Vice Chair, Switzerland

I grew up in a union household and have voted Democrat as long as I can remember. This isn't just because I have directly benefited from the social safety net that Democrats are fighting to protect and strengthen, but also because I believe everyone should have access to that safety net. It should be there for us when we need it.

While Democrats won in 2020, controlling the House, Senate, and White House, we still have a lot of work to do. The Senate is deadlocked due to the combination of the lazy filibuster and the GOP members who refuse to work across the aisle. Without a Senate that will pass legislature, the only way to accomplish anything is with Executive Orders. That isn't the way our government is designed to operate.

There is so much that needs to be pushed forward for the good of the country as well as its residents and citizens:

  • Healthcare reform (including access for women and transgender individuals)
  • Minimum wage
  • Climate policy
  • Voter protection (including an end to partisan gerrymandering)
  • Racial justice for BIPOC
  • Common sense gun control
  • Tax policy for tax payers living in- and outside of the US
  • Immigration reform
  • ... and much more

The 45th Presidential Administration spurred many people into political action; I was definitely one of them. Now we must keep going. We have to remind our leaders that they work for us and failure to act can result in a failure to re-elect. We, the voters, have to hold power to account and make sure that the legislators are doing the job for which they are being handsomely paid. It is my opinion that remaining active in Democrats Abroad Switzerland is the best way for me to effect change, and I think it is a great way for all US citizens living in Switzerland to do so.

I invite anyone reading this to join us:


  • Antiracism/Black Lives Matter Events Around Switzerland

    Democrats Abroad Switzerland (DACH) has been made aware of the following demonstrations and marches planned around the country over the next few days:

    Basel

    • Demonstration Against Racism
      June 6 at 1 PM
      Barfüsserplatz
    • No to Racism! Together We Are STRONG!
      June 13 at 2 PM
      Barfüsserplatz
      Wear all black

    Bellinzona

    • Demonstration Against Racism
      June 6 at 4 PM
      Piazza del Sol

    Bern

    • No to Racism! Together We Are STRONG!
      June 13 at 2 PM
      Bundeshaus
      Wear all black
      More information here.

    Geneva

    • Demonstration - Cancelled
      June 8 from 4:30 to 6 PM
      Outside the U.S. Mission in Geneva
    • March
      June 9 from 6 to 9:00 PM
      Gather at Place de Neuve; travel in groups of 300 along the route to end at Parc des Cropettes
      More information here.

    Lausanne

    • Demonstration
      June 7 at 2 PM
      Choose any spot throughout the city, maximum 30 people per location.
      More information here.

    Neuchâtel

    • Demonstration Against Racism
      June 6 at 1 PM
      Places des Jeunes Rives

    Zürich

    • March
      June 6 at 2 PM
      Gather at Bahnhofstrasse/Main Station
      Note: As of this time, we are unsure who is organizing this event, as are other leaders in the area. As such, please take precaution if you choose to attend.
    • No to Racism! Together We Are STRONG!
      June 13 at 2 PM
      Stadelhofen
      Wear all black
      More information here.
    DACH is supportive of Black Lives Matter (BLM) initiatives and as such are making members aware of related events across Switzerland. These events are neither organized nor sponsored by DACH. If you choose to participate, please maintain the proper spirit of peaceful demonstration and also observe any COVID-19 guidelines regarding social distancing and number of people at a gathering. Here is a Twitter thread with some ideas on how to protest safely.
     
    We are trying to vet this information as best we can. However, events are developing quickly and our members are looking to us for information. It is our hope and assumption that you, our members, are well-informed and savvy enough to research these events/organizations yourselves, as well as planning for ways to keep yourself safe should something go wrong.
     
    Also: Please promote DACH and the right to vote! Carry posters and highlight “Vote from Abroad” or “VoteFromAbroad.org” or “DemocratsAbroad.org” in your signs and in your clothing (t-shirts, hats, etc.). If you have votefromabroad.org handouts or cards, feel free to carry some to give to people along the route!
     
    You may be able to find more information about these and other events at the Black Lives Matter Switzerland Facebook page or by emailing [email protected].
     
    As always, thank you for your time and consideration. Be safe and do good.

