February 05, 2018

February Newsletter

DA members from Prague and Vienna at the March to the Ballot Box demonstration at Stephansplatz, Vienna  on January 21. (photo: Andreas Beckman)

In This Issue:


  • Experienced Democrats
  • Young Dems
  • SolSun #12

Issues & Actions

  • AGM Announcement
  • Unity Reform Commission Update
  • Black History Month
  • Understanding Special Elections
  • Election Calendar
  • Help us Get Out the Vote!
  • DA's global teams are growing and they need our help!


  • Women’s March Anniversary
  • Solidarity Sundays Vienna #11



The Inaugural Experienced Democrats Meet-Up was such a resounding success that we have decided to make it a regular event. We are looking forward to seeing even more of you experienced Democrats!


The mid-terms are approaching, and we need to make sure that all of our American friends and family in Austria are registered to vote. In February we'll be killing two birds with one stone with a voter registration pub night at our favorite American hang out. We look forward to seeing you! :-)


Join us to learn more about how you can make an impact your way in this year's midterm elections. We need your help to register other American's living abroad and to make sure they vote. Come and learn how easy it is to register to vote from abroad and discover the creative ways of getting other Americans to do the same.

We will be writing postcards to folks back home and in Austria reminding them to register to vote, phone-banking to other Democrats, and some of our members are even hosting brunches in their homes for their friends and making them sign up to register to vote on the spot.

We will also have a recap of the Democrats Abroad EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Regional meeting on strategies and projects that are being done around the world that we can implement here in Austria.

Finally, we will also be celebrating our one year anniversary of Sunday Solidarity in Vienna, join us for cake and coffee!! 


At May 26th's Solidarity Sunday, we'll be doing a group Phone-banking Sprint, complete with beer and pizza.


Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization over the past fifteen years. 


You are cordially invited to the Democrats Abroad Austria 2018 Annual General Meeting.

We'll present brief reports on 2017, discuss plans for 2018, and conduct a vote on amendments to the DAA Bylaws. Along with our Caucus and grassroots leaders, we’ll show a presentation of 2017’s activities that illustrate how DA Austria continues to grow and strengthen almost 15 years after DAA's founding.

Refreshments will be served during the meeting and there will be a no-host dinner afterwards for everyone who would like to join. Please RSVP for the meeting here and the dinner here.

All Democrat Abroad Austria  members are welcome. Any American over 18 (by the next federal election) and residing in Austria may also join at the meeting.

Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization over the past fifteen years. In 2018, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and the vote of all our members. We’ve got an important midterm coming up in November and we are relying on your help to make it a blue wave! Remember, Americans living overseas must request their ballot each calendar year. Do it here at Vote From Abroad.

I look forward to seeing you at our AGM!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DA Austria, Chair

  • When: Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.
  • Where: SPÖ Neubau, Lindengasse 64, 1070 Vienna
  • RSVP: Please pre-register for the meeting by contacting database manager Caitlin Ahern by email or by calling 0650-312-5572. Include your name, Austrian address, phone number and US voting state in your email to her so that your record stays current. This will help us start the meeting on time and ensure that we have an accurate vote count. We encourage all members to pre-register, even if you're uncertain that you can make it, in order to minimise long waiting lines.

Click below for more information about the Agenda, copies of the current and Amended Bylaws, Voting and Proxies, and directions to the AGM.


Democrats Abroad on the Unity Reform Commission ReporT

DA leaders have written a piece on the DA and the URC Report – 

"Democrats Abroad’s Executive Committee and its DNC Delegates have endorsed a series of proposals from the party’s Unity Reform Commission, in a report delivered to the DNC at the end of 2017.

The Unity Reform Commission (URC) was created at the 2016 Democratic National Convention to address concerns regarding the presidential primary process, and to ensure that this process is accessible, transparent and inclusive.

Dems Abroad leaders were able to support these recommendations in part because they so closely reflected what Democrats Abroad adopted in its 2016 Global Presidential Primary and Delegate Selection Plan.

Speaking to Democrats Abroad in Paris and Toronto, URC Vice Chair Larry Cohen has praised the organization’s high levels of openness, inclusion, and transparency in its 2016 global primary, pointing out that other state parties could learn much from their example."

Click on the following link to read it in it's entirety: https://www.democratsabroad.org/da_on_urc_report


Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” started by the noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.

It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, as well as in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in October.

This year, Black History Month is more important than ever. We have an overtly racist, sexist, homophobic government that wants to take America back to a time that never existed. Black history is American history, not a footnote.



Extract from Flippable

"Special elections happen when a lawmaker dies, resigns, or gets a new job in the government. They occur all year round, every year. With low levels of funding and low voter turnout, you might think these elections are no big deal—but they’re actually hugely important.

That’s because:

  • Special elections are anyone’s game. Most voters don’t show up at the polls for them, so the normal rules don’t apply. The party that’s paying the most attention has the best chance of winning.
  • There are dozens of special elections every year—and each one gives us an opportunity to flip or defend a seat. Since November 2016, Dems have won more than 30 special elections.
  • By getting out the vote for these low-profile races, Dems can make quiet progress nationwide.

