How We Work for You - Prepping for 2020!

2019 may be winding down, but your Executive Committee (ExCom) is getting fired up! 2020 is a critical election year, with the Global Presidential Primary (GPP) in March and the Presidential Election in November. It is imperative to get Americans living abroad registered and ready to vote for the sake of our democracy. Get Out The Vote efforts are crucial, and we call on our membership to help make this happen.

  1. The Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary will be held from March 3rd until March 10th for Americans living abroad to vote for their Democratic candidate. This is essential in giving Americans abroad the opportunity to make their voices heard. In Japan, we will set up voting centers for the GPP in Kanto, Kansai, and Tokai. Running these voting centers successfully requires the support of volunteers, such as greeters, voter registration assistants, and Democrats Abroad registration assistants. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact DAJ Secretary Anna Costello at

  2. As of December 10th, we have achieved 45% of our fundraising goal! Our matching campaign closes on December 27th, so there’s time to double your money and reach our goal of funding a campaign the size of 2008 at 1 million yen! Donations to DAJ will be used to fund the GPP, Get Out the Vote activities, and anything else required to help achieve victory in 2020! Information on how to donate can be accessed here:

  3. Thank you for attending our Thanksgiving events in Kanto and Tokai! Traditionally, the DAJ Thanksgivings events have been our largest social and fundraising gatherings. This year was no exception, with both events having close to 70 attendees combined and raising over 135,000 yen. We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. Women’s March: We need people to set up and manage the DAJ participation on January 18th. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact DAJ Secretary Anna Costello at

  5. The Democrats Abroad Affirmative Action Committee is conducting a diversity and inclusion survey, open to all members of Democrats Abroad. The survey is approximately 3-5 minutes long and can be accessed here:

Have a happy holiday and get ready for 2020!

Anna Costello
DAJ Secretary


Democrats Abroad Japan Fall 2019 Primary Fundraising Campaign

For the October 2019 - March 2020 Period

The Current Situation 

  • There are 50,000 United States Citizens living in Japan, but only ~3,100 are Democrats Abroad Japan (DAJ) Members. 
  • Of those ~3,100 members, fewer than 5% are actively volunteering, and resources for the activists to run training sessions and engage membership are insufficient. 
  • Democrats Abroad Japan has major obligations and plans that need funding, in particular, we must stage the Global Presidential Primary, which needs polling stations, advertising, and GoTV. 
  • The DAJ National Bank Account was below $500 in funds after membership certification. 

Proposed Budget

Our administration is very transparent about how money is spent, and you can publicly check our national ledger at any time. Here’s how your donation will help:

  • We currently plan to open three polling stations on Honshuu, one in each of the population centers of Kanto (Tokyo), Kansai (Osaka), and Tokai (Nagoya). In 2016 we registered hundreds of new members on polling day, and with more funding, we hope to triple those gains by hosting voting centers in more areas next year. 
  • Print Advertising - The Japan Times, Stars and Stripes, and American Chamber of Commerce in Japan have many readers both online and in deliverables, for both primary and general elections. 
  • Phone Banking - These are campaigns all members can easily engage in.
  • Debates and Event Hosting - By being able to subsidize the cost of food and attendance, we can reach younger members who have more time than money to donate. 
  • Operating Expenses - Keeping in physical communication helps keep our activists dedicating their time. 

National ExCom Donation Matching

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Recap: Policy Forum on Restoring American Democracy and U.S. Leadership

On October 20th, 2019 in Tokyo, Democrats Abroad Japan (DAJ) hosted their first policy forum: the Policy Forum on Restoring American Democracy and U.S. Leadership. This policy forum served as the beginning of DAJ platform discussion and the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Americans gathered to discuss key policy issues bound to affect all Americans. The forum featured four speakers, including former leaders in the United States Government and the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA), who spoke on the direction of such issues.

The Unity Reform Commission - the document that contains everything the Democratic Party learned after 2016 - brought them together. This wasn't a time for minor differences on how to advance health care - it was about the major issues that face the entire party, regardless of who the presidential nominee would be.

Ambassador Robert Orr (Former United States Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank) kicked off the discussion, helping people understand the reality America's international presence and discussing how to rebuild international relationships.

Democrats Abroad (DA) Progressive Caucus Co-Chair, Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Representative, and Former DAJ Vice Chair Gordon Gaul informed the forum of different organizations approach to fixing democracy, getting money out of politics, and the different approaches each of them are taking.

