 Meetings of the Membership
    • Expand scope of membership review for DA-AT documents (see 4.5 and 4.6)
    • Specify provision for DPCA voting representative exemption from term limits (see 4.11)
    • Clarify and expand election procedures in view of increased remote participation (see 8.2) & gender balancing requirements
    • Introduce provision for membership confirmation of Executive Committee office-holder replacement in cases of resignation, etc. (see 9.4 and 9.5).

    Proposed changes to the document can be seen here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N9QT0oBpMKD6hYT21KueiQNw3HNYrflB/view?usp=sharing

    — Brett Carnito, Marcy Fowler, Bruce Murray, and Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DAA ByLaws Committee

     


    Issues & Actions:

     

    Democrats Abroad Austria in Vorarlberg

    Democrats Abroad Austria-Vorarlberg would like to introduce our group which has been in existence since 2016 out on the western frontier of Austria on the beautiful Bodensee. We are as yet small in membership, but we are mighty in our efforts and are now in the process of actively recruiting new members so we can gear up with more volunteer power for the upcoming 2022 elections.

    We just established our own Democrats Abroad Vorarlberg Facebook Group, and have had a positive response thus far. You can check out our group page to see our past activities as well as future events planned. Speaking of which, we’re planning an outdoor picnic social on Friday, April 23rd, and anyone who is interested in Democrats Abroad is invited to come.Find out more and RSVP on our FB Group page.

    We are an eclectic group of expats who moved to Austria via marriage, work, or relocated here as students. Our professions range from computer programmers to chefs, teachers, school principals, English trainers, web page designers, lawyers, and engineers. Our core group includes Stephanie Don, who hails from Northern California and is one of the founding members. She is joined by two other Southern Californians, Sharon and Franz Herbert (a Bregenzer), who hail from the skateboard and surfing city of Encinitas. The state of Illinois, better known as the Land of Lincoln, is represented by founding members Paul and Andrea Milstein (an Altacher), and Eddie Gregory was born in White Plains, the birthplace of the state of New York, and relocated back to Austria during his school years. The Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado, is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and the sometime home of Patti and Paul Baker. And let’s not forget the port city of Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior which is the home state of Ted France. Ted was the main driver behind our GOTV efforts last fall and is currently running for a Member-at-Large position on the DA Austria Executive Committee. We wish him lots of luck!

    We look forward to being an active precinct and representing the Democrats Abroad out here in Vorarlberg.

    —Stephanie Don, Vorarlberg Precinct Founder

     

    Dems Abroad Taxation Task Force Needs You!

    The Dems Abroad Tax Task Force is looking for help building up our spreadsheet of members of Congress with information that will help us: 1) target members who might take a special interest in our tax reform recommendations and 2) prepare for discussions taking place during virtual door knocks hosted by the TTF or by any other group in DA advocating for reforms.

    We anticipate the need for 25 volunteers each providing 10-25 hours of volunteer time. Interested parties should message [email protected], put Congressional Data Grab Volunteer in the subject line and tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, where you vote, your background, work status and how many hours you can donate to the project). The work will be completed by 20 March.

    Please send questions or comments to [email protected].

    – Carmelan Polce, Taxation Taskforce

     

     

    Women’s History Month

    The year 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. Despite the interruption of the pandemic, celebrations of women’s historic achievement with the passing of the 19th Amendment will not be silenced. Suffragists too faced a deadly virus – and a war – while trying to win the key state of New York in 1917. Their strength is our inspiration.

    Since the anniversary lasts until August 26, 2021, the women’s suffrage centennial continues for another half a year. It is important that we take the opportunity of the centennial to recognize and reflect on women’s historic breakthroughs, while also continuing to educate and organize.

    March 8 is Women’s Day. Please join us on March 8 at 7 pm CET for the Women’s History Month Talks: Making History with Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine. She will take a look at the tremendous history made as a result of the 2020 elections (particularly the historic achievements for women) and examine what they mean for the future. And, of course, what’s next for the ERA and what the Biden administration can do to ensure it becomes part of the Constitution. Please RSVP at: www.democratsabroad.org/wc_making_history

    Please join the GBC’s celebration of Women’s History Month with a screening of “Harriet,” a biographical film about the life of Harriet Tubman. The screening will be on March 30 at 7:30 pm CET on Zoom. Please RSVP at: www.democratsabroad.org/gbc_cafe_watches

    See all our March events at www.democratsabroad.org/wc and follow the Women’s Caucus on [email protected] https://www.instagram.com/dawomenscaucus/

    —The Global Women’s Caucus

     


    Reviews:

    Solidarity Sundays: The Armed Right & the GOP

    February 28, 2021

    The National Rifle Association is nearly unmatched in American political activism. NRA members and gun rights activists are incredibly active voters, and the organization has created a fellowship of gun owners united around gun rights. At the same time, it is a formidable lobby in Washington and state capitals. According to a new book, this control over so many people is based on gun myths fabricated out of thin air that fuel today's armed right.

    Frank Smyth, investigative journalist and author, uncovered the hidden origins of the modern NRA. Buried documents contradict its absolutism on gun rights, which helped expand gun access across America. Addressing Solidarity Sundays, Smyth explained how the "Slippery Slope" theory – that even a little gun control can start a dangerous slide in disarmament leading to government tyranny – allows gun activists to justify the most extreme intransigence. Even as the NRA implodes, the storylines it created have saturated the Republican electorate and will animate it for years to come.

    The power of this ideology has significant implications for gun reform. There is energy for gun control, and Biden's gun plan is the most ambitious to date. However, Smyth argues that passage is unlikely: most of the 70 million who voted to re-elect Trump embrace the NRA fantasies. What is needed is reframing the conversation on guns. The NRA's point of vulnerability is its myths, and Democrats need to challenge them to get anywhere.

    Frank Smyth is an award-winning journalist specializing in armed conflicts, organized crime, and human rights overseas, and the gun movement and its influence at home. Solidarity Sundays is grateful he made time to speak with us about his new book, “NRA: The Unauthorized History,” an eye-opening account of how we got here.

    –Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator

     

    Thank you for reading the March newsletter!

     


  • published Important Update: 2021 DAA Elections in News 2021-02-16 11:33:12 -0500

    Important Update: 2021 DAA Elections

    The email address provided for the 2021 Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) was incorrect in the February Newsletter & Call for Nominations email. All correspondence to the NEC, including nominations, should be sent to the following email address:  [email protected]

    We apologize for any inconvenience!

    2021 Nominations and Elections Committee

     

     


  • Call For Nominations: 2021-2023 DA Austria Officers Election

    Call for Nominations:  Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elections 2021

    The 2021-23 Executive Committee will be elected at this year’s Annual General Meeting on March 21, 2021. Due to Covid-related restrictions, all voting will be conducted electronically or by mail.

    The 2021 Nominating and Elections Committee (NEC) is seeking qualified candidates for the following positions:

    •  Chair
    •  Vice-Chair
    •  Treasurer
    •  Secretary
    •  Counsel
    •  DPCA Voting Representative
    •  Up to six Members-at-Large positions -- In the past, Member-at-Large responsibilities have included: Province Coordinators, Database Manager, Media Contact, Social Media and Communication, and Membership Engagement. 

