Democrats Abroad 2020: Our Impact

2020 has been a record breaking year for Democrats Abroad, as we have nearly tripled our outreach to Americans abroad and are on track to double the vote from abroad. The unique challenges presented by the global COVID pandemic and international mail disruption make these achievements particularly significant.


In 2016

  • 930k US citizens and military abroad (UOCAVA voters) received ballots 
  • 633k UOCAVA voters returned their ballots, 
  • 48% of ballots successfully returned were from Americans abroad voting in what are this year’s battleground states

In 2020

Our nonpartisan voter support tool - - has seen more than 766,680 unique visitors visit the site more than 1 million times - nearly 3x 2016 traffic.

  • Germany visits up by 491%
  • Mexico visits up by 345%
  • Canada visits up by 231%

 We estimate that in 2020 approximately 1.8 million eligible American Voters living abroad have received ballots (compared to 930,156 ballots received in 2016).

 50% of ballots from American Voters Abroad will be returned to battleground states in this year’s election!

We are on target to DOUBLE 2016 voter turnout abroad

We expect to see a million or more votes sent home from abroad! 

This success was made possible through the 18,000 volunteers who generously provide their support, as well as the donations of over 4000 donors, who donated over $995k this cycle to Democrats Abroad (an all volunteer run organization with no external funding). 

Our Efforts and Outreach

Drop in Voter Assistance

Our Zoom rooms provided 1:1 voter assistance 5 days a week, helping 5k+ abroad voters with their questions. 

Intercom and FreshDesk help desks

Our online help desks for abroad voters and volunteers helped 95k voters with their voter questions.

Phone banking Democrats Abroad

1500 Democrats Abroad volunteers have made over 600,000 calls this election. 

Digital advertising to Americans around the world

Democrats Abroad created and managed by far the largest global voter abroad ad program this cycle. (FVAP and OVF ran ad campaigns as well) 

DA global and local teams advertised in 50+ countries via facebook, youtube, google, native ads, banner ads, radio, display ads, and more. These ads generated millions of impressions and sent hundreds of thousands of referrals to 

Earned media

Democrats Abroad press teams at both the local and global level earned more than 215 mentions in the press this year.

Highlights include: The Atlantic, BBC, Buzzfeed,, CNN, Deutsche Welle, Euronews, The Irish Times, LA Times,  NBC News, National Public Radio (NPR), Newsweek, The New York Times, Politico, Toronto Star, USA Today, Vice, VOX, Washington Post, Yahoo News. 

Ambassadors for Biden

DA partnered with Ambassadors for Biden - an innovative outreach program led by Ambassador Bruce Heyman and Vicki Heyman and which worked with the Biden for President campaign. Together, we leveraged the networks of a large, bipartisan group of former US Ambassadors to amplify and enhance DA’s own get out the vote and fundraising efforts, as well as expand our outreach to Americans abroad. 

Our Story: 
View from Abroad:

Voter Protection

  • Individual leaders and volunteers testified in two Federal cases on behalf of voters abroad this fall. The first case was resolved with a successful judgement against Postmaster DeJoy. 
  • Worked with the Ambassadors for Biden team on a series of white papers directed to battleground Democratic states that still require hard copy ballot return, providing information on the efficacy of electronic voting. 
  • Currently run a voter protection division that includes a director, 9 lawyer volunteers, and voter protection volunteers tasked with organizing and managing the escalation of cases from our country committees and voter help communications. 
  • Worked on 315 cases to date
  • Ran state primary elections survey of voter issues (4119 respondents)
  • Currently running a general election survey of voter abroad issues (almost 10k respondents so far)
  • Currently working with the Florida and Georgia Democratic parties on ballot curing notifications. 
  • Providing ballot curing information to Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Mississippi, and Ohio voters abroad.

Votefromabroad Stats

  • Less than 40% of VFA 2020 users were already DA members
  • 6 countries accounted for over half the users:  Canada, UK, Germany, France, Mexico, Australia
  • VFA users logged in from 221 different countries
  • 4 states accounted for over 40% of the voters:  CA, NY, TX, FL
  • 130 different parties listed
  • 75% declared as Democrats and 2.9% as Republicans
  • 58.6% were female and only 37.5% as male – other 4% undeclared/other
  • Over 95% asked for their ballot via email (our messaging worked!)
  • ~45% of our voters were 39 or younger
  • 5% born this century

Joe Biden Reaches Out to Americans Abroad

Thank you, Joe Biden, for your letter to all Americans residing abroad. As you note, this is the most important election of our lifetime. Our votes matter and our voices matter. We believe this deeply, and Democrats Abroad is working tirelessly to make sure every voter abroad has the opportunity to successfully cast their ballot. We are also working to make sure that our voices are heard. 