Tsukuba-based activist Cheryl Okubo gave a real-life look at the issue of Climate Change and what people can do better in not just policy, but their own lives to improve this issue.

Former International DA Counsel and Form DAJ Chair Tom Schmid finished off the discussion with a talk on the history and way forward for the Supreme Court.

Current DAJ Chair John Baumlin facilitated the discussion for these topics. In kicking off the DAJ platform discussion, he gave a public initiative to all chapters and members of DAJ to send feedback to the DAJ Executive Committee for 2020. 


NJ, VA, MS, LA, and KY - Time to Vote!

Important 2019 Voting Abroad Information for KY, LA, MS, NJ, VA Voters

Five states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia — will hold General Elections in November 2019 for state executive offices, state legislative offices or both.

Because of the Trump administration’s plan to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) treaty mid-October 2019, postal mail from abroad back to the US may experience delays and price increases. To make sure you can successfully cast your ballot in your state's elections this year, the Get Out the Vote Committee at DAJ is recommending voters from these states register to vote and request their ballot IMMEDIATELY.

For more information on how withdrawal from the Universal Postal Union will affect your overseas vote, see

Urgent information for Louisiana voters:

There is still time to register to vote for the Gubernatorial Primary if you register online (this requires state ID) by this Saturday, SEPTEMBER 21st.

The Gubernatorial Primary will be held October 12th; overseas ballots must be received before October 12th, 8pm CST (Oct. 13th, 10am JST).

Louisiana Online Voter Registration:

Register and Request Your Ballot:

Register and request your ballot now - State by State Information!

For those states that do not allow ballot return using email or fax, please vote and mail back your ballot immediately to avoid any disruption in mail service after October 17th.


Elections: Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate and State House.

Louisiana voters: For the primary election, register online by September 21, request your ballot immediately, and MAIL it back before October 12. For the general election, contact your election office for permission to use fax to return your ballot.

Primary Election

●Voter Registration: Received by (Online, requires state ID) September 21
●Ballot Request: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Mon, October 11, before 4:30pmCST
●Ballot Return: Received by (MUST MAIL) Tuesday, October 12, 2019, before 8pm CST
●Guber. Primary: Tuesday, October 12, 2019

General Election

●Voter Registration: Postmarked by (MAIL) or Received by (EMAIL or FAX) Tues., October 16 or Received by (Online, requires state ID) Tuesday, October 26
●Ballot Request: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Mon., Nov. 15, before 4:30pm CST
●Ballot Return: Received by (MUST MAIL*) Tuesday, November 16, before 8pm CST
●Guber. Election: Tuesday, November 16, before 8pm CST

*Ballot return by Fax available only by prior arrangement with Local Election Official

Overseas voter eligibility for state elections:
● Intend to return: YES
● Return not certain: YES
● Never resided: NO


Elections: Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General and Secretary of State.

Kentucky voters: vote immediately and postal mail the ballot back to your local election office this September.

● Voter Registration: Postmarked by (MAIL) or Received by (EMAIL or FAX) Mon., Oct. 7

● Ballot Request: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Tuesday, October 29

● Ballot Return: Received by (MUST MAIL) Tuesday, November 5, before 6pm

Overseas voter eligibility for state elections:
● Intend to return: YES
● Return not certain: YES
● Never resided: NO

New Jersey

Elections: General Assembly.

New Jersey voters: vote immediately and postal mail the ballot back to your local election office this September.

● Voter Registration: (Request ballot-by-mail) Received by (EMAIL*, FAX* or MAIL) Sun., Oct. 6 or (Request ballot-by-email, fax) Received by (EMAIL*, FAX* or MAIL) Tues., Oct. 15
● Ballot Request: (Request ballot-by-mail) Received by (EMAIL*, FAX* or MAIL) Sun., Oct. 6 or (Request ballot-by-email, fax) Received by (EMAIL*, FAX* or MAIL) Fri., Nov. 1
● Return Ballot: Received by (EMAIL*, FAX* or MAIL) Tuesday, November 5, 8pm


Overseas voter eligibility for state elections:
● Intend to return: YES
● Return not certain: NO*
● Never resided: NO

*Legislation introduced to allow “return not certain” to vote in NJ state elections


Elections: State Senate and State House.

Virginia voters: vote immediately and postal mail the ballot back to your local election office this September.