    A description of these offices’ responsibilities can be found in the DAA’s Bylaws on the Executive Committee here.

    If you are interested in running for any of these positions or would like to nominate someone, please send your name or that of the nominee and a short bio/candidate statement to the NEC at [email protected] by March 4, 2021. All nominations must be seconded via email to the NEC by the March 4 deadline. Information about candidates and their platforms will be published in the March issue of the DAA Newsletter. In addition, candidates are encouraged to attend upcoming meeting/s of the Executive Committee to learn more about the work of the group. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

     

    Key Dates

    • February 4: Call for nominations
    • March 4: Nominations close
    • NLT March 7:  Ballots will be sent electronically to all DAA members and will be available on the DAA website.
    • March 20:  Early voting ends at 23:59
    • March 21:  Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting.  Early votes and those cast during the AGM will be tallied, and the NEC will announce the results.

    You can read the full DAA Bylaws (Article 8 covers Elections and Nominations) here, and the DAA 2021 Election Rules here.

    Our victories in 2020 were a direct result of the actions of committed Democrats around the globe.  Please consider how you might contribute to the Party’s future success as part of the DAA leadership team. If you have any questions, please contact the NEC at [email protected].   

    — Susan Ball (Chair), Nathan Fowler, Amanda Grossman, and Antje Lewis,

    2021 Nominations and Elections Committee

     


  • published In February in News 2021-02-04 07:52:02 -0500

    February's Newsletter

     

    In this Newsletter —

    Events:

    • Black History Month Marathon
    • AAPI & Black Caucus: Film Screening & Discussion
    • ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report #1
    • Black Caucus: 3rd Annual Open Mic Night
    • Solidarity Sundays: GOP and the Armed Right
    • Annual General Meeting & Officer Elections

    Issues & Actions:

    • AGM Announcement
    • Amendments to the Bylaws
    • Election Announcement & Deadlines

    Reviews:

    • Inauguration Night Watch Party
    • Solidarity Sundays

     

    Having trouble viewing this email? You can read the newsletter online.

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Black History Month Marathon

    February 6, 9:00 AM (CET) – Online

    American Revolutionary: Film Screening and Discussion

    February 11, 7:00 PM (CET) - Online

    Biden/Harris Progress Report #1

    February 18, 7:00 PM (CET) - Online

    3rd Annual GBC Open Mic Night

    February 25, 7:00 PM (CET) - Online

    GOP and the Armed Right

    February 28, 4:00-6:00 PM (CET) - Online

    Annual General Meeting & Elections

    March 21, 3:00-5:00 PM (CET) - Online

     


    Issues & Actions:

    2021 Annual General Meeting and Officer Elections

    DA Austria’s Annual General Meeting will be held online on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3 p.m. All DAA members are welcome to participate in the elections and join the meeting. We especially hope to see many of our members who live outside of Vienna and may not normally attend the AGM! Any American 18 or older by the next federal election and residing in Austria may also join the meeting and vote.

    Come for business –

    Special guest DA Global Chair Julia Bryan will give her expert insights into the fantastic work that was accomplished by Democrats Abroad members around the world in the 2020 and Georgia runoff elections. She’ll also talk to us about DA’s outreach with our representatives in DC in order to inform them on the issues that matter most to all Americans who live abroad.

    At the meeting we'll present brief reports on 2020, discuss plans for the upcoming year, and conduct a vote on amendments to the DAA Bylaws (see changes below). There will also be an Elections Meeting to elect an Executive Committee for the 2021-2023 term (see article).

    Join us for a wine-tasting –

    DA Austria is required by our By-Laws to hold an Annual General Meeting prior to March 31 of each year. We also have a quorum requirement to make the meeting valid. Please help us meet these challenges by joining us in our online AGM!

    As a thank you for your loyalty and help through this difficult period, AGM attendees will be able to attend a wine-tasting fundraiser with Seymann's Winery for free! We'll set the date just as soon as restrictions are lifted.

    Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization for more than eighteen years. In 2021, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and vote of all our members.

    Please RSVP for the meeting on our events page at democratsabroad.org/at_events You will receive a confirmation email with the meeting link.

    Thank you for your support,

    – DA Austria Executive Committee



    Amendments to the Bylaws

    At the Annual General Meeting, the DA Austria Bylaws Committee will submit amendments to DA Austria’s Bylaws for a vote by the membership. Recent changes in the DPCA Charter, compliance with Austrian association statute requirements, and enhanced clarity motivated the committee’s proposed amendments.

    The proposed amendments intend to accomplish the following:

    • Establish more effective notification deadlines for members affected by Removal of Membership provisions (See 3.9 and 9.1)
    • Clarify terms, including:
      • 4.1 Members of the Executive Committee
      • 4.3 Meetings of the Membership
    • Expand scope of membership review for DA-AT documents (see 4.5 and 4.6)
    • Specify provision for DPCA voting representative exemption from term limits (see 4.11)
    • Clarify and expand election procedures in view of increased remote participation (see 8.2) & gender balancing requirements
    • Introduce provision for membership confirmation of Executive Committee office-holder replacement in cases of resignation, etc. (see 9.4 and 9.5).

    Proposed changes to the document can be seen here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N9QT0oBpMKD6hYT21KueiQNw3HNYrflB/view?usp=sharing

    — Brett Carnito, Marcy Fowler, Bruce Murray, and Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DAA ByLaws Committee

     


    Call For Nominations: Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elections 2021

    The 2021-23 Executive Committee will be elected at this year’s Annual General Meeting on March 21, 2021. Due to Covid-related restrictions, all voting will be conducted electronically or by mail.

    The 2021 Nominating and Elections Committee (NEC) is seeking qualified candidates for the following positions:

    • Chair
    • Vice-Chair
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary
    • Counsel
    • DPCA Voting Representative
    • Up to six Members-at-Large positions -- In the past, Member-at-Large responsibilities have included: Province Coordinators, Database Manager, Media Contact, Social Media and Communication, and Membership Engagement.

    A description of these offices’ responsibilities can be found in the DAA’s Bylaws on the Executive Committee here.

    If you are interested in running for any of these positions or would like to nominate someone, please send your name or that of the nominee and a short bio/candidate statement to the NEC at [email protected] by March 4, 2021. All nominations must be seconded via email to the NEC by the March 4 deadline. Information about candidates and their platforms will be published in the March issue of the DAA Newsletter. In addition, candidates are encouraged to attend upcoming meeting/s of the Executive Committee to learn more about the work of the group. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

    Key Dates

    • February 4: Call for nominations
    • March 4: Nominations close
    • NLT March 7: Ballots will be sent electronically to all DAA members and will be available on the DAA website.
    • March 20: Early voting ends at 23:59
    • March 21: Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting. Early votes and those cast during the AGM will be tallied, and the NEC will announce the results.

    You can read the full DAA Bylaws (Article 8 covers Elections and Nominations) here, and the DAA 2021 Election Rules here.

    Our victories in 2020 were a direct result of the actions of committed Democrats around the globe. Please consider how you might contribute to the Party’s future success as part of the DAA leadership team. If you have any questions, please contact the NEC at [email protected].