  • published Food and COVID-19 in News 2020-05-29 16:40:38 -0400

    Food and COVID-19

    Covid-19 has created multiple shocks to food supply chains, affecting producers, workers and consumers. The World Food Programme estimates that up to 265 million people could face acute food insecurity in the wake of the pandemic.

    Michelle Grant (ETH Zurich: World Food Systems Center and author of The Great Full – Sustainable Eating with Purpose and Joy) shared with us the challenges the pandemic brings for our food system and discussed what government agencies, and other actors, are doing to respond.


  • published 2020 DA Switzerland AGM on Wednesday, June 24 in News 2020-05-30 03:08:02 -0400

    2020 DA Switzerland AGM on Wednesday, June 24

    Democrats Abroad Switzerland will hold our 2020 Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from 7 - 10 PM via WebEx. At this meeting we will adopt new bylaws for DACH. Your presence is greatly desired as we need a quorum in order to adopt the bylaws.

    You will also hear our annual reports, hear overviews of the DA Regional and Global Conventions, participate in a brainstorming session for Get Out the Vote, and discuss election events for November.

    2020 Annual General Meeting (Add to Google Calendar.)

    Meeting Title = DA Switzerland AGM
    Date and Time = Wed, 24 Jun 2020 19:00:00 CEST
    Duration = 3 hours
    Meeting number = 478854014
    Meeting Password = dems
    Meeting URL: https://democratsabroad.webex.com/democratsabroad/e.php?MTID=madefb2d9f483193b1167487c39b2a6e5

    Agenda (preliminary)

    • 6:45-7:00 PM - Sign in, get WebEx set up properly, virtually mingle
    • 7:00-7:45 PM - Approve the 2019 AGM minutes; business meeting and officer reports
    • 7:45-8:45 PM - Adoption of new bylaws
    • 8:45-9:00 PM - Break
    • 9:00-9:30 PM - Get Out the Vote brainstorming
    • 9:30-10:00 PM - Election events for November
    • 10:00 PM - Adjournment

    Bylaws Revision: Please Review the Proposed Changes. We invite you to comment!

    We are pleased to include a draft of the revised bylaws for DACH, which will be presented for approval at the AGM on June 24. Several changes were necessary to bring our bylaws in line with changes made to the Democrats Abroad Charter. These include concepts such as "One Person, One Vote," wording changes regarding gender balance, etc. Also, we used this opportunity to include the status of DACH as a Verein/Association under Swiss laws in order to be compliant with local rules and regulations.

    We invite you to make public comments via Google Docs here. You can view and comment on this Google Doc without having a Google Account.

    As you review the draft, please note the following:

    1. Minor punctuation, format, spacing, capitalization, or spelling changes have been made and are not highlighted as "edits" from the original bylaws from 2014.
    2. Please do not reformat or concern yourself about formatting as that will be cleaned up in the final draft before presentation at the AGM.
    3. Please note that in Google Docs, you can choose to view all edits and comments (default setting) or you can use a simple view that only displays the "final document."



    4. Please respond with any comments or suggestions by 5 PM on Friday, June 12.
    5. A WebEx session for review and discussion of all public comments will be held on Wednesday, June 17 at 7 PM. Please plan to attend as we want to finalize all changes and address all questions before the AGM.

    We will have several events leading up to the AGM to prepare our members for the vote about bylaws and attending the meeting via WebEx.

    We look forward to seeing you at these virtual events over the coming month! Thank you for your time and attention.


  • published #YeahScience in News 2020-05-29 17:16:09 -0400

    #YeahScience

    As we’ve learned during the global pandemic, science communication is not easy. There are contradictory data sets and a lot of misinformation. How do you navigate the noise?

    Our very own Zachary Bailey, post-doctoral pathogen ecologist at the ETH, shared his knowledge on Covid-19. We also discussed trusted science podcasts, blogs, and journals.


  • COVID-19 Fundraiser: Supporting Communities of Color

    While COVID-19 affects us all, it disproportionately impacts communities of color in the US.

    Factors including front line jobs, underlying medical conditions due to lack of access to adequate healthcare, and/or substandard housing in densely populated areas are putting these communities at greater risk.

