October 02, 2019

October Newsletter

Gearing up for 2020 – 

Despite how seamless and effortless we all would like the voting process to be, the fact is that it isn’t. People forget to change their party affiliation in time to vote in closed primaries, to register every calendar year, and to actually mail in their registration form and/or ballot. Many Americans don’t even know they actually can vote when living abroad!

Democrats Abroad and Vote from Abroad are of course here to help all Americans through the process and advocate for voters when there are snags in the system.

There is a lot of preparation work to do as we gear up for 2020 and we’re already getting started. We’re signing up volunteers for the vital work of registering and reminding people here and at home to register and vote; we’re developing our communications, press and social media teams to provide critical services; and we’re signing up call hub volunteers so we can hit the phones in January. All, of course, while we’re still providing the fun and interesting monthly events that our members have come to expect from DA Austria.

If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. As Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe (podcast: Campaign HQ) said on Pod Save America (Whistle While You Spy, 9.19.19), “We better prepare for an epic battle.” DA needs to stand united to work together to register Americans at home and living abroad, and to get out the vote.

Our members are the margin for victory in many elections and we’ve got a democracy to take back. We hope you’ll be a part! DAAVolunteer

– DA Austria Executive Committee

photo: Seymann - Die Weinhandwerkerei im Pulkautal

In This Issue –


  • Global Black Caucus Book Club VIII
  • Experienced Dems
  • Debate Watch Party IV
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • Thanksgiving

Issues & Actions:

  • DAA Executive Committee Changes
  • Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC
  • Gearing up for 2020
    • Voter Registration Drive
    • Now is the Time
    • It’s All About Turnout!


  • GOTV/Membership Drive @ David Sedaris
  • September’s Watch Party
  • Solidarity Sundays on Gerrymandering

Members Corner:

  • Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Online Influence: Lessons from Eastern Europe



GBC Book Club VIII


Come join us at the next book club where we will finally discuss the New York Timesbest seller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady Michelle Obama. We will also be discussing the next three books we will read! We hope to see you Friday, October 4th at 7pm. Location will be given with your RSVP.

– Faith Hall-Herbold, DAA Global Black Caucus Coordinator

When: October 4, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Location will be given with your RSVP, 1080 Vienna

RSVP: Black Caucus Book Club


Experienced Dems

Join us at the monthly meeting of Experienced Democrats. All are welcome!

When: October 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Cafe Museum, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Experienced Dems


Debate Watch Party

Winnowing is the word. The next Debate Watch Party will again be at Beaver Brewing Company at 7pm on October 16th. We look forward to seeing you there for another round of democratic drinks, debate and discussion!

When: October 16, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Beaver Brewing Company, 1090 Vienna

RSVP: Debate Watch Party


Sol Sun 27: High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Google searches for "impeachment" are skyrocketing as scandals pile up around the White House. Join Solidarity Sundays for a look at the ins and outs of the process to charge, try and remove public officials for misconduct.

And if it's not a topic anymore, we'll be celebrating.

When: October 27, 2019, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Where: Amerlinghaus, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: Sol Sun #26


A Feast With All The Fixings

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28th at 7PM, we invite our Democratic friends and families to our annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

We have made reservations for 60 at Melker Stiftskeller in the 1st district. We’ll have a large private room all to ourselves under the arches of an almost 600 year old cellar built and owned by the monks from Melk. There will be a buffet with a 3-course feast including pumpkin soup, turkey with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, roasted red beets and sweet potatoes, green beans, red cabbage, stuffing, cranberry sauce – and dessert.

If you can, please bring a pumpkin or pecan pie. They are always very appreciated!


Tickets are 25 Euros for adults and 12 Euros for children under 12. RSVP at https://www.democratsabroad.org/at_eventsThis event sold out last year, so be sure to reserve your tickets early!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

When: November 28, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Melker Stiftskeller, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Thanksgiving Dinner

Issues & Actions:


DAA Executive Committee Changes

The Executive Committee would like to give a huge thank you to Keith Jacomine who has over the years been a fantastic ExComm leader. Keith was Chair of DA Austria from 2013 to 2017 and has been serving as Vice Chair since. Under his leadership DAA held a very successful 2016 Global Presidential Primary, doubled our membership, and developed a good dose of fun in Fun-raisers and other DAA events. Both Keith and Kate have played a vital role in increasing active membership engagement as well as being so generous as they opened up their home for DAA events many times over the years and have contributed in every way possible both within Austria and in representing DA Austria Abroad. Family obligations have required the two to be in the US for the time being, but we look forward to having him back in Vienna soon!


“I am very honored to have been appointed as the new Vice-Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria by the ExComm Board. I will be replacing Keith, who has done a tremendous job as past Chair and Vice-Chair, and I want to say a big thank you for all his great work.” Many of you know Juan Cerda as the Co-coordinator of Sunday Solidarity Sundays and as leader of our LGBT Caucus. Juan will bring his considerable experience in political campaigning, phone banking, and event organizing skills to the ExComm Board. Juan said, “We have a great Board and super volunteers with incredibly talented people, and I know we will accomplish a lot during a very critical election year in 2020.”


Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC

The Taxation Task Force published a report this weekabout our expat tax advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill the week commencing Monday, September 16th.



Gearing up for 2020

Over the next months, this column will provide a space for the thoughts, opinions and announcements from both the DA Executive Committee and our members. While we may not endorse or support any particular candidate before the primaries, we are interested in sharing ideas about what Democrats can and will do to win up and down the ballot in 2020.

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair


l. Voter Registration Drive

The last week of September, DA Austria had a total of four voter registration events for study abroad students at IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) and Webster University registering students and faculty to vote. It went really well – the students and staff are appreciative that registering is made so easy by the fact that we come to them. People often have questions and being there makes it very simple for them and provides clarity.

During the week we registered more than 30 people and we expect to do as well or better in the next few months! I will be holding more events in different venues in November and again in January 2020. Anyone who would like to join should please contact me at [email protected]. Let me know if you have ideas of where you think we should have a GOTV event.

– Raina Saul-Ganev, Voter Registration Coordinator


ll. Now is the Time –

Vote in 2019 and Prepare for 2020!

  1. Do you, your friends or family vote in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey or Virginia? These states all have important state elections in 2019. Now is the time to request your ballot!
  2. Did you have trouble voting in 2018? Now is the time to work with us and your local election officials to fix those issues.
  3. Are you switching party affiliation or registering to vote for the first time? Voters in states with closed primaries need to switch party affiliation or register for the first time NOW! Deadlines – KY: Oct 7, 2019; LA: Oct 16, 2019; NY: Oct 11, 2019; VA: Oct 15, 2019. https://www.headcount.org/deadlines-dates/


lll. It's All About Voter Turnout!

by Mary Ann Balko-Koch

I feel very passionate about voter turnout! The problem we as Dems need to concentrate/focus on IS TURNOUT! #1 issue as far as I’m concerned. We need to make sure that people actually go out and vote!

In 2010 I was lucky enough to be on one of the Huffington Post buses to go to the John Stewart rally in Washington DC. This event was shortly before the midterm elections that year. As I asked the young people on the bus line around me if they were all voting on the following Tuesday, I received many excuses as to why they weren’t - they were studying in NY from another state, they had to work that day, they had just moved to NY, etc.. I knew right then and there that we were going to lose the midterm elections. When Obama came out and said that we got shellacked in the midterm elections, I took his word for it. BUT (years later it was clear) we didn’t! According to a pew research poll, only 37% of the voting age population came out and voted.

I think Obama handled this poorly at the time. Imagine if he had come...




GOTV/Membership Drive @ David Sedaris

DA Austria is thinking outside the box. After having a very successful GOTV event (and hearing some fantastic music) at the David Byrne concert last year, we’re taking our voter registration efforts to other unusual venues where Americans might be. In September, the team registered voters at the David Sedaris show at Gartenbaukino and DA Austria even got a shout out from him!

Send us your idea of a spot we should visit next. IdeasFor2020


September’s Watch Party

Democrats in Austria enjoyed watching the Democratic primary candidates at Beaver Brewing Company on September 13th. We hope you’ll join us at October’s watch party!



Solidarity Sundays 26:

The Amazing Disappearing Voter

We spend lots of time debating candidates, their health plans, climate plans, can they beat Donald Trump? None of this will matter if we don’t focus more on maybe the greatest vulnerability Democrats face in 2020: the Republican war on voting.

Republicans know the majority does not agree with them. They’re using their advantage in state legislatures to erase minority and young voters – to make the electorate as white, old, and Republican as possible. Because states determine voting rules, we’re waging a national battleover voting rights, but fighting it state by state, in courts, and over arcane rules that increase barriers to the ballot.

September 29, Solidarity Sundays took a deep dive into voter suppression. Before the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, literacy tests and poll taxes kept minorities from voting. Today, it is administrative burden, absentee ballots lost in the mail, and closed polling places. Modern suppression makes it look like you made a mistake, not that the system is mistaken.

The most sinister GOP tactic is voter purging– removing registered citizens from voting rolls. Since the Supreme Court struck down the Preclearance Section of the VRA in 2013, the pace of purging has grown exponentially.

What steps can you take to protect yourright to vote? Register to vote every January. Then double check: sometimes names get removed by mistake. Or by people who hate – what’s the word? – democracy.

Solidarity Sundays attendees wrote postcards to voters from Virginia. Both the house and senate are up for election. Winning both chambers would put Democrats in charge of re-drawing gerrymandered districts, and make Virginia the 38th – and final -- state needed to ratify the ERA.

Members Corner:


Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Online Influence: Lessons from Eastern Europe

U.S. Embassy Austria

Nina Jankowicz, Wilson Center

Alexander Schatten, SBA Research

Moderated by Christoph Zotter, Profil

RSVP: [email protected]

When: October 10, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Amerika Haus, Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna

ID required