    — Susan Ball (Chair), Nathan Fowler, Amanda Grossman, and Antje Lewis, 2021 Nominations and Elections Committee

     


    Reviews:

    Inauguration Night Watch Party

    DA Austria members and others from around the world gathered online on January 20, 2021 to witness the swearing in of our 46th President, Joe Biden, and the first female Vice President, Kamala Harris. Many thanks to Marcy and Nathan Fowler who moderated; Liberradio performers, Stefanie Don and Diego Heatherman; Liberal Libations mixologists, Kate McGrath and Keith Jacomine; and everyone who attended. Now the real work begins!

    —Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DA Austria Chair

     

    Solidarity Sundays: Can We Talk?

    Trump is out of office and off Twitter, but the Capitol attack reminded us how radicalized many fellow citizens have become. How can we talk with friends and family in the thrall of conspiracy theories and fake news?

    Ingrid Brodnig, prize-winning Austrian journalist and author, told us there are evidence-based skills we can learn. Her latest book* shared methods to put facts in the foreground of your argument. Among her tips:

    • Don't argue facts — that entrenches their view. Focus on the logic behind their claims.
    • Repetition makes information stick, so don't repeat the lie. Do repeat facts — over and over. Repetition is a powerful rhetorical tool.
    • It's hard to change someone’s view. Better: leave them with a little bit of doubt.

    Ingrid generously stayed on to answer many questions. Her clear-eyed message: there's no instant kumbaya, but with practice, we can correct misinformation and get people to open their closed thinking.

    *Einspruch! Verschwörungsmythen und Fake News kontern — in der Familie, im Freundeskreis und online, Christian Brandstätter Verlag (Jan 2021)

    Have a contact in publishing? We‘d love to help her book get printed in English so non-German readers can access it. Email: [email protected]

    — Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator

     

    Thank you for reading February’s newsletter!

     

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  • published DAA Annual General Meeting in News 2021-02-03 09:09:26 -0500

    DAA Annual General Meeting

    DA Austria’s Annual General Meeting will be held online on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3 p.m. All DAA members are welcome to participate in the elections and join the meeting. We especially hope to see many of our members who live outside of Vienna and may not normally attend the AGM! Any American 18 or older by the next federal election and residing in Austria may also join the meeting and vote.

     

    Come for business –

    Special guest DA Global Chair Julia Bryan will give her expert insights into the fantastic work that was accomplished by Democrats Abroad members around the world in the 2020 and Georgia runoff elections. She’ll also talk to us about DA’s outreach with our representatives in DC in order to inform them on the issues that matter most to all Americans who live abroad.

    At the meeting we'll present brief reports on 2020, discuss plans for the upcoming year, and conduct a vote on amendments to the DAA Bylaws. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N9QT0oBpMKD6hYT21KueiQNw3HNYrflB/view?usp=sharing. There will also be an Elections Meeting to elect an Executive Committee for the 2021-2023 term.

     

    Join us for a free wine-tasting – 

    DA Austria is required by our By-Laws to hold an Annual General Meeting prior to March 31 of each year. We also have a quorum requirement to make the meeting valid. Please help us meet these challenges by joining us in our online AGM!

    As a thank you for your loyalty and help through this difficult period, AGM attendees will be able to attend a wine- tasting fundraiser with Seymann's Winery for free! We'll set the date just as soon as restrictions are lifted.

    Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization for more than seventeen years. In 2021, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and vote of all our members.

    Please RSVP for the meeting here. You will receive a confirmation email with the meeting link

     

    Thank you for your support,

    – DA Austria Executive Committee

     

    WHEN:
    March 21, 2021 at 3pm - 5pm Austria
    WHERE:
    Online
    Austria

  • published January's Newsletter in News 2021-01-11 08:38:53 -0500

    January's Newsletter

     

    In This Issue —

    New Year’s Greeting

    Events:

    • Americans Abroad and the $600 Economic Impact Payment
    • DA Global Black Caucus: MLK Film Night
    • DA Austria Biden/Harris Inauguration Watch Party
    • DA Global Women's Caucus: Inauguration Celebration
    • Solidarity Sundays: Americans Divided
    • DA Austria Annual General Meeting

    Issues & Actions:

    • Looking Forward
    • Save the Date! Annual General Meeting & Elections
    • Open Volunteer Positions
    • Fixing Democracy Project by Solidarity Sundays

    Reviews:

    • Punching for Democracy

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, January 13, 2020, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date in order to avoid the flood of emails that occurs in an election year. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    New Year’s Greeting —

    You did it!

    Going into 2020, none of us could have imagined the pandemic that lay around the corner and just how challenging it would be to help people vote in 2020.

    But, with the two Georgia Senate seats going blue on 5 November, we did it — together!

    Whether online, on the phone, with postcards, at voter help tables, or ads in Metropole Magazine — thanks to you, your countless volunteer hours, your generous donations, and, most importantly, your vote, DA Austria pulled off record-breaking voter returns. Toi toi!

    After last week’s seditious attack on the US Capitol building and an attempt to overturn a free and fair election, it is all too clear that the challenges that lay ahead have not diminished and will require all of our continued efforts. As Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said in her acceptance speech on November 7, “Now is when the real work begins. The hard work. The necessary work. The good work.” Four democracy-threatening years are just a few days from being behind us. Now, we’ll not only need to address the critical issues before us but also repair the gaping holes in our democracy and civil society.

    This new year, I’m looking forward to brighter days when the Experienced Dems will once again meet for wine and the Progressive Dems for pizza; Solidarity Sundays will be working to fix our democracy, and we’ll all be able to celebrate Thanksgiving again—together. In the meantime, I hope you will join us online on Tuesday, January 20 as we watch the 46th President of the United States and a history making Vice President be sworn into office.

    Until we can meet again in person and in the name of the entire Executive Committee, DA Austria wishes you health and happiness in 2021!

    Democratically Yours,

    Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DA Austria Chair

     


    Events:

    Economic Impact Payment

    January 13, 7:00 PM (CET) – Online

    Black Caucus Film Night

    January 17, 6:00 PM (CET) - Online

    Biden/Harris Watch Party

    January 20, 5:00-7:30 PM (CET) - Online

    Global Women's Caucus Inauguration Celebration

    January 23, 4:00-5:30 PM (CET) - Online

    Americans Divided

    January 31, 4:00-6:00 PM (CET) - Online

    Annual General Meeting & Elections

    March 21, 3:00-5:00 PM (CET) - Online

     

    About the Inauguration Watch Party —

    We’ll not only be watching and discussing the events in Washington, DC, but we’ll also feature a few special guests and other activities. If you missed the Election Night party, you’ll definitely want to tune into the LIberadio Show out of Vorarlberg. Stephanie and Diego are our hosts and will spin a few tunes as we try to answer their Inaugural quiz questions for DAA swag. We’ll also be joined again by former DAA Chair Keith and mixology partner Kate as they mix up some Liberal Libations for us to enjoy (see the ingredients below).

    So grab your martini glass and patriotic paraphernalia as we celebrate a Democratic victory in the House, Senate and White House!

     

    Liberal Libations:

    Will be mixing The President and The Kamala Harris Victory Cup for us. We’ll be mixing our victory cocktails together.