●Voter Registration: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Monday, October 14
●Ballot Request: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Tuesday, October 29
●Ballot Return: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Tues., November 5, before 7pm EST

Overseas voter eligibility for state elections:
● Intend to return: YES
● Return not certain: YES*
● Never resided: NO

*If VA place of abode OR if voter provides the name of an overseas employer for either the voter, the voter’s spouse or the voter’s parent (if the voter is a dependent)


Elections: Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate and State House.

Mississippi voters should use email or fax to return your voted ballot.

●Voter Registration: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Saturday, October 26
●Ballot Request: No deadline
●Ballot Return: Received by (EMAIL, FAX or MAIL) Tuesday, November 5

Overseas voter eligibility for state elections:
● Intend to return: YES
● Return not certain: YES
● Never resided: NO


Revised 2019 DAJ National Election Results

Dear DAJ members,

THE 2019 DAJ EXCOM in coordination with the 2019 DAJ NEC would like to announce the revised results of the 2019 national elections.

Votes in the 2019 National officers election were counted on 6/16 and recorded by the NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS COMMITTEE, however after inquiry it was discovered that 1 faxed ballot was not counted. For clarification, there was no change to the outcome of the election. Below are the revised results:

Total ballots cast: 51

Total ballots which were complete and where membership could be confirmed: 50


Votes for John Baumlin - 50 votes, 100% total valid votes (WINNER)


Votes for write-in candidates

Votes for Kiyoko Ayukawa 36 votes, 72% of total valid votes (WINNER)

Votes for Denise Treuting 1 vote, 2% of total valid votes

Votes for Gordon Gaul 1 vote, 2% of total valid votes

Votes for Frederick Gunlach 1 vote, 2% of total valid votes

Votes for no one: 11, 22% of total valid votes


Votes for Anna Costello - 50 votes, 100% total valid votes (WINNER)

Treasurer: write-in candidates

Votes for write-in candidates

Votes for Dave Brauer – 34 votes, 68% of total valid votes (WINNER)

Votes for Timothy Trahan 1 vote, 2% of total valid votes

Votes for Jenise Treuting 1 vote, 2% of total valid votes

Votes for Frederick Gunlach 1 vote, 2% of total valid votes

Votes for no one: 13 votes, 26% of total valid votes


Votes for Gordon Gaul - 42 votes, 84% of total valid votes (WINNER)

Votes for Kiyoko Ayukawa – 5 votes, 10% of total valid votes

Votes for no one: 3 votes, 6% of total valid votes

Member-at-Large for Eastern/Northern Honshu:

Votes for Elena Morlock - 34 votes, 100 % of total valid votes (WINNER)

Member-at-Large for Western/Southern Honshu:

Votes for Raymond Kunikane Terhune - 5 votes, 100 % of total valid votes (WINNER)

Member-at-Large for Shikoku/Kyushu/Okinawa:

Votes for Rose Turck - 2 votes, 100% of total valid votes (WINNER)

Member-at-Large for Hokkaido: write-in candidates only

No votes

Sincerely yours,

The DAJ 2019 Nominations and Elections Committee

Sarajean Rossitto

Leslie Anne Rogers

Steven Breyak

Jenise Treuting


How We Work For You #02 - August 2019

Making Our Voices Heard 

On July 20th, your Executive Committee (ExCom) at Democrats Abroad Japan (DAJ) proposed an amendment to the Democrats Abroad Resolution in Support of the Green New Deal, urging the Global ExCom, our state party for Democrats Abroad, to support a Climate Crisis Presidential Debate at the DNC. The amendment was sent directly to the Global ExCom, where it was decided Democrats Abroad as a whole would support a Climate Change Debate on August 11th, 2019. 

Our DA representative, Gordon Gaul, attended the DNC meeting in San Francisco. The Debate Resolution was put up for vote to remove (a ‘yes’ vote) the Climate Debate resolution from the packet of resolutions, or to keep (a ‘no’ vote) it in the set of resolutions the DNC would enact. Our DNC representatives argued passionately in support in keeping the climate debate resolution. 

However, the DNC did not keep the resolution, so we must continue working to make this issue a priority for the party. DA and our representatives watched as Tom Perez, the DNC Chair, declared he would be voting “yes” in favor of removing the resolution, and many followed suit. The prevailing argument made by the majority was that in the past they had too many debates, and if they had a Climate Crisis debate, they would have to have a debate on every major topic, like gun safety or immigration and all the rest.