    At the same time, these communities are threatened not only by COVID-19, but by other existential challenges such as loss of income and food insecurity during the lock down.

    Because of this, our friends at Action Together: Zürich, CH (ATZ) have created the COVID-19 Fundraiser: Supporting Communities of Color in the US as a way for our community to donate to four organizations working directly to support these communities.

    donate-button.jpg

    Read more

  • published How the US Presidential Election Works in News 2020-04-27 08:32:39 -0400

    How the US Presidential Election Works

    The Bertelsmann Foundation was established in 2008 for the purposes of promoting and strengthening the transatlantic relationship. Through its research, debate forums, and multimedia tools, the Foundation provides analysis and solutions to the most pressing economic, political, and social challenges impacting the US and Europe.

    A former DA Switzerland secretary is now living in Washington, DC, and works at the Bertelsmann Foundation. She recently produced this short video explaining the US electoral process, including primaries, conventions, and the general election.


  • Do You Have Questions about the CARES Act Recently Passed by Congress?

    The Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force has answers!


    Democrats Abroad has received many hundreds of emails from members interested in understanding the provisions of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, their eligibility for support, and how and when they might receive it.

    In order to prevent delays in our responses, we have developed from member emails an FAQs document that aims to address the key concerns we have been hearing. We will continue to add to it as needed.

    Rest assured we are working hard to address our members’ concerns and thank you in advance for your understanding.

    We hope you find the information you are seeking in this list of CARES Act aid FAQs.

    The Treasury will surely make more information available soon.  We are updating these FAQs continuously.  So if you have further questions please plan to revisit the FAQs.

    DEMOCRATS ABROAD TAXATION TASK FORCE

    IMPORTANT:  Democrats Abroad does not provide personal tax advice or recommendations.  We recommend that you engage a qualified, professional tax adviser to address questions related to your personal financial situation. If you do not have a tax adviser we recommend the U.S. Tax Return Preparer Directory published by American Citizens Abroad.  Many will offer payment plans. There are also FreeFile tax return systems for low income taxpayers that accommodate taxpayers with foreign addresses



  • Interested in Attending the Democratic National Convention in August? Here's How!

    During the week of August 17th, the Democrats Abroad (DA) delegation will join with others at the Democratic National Convention to formally choose our nominee for President of the United States. This is a great honor and among the most important civic roles one can have as a U.S. citizen living abroad.

    We will once again have a fired-up delegation casting our votes with all the other Democratic state parties' delegates in showing support and unity among us. You may recall from 2016 our delegation was prominently shown on media stations around the world!

    With great interest in attending the national Convention, this is the moment for all interested Democrats Abroad members to submit their declaration of delegate candidacy. Any DA member is eligible to run, and the Affirmative Action Committee strongly emphasizes the importance of DA members from historically-underrepresented backgrounds to run as delegate candidates in showing the world the diversity of our Party and our members around the world.

    Forms to declare delegates’ candidacy are now available online. Please encourage your country committee’s members, state chapters, caucuses, task forces, and other leaders and members to fill it out as soon as possible and return it no later than April 17th.

    -The Democrats Abroad Affirmative Action Committee-

    Questions or comments? E-mail: [email protected]


  • Democrats Abroad Switzerland, COVID-19, and the Global Presidential Primary

    At this time, Switzerland has imposed a ban on public events attracting more than 1,000 attendees. Although interest in the GPP is high, we do not expect that many attendees in any one center at one time. As such, currently we are going ahead with our GPP events as planned.

    However, if you are concerned about your health, you are welcome to take advantage of our remote voting option.

    • Download your ballot: https://www.democratsabroad.org/primary
    • Fill out all required fields
    • Return your complete ballot via
      • Email to [email protected]
      • Mail to
        Democrats Abroad Switzerland
        Holbeinstrasse 13
        4051 Basel
      • Fax to +1(202)217-4277
    • If you need additional assistance with remote voting, you can contact the following people:

    Please use your best judgement regarding your own health and that of others; stay home if you feel sick or are more at-risk of severe illness. If you choose to attend a GPP event, great! We are looking forward to helping you cast your ballot!