Towards that goal, we appreciate that senior staff of the Biden campaign have sat down with our policy teams and discussed with us many of the specific issues and concerns that Americans abroad face. 

We appreciate your commitment to ensuring an agile and well functioning State Department able to serve Americans abroad. We appreciate your understanding of our need for consular, visa, immigration, and adoption services to support our families. And we appreciate that you understand the need to seriously review taxation laws which create financial barriers and complexities unique to Americans abroad. Our policy teams are ready to work with your administration to build concrete next steps that will alleviate the issues we all face. 

But before we begin that work, we will first deliver an all-time-high number of votes from abroad in November, and help elect the Biden/Harris ticket and as many Democrats as possible, up and down the ballot, and across the country. 

Letter from Joe Biden to Americans Abroad

DA Responds to Trump's Threat to Disregard Election Results

Statement from Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad: 

Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power and respect the results of the general election must not be ignored. 

This is a moment which transcends party or politics. We call on every member of Congress - Republican, Democrat and Independent- to speak up NOW and reject his comment. 

We ask that these democratically elected leaders state clearly that they continue to support the United States electoral system. And that these leaders pledge to uphold the state certified results of the ballots cast by US citizens.  

Statement on Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Democrats across the world are devastated today by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - our dearly beloved RBG. A light that we all looked to has been extinguished. A tireless champion of justice has been taken. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and those touched personally by her loss.

Justice Ginsburg was a pioneer and giant in law and civil rights. She pioneered jurisprudence which focused on breaking discrimination against women. Her career culminated with nearly thirty years as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, where she served from 1993 until her passing last night after a long and hard fought battle against cancer.

It is to the Supreme Court that we must immediately turn our attention. Her passing left a vacancy on the bench 6 weeks before the presidential election. In 2016 the Republicans determined that a new Supreme Court Justice shouldn't be seated in the midst of a presidential election - that the people of the United States should elect a president and that president should fill the vacant seat. But now the Republicans say the opposite.

Vice President Joe Biden said last night, "Tonight, and in the coming days, we should be focused on the loss of Justice Ginsburg and her enduring legacy. But just so there is no doubt, let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg. This was the position that the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were nearly nine months before the election. That is the position the United States Senate must take now, when the election is less than two months away. We are talking about the Constitution and the Supreme Court. That institution should not be subject to politics."

US Senators Demand Answers from US Embassies On Voter Assistance

Sept 2, Washington DC: Senior US senators sent letters today to nearly two dozen US embassies world-wide, addressing concerns over US citizen voter support and querying the embassies on their voter assistance plans for this fall, especially in light of postal delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The three senators who signed the letterSenate Rules Committee ranking member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, had been part of a group of senators that had previously messaged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for the State department's plans regarding voter support. 

While Pompeo did not provide an answer to their original letter, ambassadors and embassy staff are required to answer questions addressed to them by Congress. 

Ambassador Bruce Heyman, who served as US Ambassador to Canada under Obama, noted, "As a former ambassador I am appalled by the diminished services that some US embassies are providing to US citizens. At a time when postal delivery between the US and the world has slowed down if not stopped, the State department and each and every embassy should be stepping up its support and guaranteeing that Americans abroad are able to effectively return their ballots to the US in time to be counted in the general election this year."  

Democrats Abroad Global Chair, Julia Bryan, added, "Democrats Abroad very much appreciates the outreach these senators are doing on behalf of voters abroad. With the massive mail slow downs we are seeing with mail delivery to the US, all voters need this support. We stand ready to help spread the word about updates in embassy procedures, and in the meantime, continue our work helping to register voters through our voter tool, and protect their votes through our voter protection work." 