We don’t have to wait for the next election cycle to start making a difference."


Extract from Tiny Actions

Q: Elections aren’t until November. Why request your ballot in January?

It’s really not too early!

  • Sending in your ballot request now will allow you to vote in primaries
  • Your Local Board of Elections will get busier as we get closer to elections. If things are delayed - or if something goes wrong - sending in your ballot request now will ensure there’s time to address any issues.
  • Do it now so you don’t have to worry about it later!



(photo: Christine Fahrngruber)

Arizona – February 27 – Special Primary Election Congressional District 8

  • Register by January 29
  • Request ballot by February 16

Texas – March 6 – State Primary

  • Register by February 5
  • Request ballot by February 23

Pennsylvania – March 13 – Special Election Congressional District 18

  • Register by February 12
  • Request ballot by March 12

Illinois – March 20 – Primary

  • Register by February 18
  • Request ballot by February 18



Becky Ellis is DAA's new GOTV Coordinator

As few as 5% of eligible overseas voters vote in midterm elections. From now through November, Democrats Abroad Austria will be making it as easy as possible for fellow expats to cast their ballots. You can help!

  • Registering voters We'll be registering voters at events throughout the city. Spend an hour or two at a registration table helping people fill out their registrations and ballot requests.
  • Phonebanking Call registered Democrats Abroad members and remind them to register and request their ballot (and send it in!). Calls are made online through CallHub, at no cost to you. You can call from the comfort of your couch or join one of our Phonebanking Sprints, where we gather with pizza and drinks and call as many voters as we can together.

Contact Democrats Abroad Austria's GOTV Coordinator, Becky Ellis, at [email protected] to find out more, and join us at February's Solidarity Sunday to learn about other ways you can help GOTV by doing whatever you love to do most -- whether it's biking, baking or brunching!

For more information on phonebanking and online training materials, click here.

– Becky Ellis, DA Austria, GOTV Coordinator


March to the Ballot Box Demonstration in front of Stephansplatz, Vienna (photos top and bottom: Lee Rubin-Jacober)


It was a damp and dreary day, but even the miserable weather couldn’t dissuade more than 70 dedicated DAA members, friends, and onlookers from turning out for our “March to the Ballot Box” in Vienna on January 21.

Margaret Carter, Faith Hall-Herbold, and Laura Holgate (l to r) 

The rally was part of a larger organization of marches, demonstrations, and events that took place over the weekend of Jan 20-21 under the headline “Power to the Polls.” Globally, more than 100 marches over 38 countries took place – not including those in the US where hundreds of thousands marched in LA, NYC, and cities between. Women’s March Global organized a live stream that broadcast women from Uganda to Buenos Aires and Wellington to Frankfurt rising up and speaking out. 

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DA Austria, Chair




We're back from holidays and focused on November's midterms — elections that can potentially turn the House blue. With more close elections than at any time in modern history, overseas votes are poised to make a critical difference. That’s the kind of role our activists like.

Sunday’s meet-up focused on registering more Americans in Austria than ever. DAA’s new Get Out The Vote coordinator, Becky Ellis, laid out goals and resources for the nine months ahead, and ran the Solidarity crew through the nuts and bolts of registering overseas voters.

–Tanya Lolonis, Juan Cerda, and Antje Lewis, Solidarity Sundays Coordinators


Solidarity Sundays gathered to discuss 2018 GOTV plans


Becky Ellis, DAA’s new Get Out The Vote coordinator, prepared a quiz to test how much the Solidarity Sundays Vienna crew knows about the most important issue we deal with — voting from abroad. At the latest meet-up, we were a bit stumped. See your knowledge about overseas voting — answers below.

  1. How many Americans are living abroad and eligible to vote in the November election?
  2. If Americans living abroad formed their own state, how would it’s population rank?
  3. What percent of eligible overseas citizens voted in the 2014 elections?
  4. What percent of overseas voters who requested a ballot voted in 2014, the last Mid-Term election?
  5. How often do you have to submit a new overseas voter registration?
  6. What is the most common reason overseas voters give for not voting?
  7. What is the second most common reason given for not voting?
  8. Which five countries have the largest number of eligible citizen voters?
  9. How many Senate seats are up for reelection in 2018?
  10. How many of those seats are Democratic seats?
  11. Which state has the earliest registration deadline for primary voters?


DA's global teams are growing and they need our help!

  • Fundraising – The fundraising team is looking for volunteers who can help in outreach to current sponsors and potential donors as well as with program planning and execution. Contact: [email protected] for more information.
  • IT - The IT team is looking for volunteers interested in diving deep into membership database work, helping with common IT help desk problems, and even helping out with javascript issues. Contact: [email protected] for more information.
  • Volunteers – join the Global Volunteer team and help match our volunteers to the many opportunities available for them. Contact: [email protected] for more information.

Skill sets for all positions:

  • Ability to use Excel OR Google Sheets (required)
  • Ability to work independently with a remote/virtual team (required)
  • Comfortable working online via a variety of communications channels – Slack, Skype, etc (required)
  • Comfortable speaking on the phone (desired)