    **Please note that our GPP landing page will be updated as necessary, alerting you to any changes in our Global Presidential Primary Voting Center operations in Basel, Geneva, and Zurich.**

    **You can find the official Democrats Abroad statement regarding COVID-19 here.**


  • published SwissPats: Helping Americans Rock Their Vote in News 2020-02-27 10:38:56 -0500

    SwissPats: Helping Americans Rock Their Vote

    In early February, Liz Voss (DA Switzerland Vice Chair) and Kristen Jafflin (DACH Basel Vice Chair) visited Don and Suzi at SwissPats to discuss all things Democrats Abroad: the upcoming Global Presidential Primary, VoteFromAbroad.org, volunteer and social events, and the General Election in November 2020.

    You can listen to this episode of the podcast here, or wherever you listen to your other podcasts.

    In the interview, Suzi asked about opportunities for non-Americans to get involved. Liz and Kristen both made some suggestions on the spot, but it's always easier to click a link than remember a URL. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for people to get involved in US politics, whatever their nationality and wherever they live:

    VoteFromAbroad.org: Any US citizen living outside of the US can use this site to register to vote and/or request their ballot. This should be done every year!
    (And as mentioned in the podcast, anyone can help an American register to vote or request their ballot and for most states, the process can be completed with a smart phone, a piece of paper, and a blue or black pen.)

    Join Democrats Abroad: Any US citizen living outside of the US who is 18 or older can join Dems Abroad. We have members living in over 190 countries around the world who vote in every state and Congressional district in the US.

    Dems Abroad Switzerland: This is the homepage for our country committee and has a wealth of information about our GPP, our leadership, our chapters, and our upcoming events.

    Be a DA Switzerland volunteer: Democrats Abroad can only accept cash donations from US citizens, but we can have volunteers from any country!

    A Year of Living Better: How to Participate in Politics: This New York Times article has many ideas on how to participate in US politics in the US or from abroad, some being applicable to non-US citizens.

    Postcards To Voters: Sign up to send postcards to voters in the US.

    Text Banking: Several text banking options that allow you to text US voters.

    Places to donate/get involved/register to vote in you're a US citizen living in the US:

    • Vote Save America: A wide-ranging repository of political information from Crooked Media, the minds behind Pod Save America and other podcasts.
    • Fair Fight: The organization that Stacey Abrams founded after the mismanaged 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia. They promote fair elections around the US, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights.

    We are looking forward to interacting with more Americans and concerned world citizens throughout this election season!


  • published Let's Get Candid About the Candidates! in News 2020-02-03 06:41:08 -0500

    Let's Get Candid About the Candidates!

    You may have noticed our event series that kicked off last week in Geneva: Let's Get Candid About the Candidates! Vance White, our new Chair, is traveling around the country holding these discussion groups so that members can advocate for their Presidential Primary Candidate of choice or maybe come to a decision about who they want to vote for, if they've been having trouble deciding in such a wide field.

    A reporter from the Aargauer Zeitung attended the Geneva event and wrote an excellent summary, which you can read in German here, or an English translation is available below.

    We have two more Candid Candidate events lined up in Zurich and Basel; we hope to see you there!
    Read more

  • published DACH Needs A New Secretary; Could it be You? in News 2019-11-29 14:36:48 -0500

    DACH Needs A New Secretary; Could it be You?

    DA Switzerland needs a new ExCom Secretary ASAP! Liz Voss, our previous secretary, is still on the ExCom but as Vice Chair; she will be available to train you and guide you through the secretarial duties! If you think you might be interested, please contact her at [email protected].

    A PDF version of this job description is available here.

    ExCom_Secretary_Job_Description_page-0001.jpg

    Read more

  • published DACH Leaders in the Birthplace of Democracy in News 2019-11-07 12:01:02 -0500

    DACH Leaders in the Birthplace of Democracy

    DA Switzerland had six in-person attendees, pictured above. From left to right: Meli, Vivian, Farid, Tory, Kelli, and Liz.

    From October 11 - 13, Democrats Abroad leaders and volunteers from countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa gathered in Athens for our 2019 Regional Meeting.

    We took in the sights around the city, ate some truly delicious food, networked... And oh yeah! We brainstormed together and shared strategies from our country committees on how to find members, get them registered to vote, motivate new and existing volunteers, and win big in 2020!

