In May's Issue:
- 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
- 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!
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
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.
— 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
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