October 06, 2020

In October —

In this Issue –


  • 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?


  • 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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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



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. 





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)



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



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


Thanks for reading the October newsletter!