December 05, 2017

December Newsletter

In this Issue–


Save the Date

  • Meet-Up Wednesday, January 24th. Details TBA

Issues & Actions

  • A Meet-Up for the Mature Crowd
  • January Registration Drive
  • Born Abroad Americans – No Guarantee to Vote


  • DAA Talks with Laura Rockwood & Nadja Schmidt
  • Sol Sun #10
  • DAA Talks with Tom Hicks

On the Social Side

  • Thanksgiving
  • Graz Member Xmas Meet Up


Young Dems Christmas Punsch

As always, Democrats Abroad will be getting together for our annual Christmas "Punsch" at the romantic Christkindlmarkt at Spittelberg. To celebrate "Nikolo" & each other. We'll be in the Spittelberggasse at the first "Punsch" stand on the left hand side (if you are coming from Burggasse) – just after the roasted almonds! Please call Ashley Arreola if you have trouble finding us as it will be crowded +436503749481

We look forward to seeing everyone one last time this year. All are welcome! :-)


WHEN: December 06, 2017 at 7pm - 9pm
WHERE: Spittelberggasse Weihnachtsmarkt. Spittelberggasse 15, Vienna 1070
CONTACT: Ashley Arreola · [email protected] · +436503749481

Issues & Actions

A Meet-Up for the Mature Crowd

DAA Member John Cahill got an overwhelmingly positive response when he posted the following on Facebook in the DA Austria Group, “While I believe that the Young Democrats Meet-Ups are a splendid idea for keeping young people involved, I really miss the open meetings in which the more mature(?) members participated. So, I am asking: Are there others, aged 50 and older like me, who would welcome periodic informal meet-ups at which we could have a drink or two, share our concerns and vent our spleen about the state of American politics? Nothing formal, no agenda or minutes or other such annoyances.” The first Meet-Up will take place on Wednesday, January 24th. Details to be announced in the January newsletter, on Facebook, and on our website. Thanks for the great initiative John!


Watch this space! We’ll be starting off 2018 with a January Registration Drive to make sure that every US citizen in Austria has registered to vote for the 2018 midterms. Keep an eye out for times and locations and make sure to come and bring your friends.

Also, If you are interested in becoming DA Austria’s Get-Out-the-Vote Coordinator or are willing to help out for a couple of hours, contact Jennifer at [email protected]. DA Austria will be coordinating with the global GOTV Team to work on GOTV plans for 2018, pool resources, set up trainings and discuss the best ways to provide voting information to overseas voters, both DA and non-DA members. For more information on phonebanking and other GOTV efforts go to

Born Abroad American and Can't Vote?

It’s true! Federal laws enfranchising military and overseas voters do not automatically extend voting rights to US citizens born overseas who have reached voting age without having resided in the US. The voting laws of too many states also lack provisions guaranteeing these Americans the right to vote. This oversight perpetrates a grave injustice on those who are otherwise recognized as citizens (including for federal tax purposes).

Do you know about the Uniform Law Commission’s Military and Overseas Voters Act?

In 2010 the Uniform Law Commission drafted the Military and Overseas Voters Act. The law simplifies the process of absentee voting for United States military and overseas civilians by making the process more uniform, convenient, secure, and efficient. The Act covers all military personnel and their dependents, as well as US citizens residing outside the United States who are unable to vote in person. This includes US citizens born overseas who have reached voting age without having the opportunity to reside in the United States. The Act applies to all state-wide and local elections, as well as to all federal elections, both including primary and general, as well as special run-off elections.

For more information about this model act, go to the Uniform Law Commission’s website,, and search for Military and Overseas Voters Act.

Democrats Abroad can help!

Democrats Abroad would like to support states that have not as yet enacted the ULC’s Military and Overseas Voters Act. Please contact us at MOVA for more information and to discuss an advocacy plan.


DAA Talks with Laura Rockwood and Nadja Schmidt

U.S. Nuclear Policy under the Trump Administration

On November 16th at the Republikanischer Club, DA Austria were proud to host an event featuring Laura Rockwood, executive director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation (VCDNP), and Nadja Schmidt, executive director of ICAN Austria.

Ms. Rockwood, who retired in 2013 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the Section Head for Non-Proliferation and Policy Making in the Office of Legal Affairs, was at the IAEA in 2005 when it won a Nobel Peace Prize for its “efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way”.

Speaking in her personal capacity, Ms. Rockwood presented an in-depth look at nuclear policy issues in the U.S. under the Trump administration. Ms. Rockwood discussed the benefits to international security of the Iran nuclear deal, disagreeing with the critical assessments of the White House. She also expressed concern about the recent nuclear weapons and missile tests performed by North Korea, and the posture of the Trump administration in relation to North Korea.

