MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF DEMOCRATS ABROAD GUATEMALA
Saturday, March 20, 2021 Via Zoom
The Secretary determined that quorum was met with eight online via WebEx and 21 proxies (25 members is required to meet quorum). The meeting was officially called to order at 11:06 am.
Protocols for the meeting were made by John Chudy, Chair
Executive Committee Attendees: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Vincent D’Agati, Treasurer; Phyllis MacCartney, Secretary; Juan Pablo Arias, Counsel; Blaine Stokes, Member At Large; Karl Holzworh, Member At Large; and appointed officers, Linda Conard and Sue Patterson, Nominations and Elections Committee; Kee Adams Evans, Events Coordinator; Johnny Figueroa Mont, Huehuetenango Meet-Up Chair; Rachel Sheyno, Xela Meet-up Chair; Carla Perez, Communications and Media Coordinator.
Members in Attendance: Anne Thornton, Bruce Darling, Norma Gifford, Michael Plisowki, Rita Joyce, MaryAnn Anderson, John Matson, Irene Saletan, Ellen Christenson, Mark Schomer, James Mast, Martha Mast, Miguel Madrigal (guest speaker).
Proxies Received: Thea Hocker, Robin Straub, Peter Brown, Maritza Ortiz, Cynthis Plisowski, Phyllis Mannoogian, David Dean, Deborah Chandler, Bryan Stipek, Robert Klein, Ricardo Frohmader, Kenneth Veronda.
Members attending by Zoom and proxies received totaled 42. Quorum was met.
Phyllis MacCartney reported that the membership in 2020 was 478 and had grown to 558 in 2021. The minutes from the 2020 Annual Meeting were read. A motion to approve was made by Anne Thornton and seconded by Johnny Figueroa Mont. The motion carried unanimously.
Vincent D’Agati Prepared slides showing opening balance as of March 2020, and income and expenses during the year, and a comparative analysis over three years. Due to Covid-19 Restrictions DAGT was not able to generate much money with regular fundraising events nor hold events that would incur expenses. As of March 2021, DAGT had a Beginning Balance of Q6408; during year DAGT had an Income of Q6,147; Expenses for the year totaled Q372I Income/Loss Q2,418. The Ending Balance is Q8,826
Motion to accept the report was made by Mark Schomer and seconded by Martha Mast. The motion carried unanimously.
Events Coordinator’s Report
Kee Adams reported that March 2020 got off to a good start with DAGT’s in-person voting for the DA Global Primary on Super Tuesday on March 3rd where 127 votes for the primary were cast. Kee held a voter registration event at Enlaces on March 14 asking people to request absentee ballots. Then the country was put under lock down and not much could be done. All Excom meetings were from then on held on line and addition voter registration events took place. The positive thing that came from this was that Excom meetings were well attended and successful. John and Kee assisted with voters with registration and ballot issues by email, phone and text message. On December 12th, DAGT held a Zoom celebration of Biden’s winning the presidential election.
Kee continues to encourage all members to request their ballot every year at www.votefromabroad.org to ensure that they can vote in their state of residence.
As of now there are no scheduled in-person events scheduled for 2021. Kee will monitor when we can have them again. She also proposed Zoom Movie night showing Trafficked In America and Zoom Meet-Ups where current members bring non-members with interest in DAGT.
John and Kee will continue to assist in voter registration so people can vote in their federal and state elections.
No news yet on if we can have an Independence Day celebration.
Kee emphasized that all members should join DA caucuses. She stressed that the caucuses offer one of the best avenues for overseas Democrats to engage in activities that relate to issues of importance in the United States. Currently there are eight caucuses you can join on-line: Asian American Pacific Islander, Black Caucus, LGBTQ+, Hispanic, Progressive, Women’s, Veterans and Youth. Anyone can join any of them and all are welcome. Kee is a member of all eight.
John and Kee stressed that joining one or more of the caucuses is a good way to be more involved. A motion was made to approve Kee’s report which was seconded and carried unanimously.
Communications and Media Report
Carla Perez described the various activities during 2020. They included 22 Facebook Ads, FACEBOOK Post Latino, 39 posts in Spanish but there is no video content in Spanish at this time. Also a Democrats Abroad Facebook page has been developed. Democrats Abroad is looking into developing an Instagram post to attract younger audiences. She encouraged us all to join the 3 groups. Amotion was approved and seconded and all were in agreement,
Meet-Up Chair Reports
Rachel Sheyno from Xela stated the area was hard hit by Covid and 90% of Expats moved out last March and April. She held voter registration events in her home and through personal phone calls. She was able to help seven people register to vote and helped another five voters to return their ballots to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City by Cargo Express. She noted that there is little published information about voting in Spanish.
Johnny Figueroa Mont from HueHue is working on community visits, university visits targeted on both students and professors with dual nationality status, and radio ads to reach dual citizens in his area. Close to year’s end he and John Chudy plan to get together to go through the process of reaching out to dual citizens and training Johnny in the use of VoteFromAbroad.org.