    This was my third regional or international DA meeting, having previously attended the EMEA regional meeting in Madrid and the Global AGM in Tokyo. By far, my favorite part of these meetings is getting to meet other motivated Democrats from around the world and hear what works for them back in their local chapters and country committees. Some of their ideas can be implemented here in Switzerland, but due to cultural and logistical differences, not every tactic works in every country. Getting to brainstorm ideas with people who have so many different backgrounds and experiences enables us to come up with creative solutions we might not have reached otherwise.

    Additionally, many of our members are experts in their field. We had an excellent presentation in Athens by Brady Kiesling called Defending Democracy: Lessons from the Athenians. How often do you get to hear a former US diplomat, author, and archaeologist/ancient historian give a talk about democracy in the very city where it was invented around 2,500 years ago?!

    Among the many presentations given, these were some of the highlights:

    • From 2014 to 2018, there was a 147% increase in US ballots cast
    • From 2014 to 2018, there was a 322% increase in civilian US citizens abroad casting ballots
    • From 2014 to 2018, there was a 600% increase in Americans abroad using VoteFromAbroad.org
    • Big Picture Goals for 2020
      • Double the abroad civilian vote from 2016 (send out 1 mil ballots)
      • Take back the White House and the Senate and flip state senates and houses! We can do this; think about the 2019 results in Virginia!
      • Protect the House
      • Save Democracy in the US 
    • Messaging Goals for 2020 

    We learned about what it takes to run a Global Presidential Primary and tactics for reaching new American voters. We talked about social media messaging and strategies. We reaffirmed our commitment to fighting fake news and making the 2018 blue wave even bigger in 2020! I think all of the attendees returned home invigorated, excited, and determined to succeed in 2020; I know I did.


    The GPP and voter registration events will require lots of volunteers. Are you interested in getting involved? Make sure you've joined Dems Abroad and then sign up to volunteer!


  • published GPP in Switzerland 2019-10-30 10:02:20 -0400

    DACH Global Presidential Primary

    You voted, and the results are in!

     

    Candidate

    CH

    # of Votes

    CH

    % of Total

    Global

    # of Votes

    Global

    % of Total

    Biden 299 30.92% 9,059 22.66%
    Bloomberg 25 2.59% 892 2.23%
    Buttigieg 25 2.59% 616 1.54%
    Gabbard 2 0.21% 146 0.37%
    Klobuchar 10 1.03% 224 0.56%
    Patrick 0 0% 26 0.07%
    Sanders 448 46.33% 23,139 57.87%
    Steyer 0 0% 19 0.05%
    Uncommitted 0 0% 48 0.12%
    Warren 157 16.24% 5,730 14.33%
    Yang 1 0.10% 85 0.21%

    Total

    967 100% 39,984 100%

    Based on the global results, Democrats Abroad will be sending 9 delegates to the Democratic National Convention for Bernie Sanders, as well as 4 delegates for Joe Biden. None of the other candidates reached the 15% threshold required to receive a delegate.


    Voting Methods

     

      Email Votes Postal Votes In-Person Votes Total Votes
    Basel 89 3 83 175
    Geneva 259 22 84 365
    Lugano 20 5 2 27
    Zurich 261 17 113 391
    Unassigned 2   7 9
    Total 631 47 289 967

     

      Switzerland Global
    Remote Voting (Email/Postal/Fax) 70.66% 63.63%
    In-Person Voting 29.34% 36.37%

    Increased Participation

     

      2016 2020 % Increase
    Switzerland 768 967 25.91%
    Global 34,570 39,984 15.66%


  • published Meet Your DACH Zurich Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay in News 2019-09-07 07:24:44 -0400

    Meet Your DACH Zurich Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay

    Hello! Happy Saturday and Democrats Abroad Day!

    This is the second annual DA Day, which celebrates all our members and what we do to excite and motivate voters around the world.

    In honor of our day, we would like to introduce you to some of our leaders for the 2019-21 term!

    You can learn more about all of our Zurich leaders here and check out our nationalBasel, and Geneva leaders as well!