    Be sure to have on hand:

     

     

    The President–

    • 2 oz light rum
    • 1 oz orange juice
    • 0.25 oz lemon juice
    • 0.25 oz grenadine
    • An orange slice
    • A martini glass

    The Kamala–

    • 1 oz gin
    • 0.25 oz dry vermouth
    • 0.75 oz lemon cordial (like limoncello)
    • Slices of cucumber
    • 3 oz sparkling wine, prosecco or champagne
    • A few cucumber slices

     


    Issues & Actions:

    Looking Forward

    The silver lining in moving online is that many of our members across Austria and Europe have been able to come to our events, and we’ve been able to join their’s. I hope many of you will take the opportunity to attend the Global Black Caucus for a film night and discussion on Martin Luther King holiday or the Global Women’s Caucus for an Inaugural Celebration and plan to keep volunteers engaged. And, for those of you hoping to get a stimulus check, Nathalie Goldstein from My Expat Taxes will be answering your questions on January 13.

    For more information and to RSVP for all these events, click the links in Events above.

     

    Save the Date!
    Annual General Meeting & Executive Committee Elections

    Fresh voices, energy, and ideas — save the date! On March 21, 2021 DA Austria members will meet online for our Annual General Meeting and to elect a new Executive Committee. More information about the meeting and how you can run will be posted in February’s newsletter, but we wanted to make sure you add this important date to your calendar!

     

    Youth Caucus Coordinator Position Open

    If you or someone you know is interested in building your resume and being a key component of DA Austria’s youth outreach, please contact me at: [email protected]

    –Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria

     

    Fixing Democracy Project

    We’re turning Trump out of the White House, but that’s only the first step. America’s democracy has been hijacked, and we need to get it back. Throughout 2021, our Fixing Democracy Project looks at one democratic institution a month. We‘ll examine why it‘s not working and inspect solutions.

    Our year-long series starts on January 31 at 4 p.m. with Solidarity Sundays 39: Americans Divided and a look at our troubling political divide: Who voted for Trump? Why? And how do we interact with them? Or not?

    Many of us want to initiate conversations with Republicans to cultivate solidarity. We‘ll explore ideas, and share tips and resources for conducting difficult conversations on your own.

    Check out the 2021 agenda for the Fixing Democracy Project — what do you want to work on? https://www.facebook.com/solsunvienna/guides/?view_public_for=2248595575364902&ref=page_internal

    —Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Vienna Co-Founder

     


    Reviews:

    ProDA “Progressive Punch”

    On December 6th, a dozen progressive “punchers” convened via Zoom to discuss president-elect Biden’s developing cabinet and agenda for the presidency’s first 100 days and beyond. These were our central questions:

    • How might the Georgia run-off elections influence the developing team and its agenda?
    • How will the administration respond to the coronavirus health and economic crises?
    • What steps will it take to combat climate change quickly and effectively?
    • What can we do to influence the decisions?

    We enjoyed our favorite holiday punch, heard talking-point reports from ProDA Austria members, discussed in small-group break-out rooms, then held a joint discussion of what we expect. Finally, we considered action options to ensure our expectations are met. Please look for an invitation to our January event soon!

    – Bruce Murray, ProDA Leader


    Thank you for reading January’s newsletter!


  • published December's Newsletter in News 2020-12-04 14:09:23 -0500

    December's Newsletter

    In this Issue:

    Events:

    • Progressive Caucus
    • Solidarity Sundays — will be back in January 2021!

    Issues & Actions:

    • DA Austria’s Super Volunteers
    • Georgia on Our Mind
    • Post-Election Round Up
    • DA’s Phonebanking Campaign
    • Youth Caucus Coordinator Position Open
    • Democratic Holiday Gifts

    Reviews:

    • Solidarity Sundays

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date in order to avoid the flood of emails that occurs in an election year. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Progressive Punch Plus New Year's Resolutions

    December 6, 4:00-6:00 PM (CET) – Online

    Georgia Voter Help Desk

    Until January 5, Noon - 6:00 PM (CET)

     


    Issues & Actions:

    DA Austria’s Super Volunteers

    Every election cycle has a few super volunteers who go to extraordinary efforts to help get out the vote by calling members, registering new voters at schools and universities, and assisting people with their ballots. This last election was extraordinary in many ways, including the number of dedicated volunteers who, since January, have dedicated tens of hours and made thousands of calls and helped hundreds of people at in-person voter events. Because of them, 80% of DA Austria membership engaged with our VoteFromAbroad.org website and turned out to vote. Thank you to all our volunteers and especially the super volunteers!

    Top callers: S. Ball, A. Beckman, R. Franks, D. Heatherman, R. Miller, B. Murray, Y. Richard, M. Rosenberg, W. Rosenzweig, J. Schechner, M. Wagner. Voter Help Tables: L. Davidson, S. Don, D. Englund, E. France, A. Grossman, M. Kollert, S. Kulnigg, T. Lolonis, R. Miller, P. Milstein, H. Monihan, R. Saul Ganev, L. Tuttle-Weidinger, M. Wagner. Get Out the Vote Video: S. Dahmen, F. Hall-Herbold, E. Stolyarov.

    –Jen Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria

     

    Georgia On Our Mind

    Georgia voters, your vote is powerful and will determine Biden's presidency!

    Federal elections were held for both of Georgia’s US Senate seats on November 3, 2020. Both of these races are going to "runoff elections" as no candidate received at least 50% of the vote. Democrats need to win both of these seats to have a 50/50 Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote.

    The two races are:

    • US Senate: Jon Ossoff (Democrat) versus David Perdue (Republican)
    • US Senate Special: Raphael Warnock (Democrat) versus Kelly Loeffler (Republican)

    Help get out the word! Please go to DA Austria’s Facebook page and share our Georgia posts in your groups and networks.

    The diplomatic pouch will be available. Please drop off you ballot at the US Consulate, Parkring 12A, 1010 Vienna by 4pm, December 7, 2020.

    For detailed information on how to register and return your ballot go to: https://www.democratsabroad.org/jenniferrakowstepper/georgia_us_senate_election_jan_5_2021

    Have questions? Need help? Go to one of the online forums for Georgia Voter Assistance: https://www.democratsabroad.org/at_events

    –Jen Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria



    We did it!

    Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States of America!! He has won the popular vote with 80.1 million votes and counting, the most votes ever received by any candidate in US history. Senator Kamala Harris will become the first woman and person of color to hold the Vice-President's office, "but won't be the last." The voter turnout in 2020 is projected to reach 158 million votes, or 66.8%, 20 million more than 2016. The 2020 election will go down in history as the highest voter turnout in over a century.

    I want to take a moment to thank all of our members and volunteers who contributed to the Democrats Abroad election efforts this Presidential cycle. This colossal victory doesn't come without enormous effort from activities like each of you, who made calls in Austria and all around the globe, sent texts, wrote postcards, donated your euros, and spoke with your friends and family time and again about the importance of this election. Democrats Abroad was the margin of victory in flipping key electoral college states such as Georgia and Arizona and holding the blue wall in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

    Not every fight this year was a victory. Democrats lost seats in the House. The Senate is still up in the air—however, two significant Senate seats were flipped, with the election of Mark Kelly in Arizona and John Hickenlooper in Colorado. Trump continues to undermine democracy out of delusional spite. We didn't win everywhere, but where we did win—thanks are very much owed. Above all, I'm most thankful that we will have competence back in the White House.

