September 01, 2019

Update on Democrats Abroad Spain activities

There is so much going on at Democrats Abroad and DA Spain. Unfortunately most of it is not on the dashboard of our members. 

The past few months have been like a whirlwind at DAS. DA national and the chapters each conducted Annual General Meetings with biennial elections for leadership positions. Madrid and Barcelona have new chairs with Samuel Mattern and Chris Reilly heading up these chapters, both of which are celebrating 15 years of Democrats Abroad in their communities. Founding Valencia Chapter Chair Graham Tyner starts his second term with a new team powering our fastest growing chapter.

We welcome and thank all those who volunteer their skills and time to make the organization work. Volunteers are key to our efforts as we move into this critically important election year. I am happy to report that we have folks in positions for communications to get out our message and build awareness. Many folks have trained on sending out emails, creating events, updating news and managing our membership lists. Our presence on social media is successfully reaching new and existing members. Our national and chapter teams are all contributing with messages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The messaging in the end has the overarching goal of finding US citizens and helping them to register to vote, if they aren't already, and to be sure they request their absentee ballot in the year of a federal election.

After two debates it is safe to say we are well into the primary season. Over the years DA members in our chapters have come to expect an opportunity to view and discuss the primary debates. These events tend to grow as we move closer to the Global Presidential Primary (more below) which coincides with Super Tuesday in the US.

We are interested in starting small groups in areas where we don't have chapters, but where folks want to meet and network with other Democrats. If you are interested please drop me a line at [email protected] We are also looking for volunteers to help us with phone banking. This low-key call is almost always welcomed by our members and has proven to be the most effective way to remind members to request their absentee ballots. A recent review of data from the National Election Commission found that overseas voter participation has increased in numbers never seen before. We think that it has everything to do with our well organized phone banking efforts in 2016 and 2018. We grew participation by 300% in midterm 2014 to 2018.

2020 is right around the corner and with the electoral college kind of stacked against us, we have to get out the Democratic vote. Looking back on 2016 we lost the electoral college in three swing states by less than 70,000 votes among the millions of ballots cast in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Nationwide the Democrats won the popular vote by over 2,800,000 votes. We will be making every effort to reach voters in those swing electoral college states and where we can flip a Republican senate seat. We can do this, but we need to get every vote out and make sure they are counted. Are you all in?

You will be asked in early January to request your absentee ballot for the 2020. It is important to do this early, so if your local election official has removed you from the voting rolls, you have time to get the problem rectified. In states where Republicans hold the reins of power, they sometimes hold on to them by purging folks who haven't voted in awhile. You might recall the problem that came to light in Georgia in the last election. You need to monitor your personal situation early and be sure you get to vote. If you're in doubt, reach out. We know how to help.

We recommend: to generate the Federal Post Card Application which every state is required to recognize and process under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. (UOCAVA) Use this form rather than a state issued form because it assures your ability to vote in all federal elections (president, senators, and congresspersons) during the year the request is submitted. Often state issued absentee ballot requests are only for a single election. UOCAVA ballots must be sent out 45 days prior the election, by law when using a FPCA.

Democrats Abroad is getting to be known as the "margin of victory" around the DNC. Overseas votes are counted after those cast in person and make the difference between winning or losing a congressional or senate seat in close elections. I remind you we won back 40 seats in the House, many were by 1% or less. Our votes are the margin of victory.

Many thanks and lets do all we can to flip the Senate and take back the Presidency in 2020.

Jim Mercereau