From my informal discussions with all of you, the Climate Crisis is our top issue, and what you elected us to fight for when you selected us as your representatives in June. Are more single issue debates truly a bad thing? Bring on gun safety debates. Bring on immigration debates. Let’s bring these topics to the national narrative, so people can learn about the different policies and ways to solve these problems. Especially when our young people and activists, myself included, so deeply want these debates. 

Moving Forward and Volunteering

In lieu of what happened, CNN held a Climate Town Hall and invited all presidential candidates to attend. The Town Hall format allowed candidates to answer in 30-40 minute intervals, and it was informative and educational. The 1.1 million viewers were far fewer than the 10 million+ expected from the debate format we are fighting for, but hearing each candidate respond substantively to audience questions gave good insight into their plans and characters. Perhaps we should be authoring more resolutions to bring to the DNC for these more educational formats, so we can all truly understand the options and plans being considered by different candidates.

Democrats are inquisitive, hopeful, want to learn - we definitely need to fight this sound byte and social media oriented culture, and ask our party to do more to help educate voters on political issues. Raising awareness is always the precursor to action.  If you’d like to author a resolution, or just become more active, join us on Slack and contribute to making our voices heard. 

One immediate opportunity is participating in the Democrats Abroad party platform development process, starting this fall. I believe we can drive Democratic policy on these issues, setting the agenda for all Democratic candidates. 

Primary Notice 

Straight from the desk of our Global ExCom, the petition platform is now live to get presidential candidates on the ballot for Democrats Abroad. Each candidate will need 300 DA member signatures to qualify to be on the ballot. You can visit the petitions platform and fill one out for your candidate! The primaries for Democrats Abroad Japan have been officially announced, and they will take place at a specified date from March 3 to March 10, 2020. 

After speaking with your members-at-large, our current plan is to have 3 polling locations - one in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. We are also planning alternate ways for people outside of population centers to vote (via Mail or Fax). Remember to make sure you’re a member of Democrats Abroad before the primaries (click Join here on top right) and have a valid passport as we prepare for the Global Presidential Primary. 

Democrats Abroad Japan Fundraising Project

We need funds to pull off this primary, as well as voter registration, and Get-Out-The-Vote activities. It is getting harder and harder to find polling locations as more venues prohibit  political activities. Free, informal locations are not available. 

This will be a big project for us - but the first thing we’ll be asking of everyone is to help fundraise, not just for the primary, but whatever you think is really worth it. Right now we’re collecting ideas on how to spend the funds raised throughout our term. It’s an open invitation to any member! Just join us on Slack in the #fundraising-campaign channel accessible from the channels menu to add to the wishlist, or email your ideas directly to Dave via

Save the Date(s)! DAJ Policy Forum and Upcoming Events

On October 20th, 2019 the DAJ ExCom will be putting together a policy forum that we hope to share with the entire membership. The focus will be an overview of where our American Democracy is at, and the topics that will affect us no matter who the candidate for president will  be. How can we rebuild our international relationships? Rework the Supreme Court? How do we defeat the corporate influence weighing over us since Citizens United? How are we going to reduce carbon emissions and stop our climate to changing to a more and more dangerous world?

These are all things that will affect all of us - and it’s time we all get together and talk about them. More details will come soon, but be prepared to come either in-person or digitally (resources permitting) and join the discussion about our democracy and what we are going to do, here, abroad about it.

There’s lots of upcoming events as well, and if you’re in the capital (Tokyo) on September 15th, be sure to join us for Democracy & Debate day, and we urge Democrats to have debate parties across Japan and start discussing the policies we want our party to have for 2020. 


Democratically Yours, 

John A. Baumlin Jr. - National Chair on behalf of
The Executive Committee:

Kiyoko Ayukawa - National Vice Chair
Anna Costello - National Secretary
Dave Brauer - National Treasurer 

Democrats Abroad Japan Announcement of Kansai Chapter Election for 2019


The Kansai Nomination and Election Committee (KNEC) of Democrats Abroad Japan (DAJ) is proud to call upon our Kansai membership to submit their nominations for the 2019 Kansai Chapter Election. The call for nominations is for the following positions:

  • Chair of Kansai Chapter
  • Vice-Chair of Kansai Chapter
  • Secretary of Kansai Chapter
  • Treasurer of Kansai Chapter

If you are interested in holding an officer position, you must fulfill the following requirements in order to qualify:

  • Be a member in good standing pursuant Article III of the By-Laws of Democrats Abroad Japan. You can confirm your membership by signing into
  • Not be completing a 2ndconsecutive term for the office in question, as per the term limits set out in our by-laws pursuant to Article X, Section 1: “No National, or Chapter Officer, nor any Members-at-Large can serve more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same position.”
  • In the case of running for Chair or Vice Chair, pursuant to Article V, Section 1, “The Chair and Vice Chair shall not be of the same-sex.”