    There's plenty to do in Georgia, and we will continue the fight for the Senate and beyond. For now, let's take a moment to celebrate our victory.

    – Juan Cerda, Vice-Chair of DAA



    DA’s Phonebanking Campaign

    Phone banking works and our call hub activities may have had a significant impact on the 2020 election results. The DA global phone banking team currently consists of 1,600 volunteers who have made over 600,000 calls to more than 200 countries. Our DA Austria team had done 11,904 calls by election day. To illustrate this: our DAA phone bankers were online on call hub for a period of 583 hours and talked to people for 308 hours. 34 people in Austria helped make calls during this election campaign and our top five phone bankers each had more than 1,000 conversations with voters. The biggest highlight of our phone banking activities was the call-a-thon on Trump’s birthday with almost 9,000 calls. What a gift for the president. A big thank you to all of our phone bankers!

    – Michael Wagner, DA Austria Phone Bank Coordinator



    Thank You Laura — DAA Youth Caucus Coordinator

    DA Austria would like to extend a big thank you to Laura Farmwald who did great work organising the Young Dems Pub Nights for the Youth Caucus over the past year. Many of you know Laura from the Global Presidential Primary where she registered voters, or perhaps from the 2019 Pride Parade which she co-organised. Laura needs to step down from her role due to a busy work and academic life. We wish her great success completing her Masters degree!



    Youth Caucus Coordinator Position Open

    If you or someone you know is interested in building your resume and being a key component of DA Austria’s youth outreach, please contact me at: [email protected]

    –Jen Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria



    Democratic Holiday Gifts that Win for Georgia

    The impact of the work of Democrats Abroad has never been more apparent: 19,000 overseas ballots were the “margin of victory” for Biden’s 12,000-vote lead in Georgia. Our votes from abroad helped turn Georgia blue for the first time since 1992!

    Two U.S. Senate seats will be decided in a January 5 run-off election that will oust Mitch McConnell and his plan to cause further gridlock. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris need and deserve a Congress that will work with them and for the American people.

    Help Democrats Abroad realize our extensive outreach plan for reaching Georgians abroad – from social media and phonebanking campaigns to postal mailings and newspaper ads.

    Consider supporting Georgia outreach efforts by making a donation in return for Democrats Abroad swag, including a limited-edition Georgia peach tote bag.

     

    If you are already stocked with plenty of Democrats Abroad gear, you can still help by donating directly: democratsabroad.org/donate.

    None

     

     

     


    Reviews:

    Solidarity Sundays 38: Democracy — Let's Fix It!

    New Dealers in the '30s tried to save the economy, and ended up saving democracy. The nightmare of Watergate was followed by an era of reforms in federal and state governments. What might an era of economic and political reform look like after Trump?

    Let’s be honest — America’s democracy is broken. The minority party routinely elects Presidents, controls state legislatures, and appoints federal judges — locking the majority out of governing. The hard-won Biden-Harris victory is critical to saving our system, but not enough to fix it.

    Solidarity Sundays emerged as part of the civic movement inspired by Trump’s election. Our grassroots group was founded on the principle that democratic renewal takes more than one or two elections. At the last meet-up of the year, sixteen activists focused on rebuilding work that we can start in 2021.

    Building starts with the foundation. Juan Cerda surveyed who voted in November, and why. Democrats embody America’s diverse majority, but the election revealed cracks in our coalition. These need attention if we are to expand on this year’s achievement, reassert majority power, and enact a fully progressive agenda.

    Attendees then turned to the question on everyone‘s mind — where do we start? This was discussion at its finest. The team explored threats to our fraying democracy, and debated reforms small and big. Talk was lively, critiques incisive, ideas inventive. Juan and Tanya will do their best to shape the ideas into Solidarity Sundays' 2021 agenda. Check out the Solidarity Sundays Vienna Facebook page for how to drop in on the stimulating conversation, and add your ideas and muscle to the work of our generation.

    —Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Vienna Co-Founder

     

    Thanks for reading December's newsletter!

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  • published Georgia US Senate Election Jan 5, 2021! in News 2020-11-18 07:03:18 -0500

    Georgia U.S. Senate Runoff Election on Jan 5, 2021!

    Georgia voters, your vote is powerful and will determine Biden's presidency!

    Federal elections were held for both of Georgia’s US Senate seats on November 3, 2020. Both of these races are going to "runoff elections", to be held on January 5, 2021, as no candidate received at least 50% of the vote. Democrats need to win both of these seats to have a 50/50 Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote.

    The two races are:

    • US Senate: Jon Ossoff (Democrat) versus David Perdue (Republican)

    • US Senate Special: Raphael Warnock (Democrat) versus Kelly Loeffler (Republican)

    Both US Senate races in Georgia are going to a runoff election on January 5th, 2021. Ballots are available since November 21. 

    💙 DA Global needs to raise funds for ads to support the GA Senate runoffs. We must turn out as many GA voters abroad as possible. Due to FEC rules, country committees cannot pay for the ads; only DA Global can. If you can give any amount to support this effort, that would be great! As proven, overseas voters are the margin of victory. Donate here: democratsabroad.org/georgia_runoff

    Georgia voters, here's what you need to do today!

    #1 Register to Vote by December 7 
    🗳️ If you didn't vote in the November election, you can still vote in the runoff! Go to votefromabroad.org and request an absentee ballot or register to vote. Ask for your ballot to be sent to you by email. First time voters who will be 18 years old by January 5, 2021 can also vote!

    #2 Check your ballot status
    🏴 If you voted in November, check your absentee ballot status at mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do

     
     
     

    #3 Ballots must be returned by post or courier service
    If your absentee ballot application has not been received, you will need to request a ballot at votefromabroad.org by Jan 5, 2021. Please don't wait—request and return your ballot immediately!

    Ballot return to Georgia is by postal mail only, so hurry. Because of the mail disruptions from COVID and Christmas, voters should mail back their ballots ASAP. Regular mail may work in November, but by December it will be too late and you should definitely use a courier. Ballots must arrive in Georgia by January 8, 2021. The US Consulate in Vienna will accept ballots for the Diplomatic Pouch until 4pm Monday, December 7.

    #4 Receive your ballot by email on November 21 and return it asap!
    ✍️ If you don't receive your official ballot, fill out and mail back a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) at https://www.votefromabroad.org/fwab/. Because the FWAB isn't set up for two Senate races, here's an example FWAB showing how to fill it out:

     
    FWAB Example:
     
     
    #5 Check it was received
    ☑️ Verify your ballot was accepted, and fix if needed. georgia.ballottrax.net/voter
     
    Questions?
    👉 We're here to help!
     
    You want to help get out the Georgia vote?
    Reach out to Georgia voters in your networks and make sure they are ready to vote. 
    • See more ways to help in these slides Help with the Georgia runoff election!
    • Phonebank in Georgia for both the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns. Find more information at info mobilize.us/ These PhoneBanking campaigns currently require a US-based mobile phone number—or similar VoIP service like Google Voice, Skype In, or Line2—to be able to signup for calling. We are working to locate other calling opportunities as well.