Ms. Schmidt’s organization, ICAN Austria, is an affiliate of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, for “its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian 

consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”. Ms. Schmidt discussed her organization, how the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty came about, and what steps remain to be taken, in particular by the United States. She pointed out the important role played by the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons conferences in changing the conversation about nuclear weapons, and allowing for the perspectives of the non-nuclear weapon states to be heard.

Solidarity Sundays Looked at the News and How to Fake It

On Sunday, November 26th, Marcy Fowler gave Solidarity Sunday attendees a deep look at misinformation and disinformation. She showed us how to spot it – and how to help people we know think critically about what they find online and on TV. Marcy’s top insights:

  • There are different kinds of propaganda: White propaganda is somewhat accurate information but biased, incomplete or in a misleading context. Example: social media trolls playing up existing racial divisions to deepen those divisions.
  • With Black propaganda, both the source and information are false. Example: Bill O’Reilly stating that Black Lives Matter is „Killing Americans“.
  • Not all fake news is propaganda: misinformation is sloppiness, disinformation is deliberate.

We learned how to apply the classic Who, What, When, Where, and Why questions both to the source and to the content to unpack news items. Combating fake news takes time and effort, but the more we do so, the more we help our community and democracy.

Join our next Solidarity Sunday where we take aim at the November midterm elections and learn how each of us can help Get Out The Vote, and how to organize a group for change.

–Tanya Lolonis

DAA Talks with Tom Hicks

Democrats Abroad Austria was honored to host a discussion with U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Thomas Hicks. Mr. Hicks briefly introduced his organization, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the law that created the EAC, the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Under HAVA, overseas absentee ballots must be tabulated separately from domestic absentee ballots; it is the EAC that oversees the process of data collection from the states on the number of ballots sent, received, counted and rejected. Mr. Hicks discussed the implications of the January 6th, 2017 Department of Homeland Security decision to designate election systems as critical infrastructure (later reaffirmed by DHS Secretary Kelly, now White House Chief of Staff), and highlighted some of the EAC activities in standard setting and certification for U.S. voting machines.

Of particular interest to the DA Austria audience, Mr. Hicks discussed the activities of his organization in working to facilitate the right to vote for U.S. citizens abroad. DAA greatly appreciates the work of Mr. Hicks and the EAC, and it echos Democrats Abroad’s calls for Congress to enhance its support for the organization, including fully funding the EAC and HAVA and by filling all commissioner positions.
–Marcy Fowler, Treasurer


“U.S. Election Systems as Critical Infrastructure”, U.S. Election Assistance Commission,

“Leave Behind Packs: Election Assistance Commission”, Democrats Abroad Spring 2017 Door Knock Campaign, 16-17 May 2017,

On the Social Side...

Members enjoying Thanksgiving with Juan Cerda (center left),  DAA LGBT Caucus, and Marcy Fowler (center right), DAA Treasurer.

Thanksgiving Dinner

On November 23, DA Austria members, family, and friends gathered for a sold out Thanksgiving dinner at Restaurant Sperl in Vienna’s 4th district. The room was packed with democrats of every age – from families, to Young Dems, to those of an older variety – who feasted on a traditional dinner and a splendid offering of homemade pies brought by volunteers. DAA was also pleased to welcome former International and DAA Chair Katie Solon, who came from Germany, and former EMEA Regional Chair Merrill Oates, who drove from Budapest to join us.

There were many new faces and it was wonderful to have the chance to talk with people about their interests and concerns. Despite the horrifying actions of our current President and Congress, DAA members found something to be thankful for.
– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

Graz Member Xmas Meet-Up

On Friday, December 1st we met with fellow Dems (and a few little Dems-to-be) on Franziskanerplatz in Graz for some Glühwein and Kinderpunsch. It was a beautiful evening and a great chance to catch up on the latest political scandals. Both international news, such as the in-court poising of war criminal Slobodan Praljakin at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia in the Hague, as well as national news, such the revelation about the Michael Flynn guilty plea, which happened as we were meeting, were hotly discussed news topics over the even hotter Glühwein. Of course, some 

fun had to be had as well with some chocolate pretzel sharing, which was especially appreciated by our little Dems-to-be.

We are looking forward to planning more events in 2018. If you have ideas or requests for topics/events/venues feel free to contact Alma ([email protected]) or Caitlin ([email protected]).

All Graz/Styria members are encouraged to join the Democrats Abroad in Graz Facebook group [].

– Caitlin Ahern, Database Manager & Alma Stankovic


An iconic xmas gift for 2017. Get one for all the women you know who joined in the Women's March and persist! Just €5 (not including shipping).

Contact Jennifer at [email protected] to place your order. Limited quantities available.