Nomination Procedure

In order to join the election process, members may nominate themselves or another member by sending an e-mail to no later than midnight Japan time on August 22nd. All nomination emails should include the following:

  1. Complete name of the person nominated.
  2. Contact information including phone number, mailing address, and email address.
  3. Name of the nominated position.

The KNEC has enclosed a calendar of the important dates regarding the election cycle so that we can ensure a transparent and fair election process, which can be accessed here. Please direct all questions to the KNEC by email:

We look forward to receiving your nominations!



Kansai Nomination and Election Committee

Kiyoko Ayukawa
Anna Costello
John Baumlin


Announcement regarding Kansai Chapter Election

Members of the Democrats Abroad Japan Kansai Chapter,

Thank you for participating in the recent Kansai Chapter election. Democrats Abroad aims to host fair and transparent elections and give everyone an equal opportunity for candidacy and voting.

Unfortunately, we regret to inform that the election did not directly follow procedures as described by the Country Committee Election Procedures. Specifically, there were 4 issues.

  1. The Kansai Nomination and Election Committee (NEC) consisted of 2 members when the NEC should have at least 3 members. (2a)

  2. There was no submission regarding the vote counts and meeting minutes. (1d, 3a, 3m, 3n)

  3. The Chair-elect and Vice-Chair elect were not registered members of Democrats Abroad when they ran for office. (5a1)

  4. Ballots were not officially distributed to all membership. Ballots were sent out to members on the activist mailing list and made public on the DAJK facebook page, but not through the DAJ website or email. (9d1, 9d2)

Due to these issues, the Kansai Chapter election results cannot be accepted, and the elections will be reheld.

A new Kansai Nomination and Election Committee has been appointed, and we aim to run this second election as smoothly and quickly as possible. On Friday August 16th, we will send out an announcement opening the call for nominations and informing you about the election schedule. The announcement will be set out via email and posted on the Democrats Abroad Japan website. If you have any further questions, you may address them to the committee at

Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to your participation!


Kansai Nomination and Election Committee

Kiyoko Ayukawa

Anna Costello

John Baumlin


Lights for Liberty in Odaiba

On July 13th, DAJ members Sarajean Rossitto, Jenise Treuting, and Linda Gould hosted a “Lights for Liberty” vigil in Odaiba, Tokyo. It was a solemn event fueled by the passion of people supporting immigrant rights. Attendees took pictures in front of the Statue of Liberty in Odaiba while holding up signs in protest of the immigration camps. One attendee shared his mother’s experience of living in a Japanese internment camp. The vigil finished with a group reading of The New Colossus.


How We Work For You #01 - July 2019

Members of Democrats Abroad Japan,

Today we want to take some time to talk about what it means to setup an organization. There are few who understand the mechanics of our organization, and the overwhelming majority of activists are not focused on the month-to-month functions of the Executive Committee. That's understandable. It's not exciting, it's administrative - but it is important. It's important because what we're doing directly affects our representation to International, and to the Democratic National Committee.

If you really want to create change in the Democratic Party, we invite you to join along with us each month for a few minutes to see about how we're representing you, and to give us feedback. We want to tell you what we've been doing the last month, why it was done, and what our next steps are going to be each month.

Feel free to follow along with the Agenda and Meeting Minutes, that Anna took so diligently, as we comment on our focus here:

We had our first meeting as the 2019-2021 Executive Committee on June 30th in a small room in Ikebukuro. It was our first time meeting face-to-face as a group, and we immediately started working out what is required of us. While we were eager to support our membership and start posting, Democrats Abroad has 6 certifications required for new leaders. You need to get membership database training, e-mail training, website content training, WebEx training and Nationbuilder training before posting to the web or sending emails. This is just to access the current existing knowledge and functions of the organization. We discussed transitions for new leadership, who would take those trainings, and began collecting the requirements of our organization. We decided on our fundamental goals and focuses for our term, and passed two propositions.


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