     

    PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH YOUR FRIENDS WHO VOTE IN GEORGIA.


  • published In November: Election Day and Beyond in News 2020-11-06 12:29:18 -0500

    In November: Election Day and Beyond

    In this Issue –

    Events:

    • DA Austria Election Night Party
    • Global Programming for Nov 3 & 4
    • "First Vote" Documentary Viewing
    • Solidarity Sundays #38

    Issues & Actions:

    • Getting Out the Vote in Vorarlberg
    • DA Austria in the News
    • Gearing up for 2020
      • Voter Protection Survey
      • Democrats Abroad's 2020 Impact

    Reviews:

    • Innsbruck Meet-up
    • Solidarity Sundays #37

    Member's Corner:

    • Art & Music Fridays
    • Lockdown: Vienna Nights in the time of Corona

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, November 11, 2020, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date in order to avoid the flood of emails that occurs in an election year. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    EVENTS:


    Election Night Party with a Twist!

    November 3, 9:30 PM – Online

    Global Programming: 24 Hours

    November 3, 8:00 PM (CST)

    View the Documentary "First Vote"

    Until November 10 

     

    Solidarity Sundays 38: Democracy - Let‘s Fix It!

    November 29, 4:00 PM 

     


    ISSUES & ACTIONS:

    Getting Out the Vote in Vorarlberg

    Democrats Abroad in Vorarlberg, Austria made themselves not only heard last week (through phone-banking and calling out from mountain tops) but also seen, with a 90 foot abroad banner exhorting compatriots in all lands to vote and vote right for Biden-Harris with Vengence! Have a look. 

     

    Election Night with a Twist! Schedule

    We’ll watch the news and so much more! Join us online for the DA Austria election night party. We’ve got a lot planned to keep us entertained and informed throughout the night. Here’s the full schedule–

     

    Gearing up for 2020

    This is the spot where we answer your frequently asked questions and make sure you, your family, friends, and colleagues have the voter information you need to be an enfranchised voter and make your vote count. Please share!

    Democrats Abroad Impact in 2020

    2020 has been a record breaking year for Democrats Abroad, as we have nearly tripled our outreach to Americans abroad and are on track to double the vote from abroad. The unique challenges presented by the global COVID pandemic and international mail disruption make these achievements particularly significant.

    Our nonpartisan voter support tool - VoteFromAbroad.org - has seen more than 766,680 unique visitors visit the site more than 1 million times - nearly 3x 2016 traffic.

     We estimate that in 2020 approximately 1.8 million eligible American Voters living abroad have received ballots (compared to 930,156 ballots received in 2016).

     50% of ballots from American Voters Abroad will be returned to battleground states in this year’s election!

    We are on target to DOUBLE 2016 voter turnout abroadThat means an additional 500,000 votes—and possibly 1 million!—sent from abroad. 

    This success was made possible through the 18,000 volunteers who generously provide their support, as well as the donations of over 4000 donors, who donated over $650k this year to Democrats Abroad (an all volunteer run organization with no external funding). 

    — Aaron Fishbone, DA Global Communications Director

    Voter Protection Survey

    Tell us about your voting experience so we can help make voting better for every American abroad. Let us know in this short survey. Your feedback and stories are vital for pushing election reform in Congress and in state legislatures.

    This election cycle Individual leaders and volunteers testified in two Federal cases on behalf of voters abroad this fall. The first case was resolved with a successful judgement against Postmaster DeJoy. DA currently runs a voter protection division that includes a director, 9 lawyer volunteers, and voter protection volunteers tasked with organizing and managing the escalation of cases from our country committees and voter help communications.

     

    DA Austria in the News  

    DA Austria has been in the news a lot recently in the run up to the election on Tuesday. Be sure to watch or tune in! Young DA Austria members will be asked about their feelings about the election on Ö3. Other spokespeople will appear early in the morning on Wednesday on Servus TV and Puls 4 and later in the afternoon on ORF 2 Vorabend, Ö1 Radio Journal Panorama, Puls 4 Pro & Contra will take place at 8:30pm and finally Runder Tisch at 10:25pm on ORF. 

     


    REVIEWS:

    Innsbruck Meet-up 

    A group of DA members living in Innsbruck get together at Glorious Bastards restaurant on Friday, October 9. Tyler reported, "It was a great success! Everyone had turned in their ballots already and we'll meet up again in December."

     

    Solidarity Sundays #37: Can We Trust the Polls?

    The 2016 election shocked most of us. How could Trump win the presidency when he was behind in the polls? On the eve of the most important election in our lifetime, this Solidarity Sundays webinar explored what went wrong in 2016 and asked — was the same thing happening again?

    Tanya Lolonis ran through how polls are made. Building them is partly art — figuring out what the electorate will look like, then selecting a sample of respondents who look like that. The other part — calculating the sampling error, the ± 3 or so attached to a poll’s results — is the science.

    In 2016, national polls got it right, correctly predicting Clinton’s popular vote win. Battleground state polls, though, were way off. Why? The samples they selected (the art part) were wrong. State polls underrepresented white non-college educated voters — a fatal error. That year, education was the best predictor of white voter preferences — those with college degrees went for Clinton, those without degrees preferred Trump. Pollsters build models based on how the electorate looked in the past. It’s why they miss tectonic shifts, like blue collar voters moving from Democrat to Republican under Reagan. In 2016, they missed the educational achievement shift.

    By the time you read this, we’ll know if pollsters got it right in 2020. We have great confidence they won’t make the same mistake twice. Still, a “pandemic election“ won’t make predictions easier. We are on the edge of our seat to learn what new error they make.

    What to do when polls menace your sleep? Two things help. First, don‘t trust individual polls. Be guided by a good meta-pollster, like Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com. They average polls to flatten the error fluctuations, and weight the most reliable polls so you don’t have to.

    Second, do something within your control. Michael Wagner, DA Austria’s Phonebanking Coordinator, shared the impact volunteers have had in turning out the expat vote. In October alone, 18 phonebankers made 4,800 calls out of Austria to the world. Two weeks before election day, nearly 60,000 members globally told 700 phonebankers they had voted.

    Forecasting the future is difficult; helping to shape it is potent.

     


    MEMBER'S CORNER

     

    Art & Music Fridays

    An exhibit and concert series by DA Austria member Kathleen Amos Eichorn in Sulz im Wienerwald. Individual, hour-long seatings available from 7-10pm following Covid regulations. Please email [email protected] to confirm upcoming dates and make a reservation.

     

    Lockdown: Vienna Nights in the Time of Corona

    Dear all, I'm producing a coffee table book of the photographs I took in Vienna at night during LOCKDOWN, and I am hosting a crowdfunding site with REWARDS for contributions. You can view the site at  wemakeit.com and search Danny LoCascio. 

    Or click this link LOCKDOWN: Vienna Nights in the time of Corona  

    – Danny LoCasio

     



    Thanks for reading the November newsletter! 

     

     

     

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  • published PROMOTIONAL 20% OFF DHL BALLOT RETURN RATE! in News 2020-10-08 06:03:24 -0400

    PROMOTIONAL 20% OFF DHL BALLOT RETURN RATE!

