May 30, 2021

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