Questions addressed to the embassies were: 

1. What steps has your embassy taken to help Americans living in {country} to vote this year?

2. What are the current and anticipated delivery times for mail arriving to the U.S. from {country}?

3. Has USPS staff provided any guidance, formally or informally, in writing or verbally, regarding the delivery of mail during the pandemic? Please provide copies of any such

4. Americans overseas use a variety of means, including diplomatic pouches, to send federal election mail back to the United States. Will your Embassy provide diplomatic pouch
services to Americans returning election mail? If necessary, what additional steps are you taking to provide alternatives and ensure the return of ballots is prioritized? Please
include information regarding whether the Embassy plans to provide courier services for election mail, including whether Americans in {country} will be able to track their ballots.

5. Are consular services at your embassy currently limited? If additional consular officers are needed to ensure the ballots of overseas voters can be safely and securely returned, is there a plan to shift resources to this vital American Citizen Service?

6. A review of embassy websites indicates that procedures for returning the ballots of overseas voters varies widely. Some embassies require person-to-person contact to
deliver a ballot while others do not. What procedures are currently in place for receiving and returning ballots during the pandemic at your embassy?

7. Have you taken steps to establish voter education or information campaigns to advise Americans living in X on how to securely and safely cast their ballots during the
pandemic in sufficient time to be counted?



About Democrats Abroad

Democrats Abroad represents the interests and values of Democratic Americans living abroad. Recognized as a state party by the DNC, Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States, striving to provide Americans abroad a Democratic voice in our government and to mobilize the overseas vote. Democrats Abroad includes 45 active country committees, and our members live in more than 190 countries around the globe, voting in every state and Congressional district in the U.S. For more information:

Iowa, Missouri, Rhode Island and Vermont Act to Protect the Rights of Overseas Voters; Other States Should Follow

Washington, D.C., August 24: Democrats Abroad applauds the states of Iowa, Missouri, Rhode Island and Vermont for adapting their voting rules to ensure that their citizens overseas are able to vote this year, despite major mail service disruptions across the globe. 

In Rhode Island, voters may now return their ballots by email, Missouri has also confirmed that they will allow voters abroad to return their ballots by email, extending a practice they began in their state primary elections, and Iowa’s Legislative Council has approved Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Emergency Election Directive for the General Election allowing email ballot return for abroad voters. 

In Vermont, as part of a series of statewide elections directives issued by Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, Vermonters living in countries experiencing mail service suspension to the U.S. are now allowed to return ballots by email. 

**UPDATE AUGUST 31** Wyoming is now rolling out email and fax ballot return options for voters abroad. Ballot return options differ on a county by county basis, so we recommend that voters get in touch with their local election office directly for more information. State election office contact details available here

Democrats Abroad encourages other states to take the same approach to ensure enfranchisement of citizens and military voters overseas.

Read more

FAQ: All About Your Ballot in 2020

Updated Monday September 7, 2020


Normally, it’s not that complicated to vote from abroad, but 2020 is no normal year.  The COVID-19 crisis has caused severe distress to postal systems around the world, including the United States, resulting in significant delays to delivery of mail. 

It is imperative that voters in states that require voted ballot return by postal mail take early action to request their absentee ballots, and then vote and return them as soon as possible.  

If you vote in a state that accepts voted ballots by email or fax, hurray! But do make sure you’ve requested your ballot this year - keep reading for more information. 

We are going to walk you through the whole voting process below.  Please pay extra attention to the questions about the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), especially if your state requires postal return of the voted ballot.




Read more

Tune in to the National Convention with Democrats Abroad

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Join Democrats Abroad for three special Democrats Abroad convention events :

Tuesday, August 18, 10am Eastern - Ambassadors Tony Harrington (Brazil), and Fitz Haney (Costa Rica)
Wednesday, August 19, 9am Eastern - Governor Phil Murphy, Joe McCarthy, Ambassador Heyman and Tom Perez join our Delegation breakfast call
Thursday, August 20, 9am Eastern - Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, & special guests join our Delegation breakfast call 

Listen in (and add your voice) during caucus and council meetings, join the Pre-Show chats on Twitch, and don't miss the prime time speakers each night!

Prime Time Convention Schedule Highlights (

Opening night of the convention, Monday August 17th - we’ll hear from the many Americans who are rising up to take on the crises facing our country and join Joe Biden in rebuilding the country and moving it forward.

Special speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders, former first lady Michelle Obama, and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Also included in Monday’s schedule are Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

Tuesday, August 18th - Roll call - the Democratic Party's 57 states and territories (including Democrats Abroad!) officially cast our votes to nominate Joe Biden to become the next president of the United States of America. 