    Attention all US voters in Austria! 

    PROMOTIONAL 20% OFF DHL BALLOT RETURN RATE!

    For those of you who have not yet voted, Metropole English language magazine and Democrats Abroad Austria are happy to announce a reduced rate for ballot returns with DHL!

    You can now return your ballot with DHL for a flat rate of EUR 24,77 when dropped off at a DHL Servicepoint. Promo code: USA20

    Via online order, your ballot can also be picked up by DHL for a flat rate of EUR 39,83 (including pick up). Promo code: USACLICK20

    Please note: your ballots will be delivered between 1 to 5 days after handover to DHL Express.

     


  • published In October — in News 2020-10-06 08:24:33 -0400

    In October —

    In this Issue –

    Events:

    • Young Dems Pub Night
    • Presidential Progressive Pizza
    • Vice Presidential Debate Watch Party
    • Innsbruck Afterwork Meet-Up
    • Last Call! Voter Help Table
    • Presidential Debate Watch Party (TBD)
    • Presidential Debate Watch Party (TBD)
    • Solidarity Sundays #37

    Issues & Actions:

    • Gearing up for 2020: Voting & Returning Your Ballot — FAQ's
      • Get In-Person Voting Help
      • Get Online Voting Help
      • Should I Submit a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot?
      • How Should I Return My Ballot?
      • Help! Am I Being Disenfranchised?

    Reviews:

    • Candlelight Vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    • Solidarity Sundays #36:  Dismantling Structural Racism Workshop

    Member's Corner:

    • Step Up for Democracy
    • Lockdown: Vienna Nights in the time of Corona
    • Opinion: Setting the Stage to Steal the 2020 Elections.

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date in order to avoid the flood of emails that occurs in an election year. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    EVENTS:

    Presidential Progressive Pizza — Let's Save the Planet!

    October 6, 7:00 PM – Online

    Young Dems Pub Night

    October 6, 7:30 PM — In person

    Last Call! Voter Registration & Ballot Help

    October 12, 5:00 PM — In person

     

    Vice Presidential Debate Watch Party

    October 8, 7:00 PM — Online

    Innsbruck Afterwork Meet Up

    October 9, 6:00 PM — In person

    Presidential Debate Watch Party

    October 16, 7:00 PM — Online

     

     

    Presidential Debate Watch Party

    October 23, 7:00 PM — Online

     

    Solidarity Sundays #37: Can We Trust the Polls?

    October 25, 4:00 PM — Online

     


    ISSUES & ACTIONS:

    Gearing up for 2020

    This is the spot where we answer your frequently asked questions and make sure you, your family, friends, and colleagues have the voter information you need to be an enfranchised voter and make your vote count. Please share!

     

    Americans living overseas must request their ballot in every calendar year they want to vote — yes, even if it’s normally sent to you automatically. Go to Vote From Abroad and request your ballot to be sent to you by email! Don’t procrastinate — you should have received your ballot by email on September 19. The time to request is now! 

    When you receive your ballot be sure to immediately vote it and return it by the fastest method your state allows — help election officials at home by getting your ballot in early and flattening the curve. 

     

     

    Where can I get in-person help?

    Come to our LAST Voter Help Table in Vienna! 

    We’ve been helping Americans to register to vote, request their ballot, fax their ballot back, and fill out their Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot at farmers markets and other venues during the summer and fall. OUR LAST IN-PERSON VOTER HELP TABLE IS OCTOBER 12!  Please be sure to stop by and say hello to our fantastic volunteers and make sure you are ready for November’s election. Bring a friend! 

     

    Where can I get online help?

    Most days of the week, volunteers at the Global Voter Help Desk are ready to answer your questions in a one-on-one session. Just go to democratsabroad.org/global_voter_assistance.

     

    Should I submit a Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot (FWAB)?

    If you haven't received your ballot yet, you should send a back-up emergency ballot (FWAB) immediately! You must return you're ballot the same way you would your official ballot. 

    This year, like no other, the fate of your ballot depends on which state you vote in. Currently* AR, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT**, WI, will only allow voters to return their ballot by postal mail/courier. All US Citizens who vote in one of these states should immediately fill out and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It’s not the year to put your ballot in jeopardy! 

    Even if you sent in a FWAB you can still send the regular ballot if and when you receive it. “If they both arrive before the deadline — which for most states is Election Day — the election office will count only the official ballot, so there’s no need to worry your vote will be double-counted or disqualified.” (Are You an American Voting From Abroad? Here’s How to Do It, NYT August 28, 2020). After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.

    Get more information on how to submit your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.

    * Please check the State Voting Guide at votefromabroad.org for up to date information for your state.

    ** Voters in Vermont need to check with their local election official.

     

    Where’s my ballot?   

    You should have received your ballot in your inbox on or before September 19 (check your spam folder).

    If you didn’t request to receive your ballot by email, you can still do so. Just resubmit your FPCA form or go online to your state’s voter status website — google “Am I registered” and your state. Some states ask for an ID or a driver’s license with the online form. In this case contact your local election official directly. You can find yours under “Find your election office” at votefromabroad.org.

     

    How should I return my ballot?

    You should return your ballot as soon as you receive it in the fastest way which your state allows. 

    If you can return your ballot by email, online, or by fax, use this method! 

    • States that accept email and online ballot returns are: AL, AZ, CO, DC, DE, HI, IA, IN, KS, MA, ME, MS, MT, MO, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, RI, OR, SC, UT, *VT, WA, WV
    • States that accept ballot returns by FAX are: AK, CA, FL, LA, OK. Most Austrian post offices have a Fax machine. Or, read the instructions on how to do it without a fax machine. With both methods, make sure the pages you are sending are reduced 94% in order to fit the shorter US paper size.

    States that only accept postal mail ballot returns (be sure to also immediately send an FWAB) are: AR, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, *VT, WI

    If you can only return your ballot by postal mail you have a couple of different options:

    1. Courier Service: The "mail only" ballot return states have confirmed to Democrats Abroad, in writing, that they will accept overseas ballots that are sent in by courier (Fedex, DHL, etc). All of the states indicated that a date stamp isn't needed if the Ballot/FWAB arrives by close of polls on Election Day, November 3.  A date stamp is only necessary in those states that have a "postmarked by election day" deadline and accept ballots that are received in a specific period after Election Day. If a ballot for one of those states is received after Election Day, then there must be something to prove it was placed in the mail by Election Day. The states that require a date stamp for ballots that arrive after Election Day are: GA, IL, KY, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TX, and VA.
    2. Diplomatic Pouch: You may drop off your ballot in person at U.S. Consulate Vienna at Parkring 12A (Marriott Hotel building), weekdays from 08:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Ballots sent by Diplomatic Pouch must be placed in a postage-paid envelope for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility. It can take up to three weeks for mail sent by Diplomatic Pouch to reach your local election office. Therefore, U.S. Consulate Vienna will accept ballots until October 7.
    3. Priority mail with the Austrian Post: The Austrian post office updates its International postal service on a daily basis which means it could currently be unreliable. You can check the current status here. Use the envelope template provided with your ballot, but be sure to add postage where it says “no postage required.” Expect up to a 4 week delivery time. NOTE: In order that the envelope is not returned to you by the Austrian post, put an X in ballpoint pen across the return address in such a way that it is still legible to the local election official in the US.