John Chudy presented Democrats Abroad’s global activities during the past year. Voters in all the Americas Region country committees, that include Canada, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Guatemala, participated in the Global Presidential Primary (GPP). In-person voting in many of these country committees was responsible for big growth in membership of 30% or more. Country committees that had multiple in-person voting centers for the GPP experienced strong growth in membership such as Costa Rica that had 10 in-person voting centers, experienced 61% growth by adding 850 new members. The same patterned held globally, e.g., Germany which had 40 in-person centers and registered strong numbers in GPP turnout and in new memberships.
Globally, Democrats Abroad voters in the GPP cast 39,984 votes from over 50 countries. That total compares well with other smaller U.S. states, e.g., Wyoming, North Dakota and Alaska all of which cast under 20,000 votes each in their respective presidential primaries and caucuses.
Funds raised by Democrats Abroad from its own members totaled more than $600,000, and additionally received a $35,000 grant from the DNC for a grand total of $727,724 available for the 2020 Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort. This represented a 454% increase for Democrats Abroad over the last presidential cycle in 2020. These funds helped with Facebook ads, Twitter ads, other social media ads, and related GOTV promotions. DAGT had eight paid Facebook ads costing $1,067, most of which were funded by DA and DNC funds. The ads reached over 334,000 people in Guatemala but it is impossible to measure how many resulted in votes.
John also reported on that there are monthly Americas Region meetings headed by Kathy Rothschild, our Regional Vice Chair. The next Americas Regional meeting will take place May 8th, when a new Regional Vice Chair will be elected fopr the 2021-2023 term. The global Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) meeting will take place May 14 to 16th. A new DPCA executive committee will be elected at that meeting. Both the Americas Regional meeting and the DPCA meeting will take place via WebEx.
In Memoriam – DAGT lost three long-time members during the past year.
Dave Evans July 3, 2020
Tom McCoullough November 1, 2020
Henry Tschinkel February 14, 2021
Amendment to DAGT By-Laws
A proposal to amend the bylaws was presented by Juan Pablo Aris, Counsel. The proposed amendment, notice of which was provided to the full membership 30 days prior to the Annual General Meeting, seeks to add language defining the role of Member At Large. The current version mentions that two Members At Large are to be elected to serve on the Executive Committee of DAGT but does not define their role.
A motion to adopt the amendment to define Member At Large duties was made by Blaine Stokes and seconded by Mark Schomer. The motion carried unanimously.
Election of Officers for 2021-2023
Linda Conard was named chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee in January 2021. She described her role in receiving and managing nominations and overseeing the elections. Beginning shortly after her acceptance of the role, Linda described how she received nominations for all positions including multiple nominations for Chair, Vice Chair and Member At Large by February 20th. Subsequent to February 20th, and prior to the Annual General Meeting four candidates withdrew their nominations, leaving only one nominee per office, or, as Linda described, a slate of candidates for each office. Linda also described that per DAGT’s bylaws, with no electronic voting taking place and with the election taking place only today, members in attendance may make nominations from the floor. None were forthcoming. A motion to adopt the slate of candidates by acclamation was made by Mark Schomer and seconded by Blaine Stokes. The motion carried unanimously.
The DAGT Executive Committee 2021 to 2023 is
Kee Adams Evans Chair
John Chudy Vice Chair
Phyllis MacCartney Secretary
Vincent D’Agati Treasurer
Juan Pablo Aris Counsel
Karl Holzwarth Member at Large
Mary Lou Ridinger Member at Large
Presentation of Resolutions
DAGT has produced three resolutions that will be presented to the DPCA for consideration at its Global meeting May 14-16, 2021.
- Resolution on Central American Immigration in 2021 – proposed by John Chudy
- Strengthening Democratic Institutions in the United States of America – proposed by Vicent D’Agati
- Resolution on Polarization of the Electorate – proposed by Mary Lou Ridinger
The resolutions were discussed in order and some friendly amendments were made an accepted.
A motion to approve all three resolutions carried unanimously. They will be shared with regional DPCA members for endorsement before submitting them to the Resolutions Committee on or before April 15, 2021.
DA Youth Caucus leader Miguel Madrigal from DA Costa Rica, joined us to share his experience canvassing door to door in Georgia for Senate Runoff Elections that took place January 5, 2021. During two weeks prior to the election, Miguel, with his brother, teamed up with two groups, Mijente and Unite Here! to knock on doors to secure votes from Latino voters with the organizations Mijente and Unite Here. The two brothers knocked on nearly 1,000 doors with great success. Their efforts helped turn Georgia from a red to a blue by electing Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate.
Kee Adams Evans presented the push for passing the Equal Rights Amendment. First introduced in 1973, 38 states are needed to ratify this amendment. Kee urged all of us to call our senators and write personal stories by signing into democratsabroad.org/era.
Juan Pablo Aris moved and Karl Holzwarth seconded a motion to adjourn. The gavel fell at 1:41pm.