Special speakers include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill Clinton, and Dr. Jill Biden! 

Wednesday, August 19th - we’ll hear from Kamala Harris and nominate her as the next Vice President of the United States. We'll also hear from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and others.

Closing night, Thursday, August 20th - Vice President Joe Biden will accept the Democratic nomination and speaks about his vision for uniting America.

Special speakers include : Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Sen. Chris Coons, and the Biden Family.

The 2020 Democratic National Convention Begins

Delegates Abroad Cast their Votes for the Democratic Presidential Candidate and Prepare for the Convention

  • Americans abroad are gearing up for the Democratic National Convention next week.
  • Delegates from Democrats Abroad are in the process of voting on their ballots for the Democratic Presidential candidate, the 2020 Democratic Platform, and Rules amendments.
  • Democrats Abroad’s 24 representatives are attending from all over the world - from Kathmandu to Kigali.
  • Democrats Abroad to host two special events, first with Ambassadors for Biden then with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Across the US, state parties and delegates are gearing up to participate in this year’s Democratic National Convention online and at home. Delegates from Democrats Abroad are also joining in - rallying together on zoom calls and downloading their ballots as they prepare to attend the Democratic Party’s first ever online convention in locations that stretch from Kathmandu to Kigali.

The Democratic party includes the 50 states, DC, the territories - and Democrats Abroad - a unique state party that represents the 9 million Americans who live outside the United States. Democrats Abroad will be represented at the convention by 24 representatives logging on from all over the world.   

This year’s “Convention Across America” will be held online from August 17th to August 20th. Although the main events will fall within the week of the convention, delegates have already started casting their votes for their presidential candidate, as well as for the 2020 Democratic Platform, and for Rules amendments.

Typically a massive, week-long event with tens of thousands of Democrats in attendance, the covid crisis has made this year’s convention radically different, creating an opportunity for unprecedented public engagement. This year’s convention will feature online caucus and council meetings, and a two hour program of speeches and celebration each night (Central Time). While most formal work will be finalized before the convention begins, the online caucus meetings are expected to include interactive opportunities for conversation and debate. More information about participating in these meetings here:  

Julia Bryan, the Global Chair of Democrats Abroad and DA Delegation Chair notes, “I’m proud to lead our delegation this year as we come together with our fellow state parties to nominate our Democratic Presidential candidate. I’m also proud to be part of a party that has responded so mindfully to the pandemic and created an event that is both safe and extremely interactive for our delegates.

The National Convention is a significant moment as we reach out to Americans abroad around the world and make sure they know that they too can vote from abroad, and help Democrats back home win. (Go to to get started!).” 

The DNC is the official nominating convention for the Democratic Party.  It is an essential step in the presidential election process where the party unites to formally nominate its candidate for president, vote in the platform to guide the party for the next four years, as well as any amendments to the Party’s rules. This year’s voting is done online over a two week period from August 3 to August 15, and is carried out by each of the delegates from the 57 state parties that make up the DNC, including Democrats Abroad. 

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Kamala Harris Announcement

Democrats Abroad is delighted by the news of the nomination of Senator Kamala Harris to be Vice President Joe Biden's running mate this year. 

I'm ecstatic that VP Joe Biden chose Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. The senator is a competent and intelligent woman, and I have no doubt she could take over as President at any time if needed. Together, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are ready to take on the big fights ahead, and we will be there to support them in their efforts.
Angela Fobbs, Chair of the Global Black Caucus 

As the first AAPI and Black woman to be on a major party’s presidential ticket, Senator Kamala Harris has proven to be a competent and strong leader. We can trust she will be able to carry out the responsibilities of the office of Vice President already starting on her first day in office. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the leaders America needs right now to get back on track!
Emily Lines & Cory Lemke, Co-chairs of the Global Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus

Senator Kamala Harris is an experienced, pragmatic leader who’s uniquely feminine combination of toughness and empathy is exactly what our country so desperately needs today.  Women have often been the ones to step forward in critical times to take on the greatest challenges. I am confident that Kamala is the right woman to face these challenges alongside Joe Biden to defend the rights of all Americans and finally heal our ravaged nation.
Ann Hesse, Chair of the Global Women's Caucus