     

    Help! Am I being disenfranchised?

    If you have not received your ballot and have perhaps been stonewalled by your local election office, it's a good idea to go to the voter protection expert group in Democrats Abroad. Please contact them at [email protected] with an explanation of the issue and supporting documentation and communications you've had with your LEO. Please contact me at [email protected] if you're unsure. 

     

     


    REVIEWS:

     

    Candlelight Vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Hours after Austria awoke to the news of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sixty Americans gathered before the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. A fierce wind made it hard to keep candles alight, and mask-wearing mourners observed social distance. Mourners for the liberal Supreme Court Justice and feminist lodestar greeted one another with expressions of grief.

    The devastation was amplified because America is in the middle of an election. Early voting is underway in some places – it began the day Ginsburg passed – making November 3 the end of the election. As the vigil started, President Trump announced he would nominate a conservative to succeed her. His rush to fill the seat will have profound consequences. The Supreme Court has operated as a 5-4 conservative majority for over a decade; now the bare majority will be a super majority.

    Democrats Abroad Austria Chair, Jennifer Stepper-Rakow, spoke of Ginsburg’s career and what the Justice meant to Democrats. She did not get far before people cut in — can I still register to vote? How do I send my ballot home if the post service isn’t reliable? Does the consulate take ballots? I haven’t gotten my ballot, when can I expect it? In an instant, the vigil for the equal rights champion became a political organizing event.

    DA Austria’s Chair, Juan Cerda, gave an impassioned speech asking mourners to “text five friends — now — be sure they’re voting and know how.“ We’re in the middle of a pandemic, a presidential election and a supreme court fight, he reminded the gathering. “Everything is on the line”.

    And then a clear voice broke through. Raina Saul-Ganev began “Amazing Grace.” The crowd slowly joined in, and the organizing rally became a vigil once again. As the last note hung in the air, a nearby church rang its bells. 

     

    Solidarity Sundays #36:  Dismantling Structural Racism Workshop

    “I can‘t tell you what your work is in this movement, but I … know that determining our roles and opportunities is something that needs to happen in conversation and community with others.“

    Sherri Spelic, Vienna-based author and educator, introduced Solidarity Sundays to a method of approaching systemic racism and how we live it:  intimate and reflective conversation.  

    Discussing emotional issues is never easy. Discussing racism is particularly tricky. Speaking honestly makes us apprehensive, uncomfortable, and anxious. Let‘s face it, no one wants to be wrong. Ms. Spelic made talking easier by posing questions, then stepping back. In small break-out groups, people jumped into animated, personal, and meaningful conversations on racism.

    The news is filled with information to process:  police brutality and Covid’s disproportionate impact on communities of Colour among the most important. With so much to fix, where to begin? Ms. Spelic‘s observation:  admitting our own feelings on racism is a potent starting point. Working from self-knowledge, she offered, creates openings to think, to listen and to be a part of anti-racist solutions.

    Solidarity Sundays recognizes that in order to foster an equitable and inclusive community, it is necessary to have uncomfortable conversations on topics like race. We are grateful for Sherri Spelic‘s help in facilitating these valuable discussions.

    Sherri Spelic shared this powerful poem by Clint Smith III. We think you might want to hear him tell it:  [“How to raise a black son in America”] (https://youtu.be/boGt69rR7X8)

     


    MEMBER'S CORNER

    Step Up for Democracy

    Our DA Austria Communications Chair Sophie just released an app that allows you to fundraise and exercise in one! Using the new app Step Up for Democracy you can raise money for democratic causes each time you hit your daily step goal! Available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

    – Sophie Spiegelberger 

     

    Lockdown: Vienna Nights in the Time of Corona

    Dear all, I'm producing a coffee table book of the photographs I took in Vienna at night during LOCKDOWN, and I am hosting a crowdfunding site with REWARDS for contributions. You can view the site at  wemakeit.com and search Danny LoCascio. 

    Or click this link LOCKDOWN: Vienna Nights in the time of Corona  

    – Danny LoCasio

     

    Opinion

    Voters beware – Trump and the Republican Party have been setting the stage to steal the 2020 elections.

    If you are hard pressed to believe that the 2020 elections cannot be stolen, keep in mind that Trump wants to stay in power to avoid criminal charges for many of his transgressions for which there is ample public evidence. For that purpose, I would like to invite you to think about the following:

    Since the impeachment, Trump and the Republicans have been working to find all kinds of ways to swing the population’s feelings to get behind Trump, painting him as a ‘victim of false accusations’ by the Democrats and the media. Trump himself has constantly used the term ‘witch hunt’ when evidence of his multidimensional violation of laws, ethics, facts, etc. surface and it is made public.  The Republican Senate violated every element of honesty, decency, and their elected responsibilities by their actions when the articles of impeachment reached them widely demonstrated by Republican House and Senate elected officials. Trump knows he has to stay in office for another 4 years to avoid criminal charges.

    — Patricia Godoy-Kain

    READ MORE


    Thanks for reading the October newsletter! 


  • Opinion: Setting the Stage to Steal the 2020 Elections

    By Patricia Godoy-Kain

    If you are hard pressed to believe that the 2020 elections cannot be stolen, keep in mind that Trump wants to stay in power to avoid criminal charges for many of his transgressions for which there is ample public evidence. For that purpose, I would like to invite you to think about the following:

    Since the impeachment, Trump and the Republicans have been working to find all kinds of ways to swing the population’s feelings to get behind Trump, painting him as a ‘victim of false accusations’ by the Democrats and the media. Trump himself has constantly used the term ‘witch hunt’ when evidence of his multidimensional violation of laws, ethics, facts, etc. surface and it is made public.  The Republican Senate violated every element of honesty, decency, and their elected responsibilities by their actions when the articles of impeachment reached them widely demonstrated by Republican House and Senate elected officials. Trump knows he has to stay in office for another 4 years to avoid criminal charges.

     

    Read more

  • How To Fax Your Ballot Back Without A Fax Machine

    Use_DoD_Fax_Service.png
     
    Thanks to DA Germany for putting together this information! 
     
    Some states require that ballots must be returned by regular mail or fax. If you do not have access to a fax machine, you can use the DoD FAX SERVICE.
     
    • What is the DoD Fax Service? 
    If you need to send your election materials to your election official by fax but do not have access to a fax machine you can email them to [email protected] and FVAP will fax your election materials for you. This service is fax only. If your State accepts your election materials by email, you should email them directly to your election official. FVAP will not transmit email to email transactions.
    • Does it matter what size paper I use?
      No. Any paper size is acceptable as long the information is legible. 
      Correction: Yes, create US letter-sized PDFs to ensure the ballot information all fits on the fax sheet print out.
    • You will need to print and fill out this Voter Transmission Cover Sheet-In Bound From Voters. Voters should use this fax transmission cover sheet as a cover sheet when faxing or emailing election materials back to their local election office.
     
    If your forms can be emailed, DO NOT USE [email protected] Email them directly to your election official. Email addresses for your election official can be found at FVAP.gov.