  • published Meet Your DACH Geneva Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay in News 2019-09-07 07:21:55 -0400

    Meet Your DACH Geneva Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay

    Hello! Happy Saturday and Democrats Abroad Day!

    This is the second annual DA Day, which celebrates all our members and what we do to excite and motivate voters around the world.

    In honor of our day, we would like to introduce you to some of our leaders for the 2019-21 term!

    You can learn more about all of our Geneva leaders here and check out our nationalBasel, and Zurich leaders as well!


  • published Meet Your DACH Basel Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay in News 2019-09-07 07:17:52 -0400

    Meet Your DACH Basel Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay

    Hello! Happy Saturday and Democrats Abroad Day!

    This is the second annual DA Day, which celebrates all our members and what we do to excite and motivate voters around the world.

    In honor of our day, we would like to introduce you to some of our leaders for the 2019-21 term!

    You can learn more about all of our Basel leaders here and check out our national, Geneva, and Zurich leaders as well!


  • Meet Your DA Switzerland Leaders! #DemsAbroadDay

    Hello! Happy Saturday and Democrats Abroad Day!

    This is the second annual DA Day, which celebrates all our members and what we do to excite and motivate voters around the world.

    In honor of our day, we would like to introduce you to some of our leaders for the 2019-21 term!

    You can learn more about all our national leaders here and check out our chapter leaders in Basel, Geneva, and Zurich as well!


  • Help Us Develop the Democrats Abroad Global Platform

    These are dark times and the prospect of taking our country in a more positive direction is an exciting one. Democrats Abroad is working on developing our DA Platform. We will have delegates at the DNC and have enough members globally to be treated as a large state at the National Convention. We’d love to have you involved in the development of our platform.

    To allow for as much input as possible, DA is forming Coffee Table Discussions where small groups will gather with a moderator who will collect feedback on what is important to our members and what the platform should look like. The actual discussions will roll out sometime in September but for now we are looking specifically at Phase 1 of this two phase development process.  

    We know we have members who are very passionate and knowledgeable about a variety of political concerns, from immigration reform to gerrymandering and everything in between. We can offer you a unique opportunity to have direct input in DA's platform and hopefully the DNC platform as well. If there is a political topic you are particularly passionate about and you’d like to help develop these Coffee Table Discussions, please get in touch with [email protected] and we will point you in the right direction. Specifically, we need people to gather materials and information about specific topics (of your choice) as well as potential moderators.
    This is an opportunity we hope you will be excited about!

  • Summer Report: Zurich Stands in Solidarity with Lights for Liberty

    On July 12, I participated in a vigil in solidarity with the "Lights for Liberty" movement, which organizes for the end of detention centers in the United States. This organization has witnessed and protested the subhuman conditions that asylum seekers and anyone crossing the border without a U.S. visa encounters. Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, lawyer, activist and organizer argues that, "the immigration policies and detention camps of the Trump administration meet the United Nations definition of genocide and crimes against humanity."

    According to a report from June 2019 by the Office of Inspector General from Homeland Security, all four ICE detention facilities that they inspected “had issues with expired food,” that the “segregation practices violated standards and infringed on detainee rights,” and that “detainees were not provided appropriate clothing and hygiene items to ensure they could properly care for themselves.”

    I attended the vigil here in Zurich because I myself am an immigrant and advocate for our human and civil rights. I went especially as a Guatemalan and Central American, since a high percentage of migrants are coming from my region and encountering human rights violations, and death, in these centers. CNN News reported this June that since the Trump Administration came into power, 24 migrants have died in ICE custody. Half of the people who have died in custody are under 45 years of age, and three of them were children, all from Guatemala:

    As we lit our candles, I thought about the lives of separated families, of the sons and daughters who died in detention, and of all those who have died along the migrant trail trying to reach the U.S. Mexico border. May we never forget these images of terror and may we continue to denounce the crimes that the U.S. government is committing. This is happening today, right now as I write, and it will be happening when you read this. May we identify these violations in every country where we live, and may we continue to resist xenophobic discourse and policies that do not serve our vibrantly diverse world. Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime. 

    Written by Maya Márquez Román


I'm an expat SAHM in Switzerland and a proud Democrat.