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Democrats Abroad Calls on Remaining States to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment

Democrats Abroad, the largest organization for Americans living overseas, fully supports the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and is calling on state legislatures across the U.S. to move toward its ratification.

The action comes just days after a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates rejected the ERA proposal, and after the weekend of the Women’s March, which saw advocates across the country and around the world rally in support of the ERA and gender equality.

“Over eighty-five percent (85%) of the world’s nations protect women’s rights as part of their constitution. The United States is not one of them,” noted Democrats Abroad’s ERA Project Coordinator Shari Temple. “As Americans abroad, many of us live in countries where we have more rights than women do in the United States. Ratifying the ERA is a not a partisan issue but rather a human rights issue: equality of rights under U.S law must not be denied or abridged on account of sex.”

In 2018, Democrats Abroad unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the Democratic Party to support the ratification of the ERA. This has galvanized Americans abroad in support of the organization’s work toward gender equality.

Members are reaching out to legislatures in the thirteen states that have yet to ratify the ERA, while advocating on social media and organizing live events worldwide. This past weekend, Democrats Abroad joined Women’s Marches and hosted events supporting the ERA in countries including Canada, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Handwritten petitions are also being circulated among Americans in at least seven countries.

Like all constitutional amendments, the ERA must be adopted by three-fourths of states in order to be ratified, a step that advocates have been fighting for since Congress proposed the ERA 47 years ago. This week, a GOP-led subcommittee in the Virginia House rejected the proposal that could have led to Virginia becoming that 38th state. While advocates hope it may be picked up in the full committee, this would most likely require significant public pressure.

“Opponents of the ERA make threats of what could happen when women and men attain equality under U.S. law. With our experience of living, working and raising families in countries where equality for women is a given, we know this is pure nonsense,” explained Anne Hesse, Chair of the Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus. “Enshrining gender equality in the Constitution would benefit not only American women but society as a whole. We call upon state legislatures across the U.S. to affirm our equal rights and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.”

 


Democrats Abroad Calls on Remaining States to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment

Democrats Abroad, the largest organization for Americans living overseas, fully supports the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and is calling on state legislatures across the U.S. to move toward its ratification.

The action comes just days after a subcommittee in the Virginia House of Delegates rejected the ERA proposal, and after the weekend of the Women’s March, which saw advocates across the country and around the world rally in support of the ERA and gender equality.

“Over eighty-five percent (85%) of the world’s nations protect women’s rights as part of their constitution. The United States is not one of them,” noted Democrats Abroad’s ERA Project Coordinator Shari Temple. “As Americans abroad, many of us live in countries where we have more rights than women do in the United States. Ratifying the ERA is a not a partisan issue but rather a human rights issue: equality of rights under U.S law must not be denied or abridged on account of sex.”

In 2018, Democrats Abroad unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the Democratic Party to support the ratification of the ERA. This has galvanized Americans abroad in support of the organization’s work toward gender equality.

Members are reaching out to legislatures in the thirteen states that have yet to ratify the ERA, while advocating on social media and organizing live events worldwide. This past weekend, Democrats Abroad joined Women’s Marches and hosted events supporting the ERA in countries including Canada, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Handwritten petitions are also being circulated among Americans in at least seven countries.

Like all constitutional amendments, the ERA must be adopted by three-fourths of states in order to be ratified, a step that advocates have been fighting for since Congress proposed the ERA 47 years ago. This week, a GOP-led subcommittee in the Virginia House rejected the proposal that could have led to Virginia becoming that 38th state. While advocates hope it may be picked up in the full committee, this would most likely require significant public pressure.

“Opponents of the ERA make threats of what could happen when women and men attain equality under U.S. law. With our experience of living, working and raising families in countries where equality for women is a given, we know this is pure nonsense,” explained Anne Hesse, Chair of the Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus. “Enshrining gender equality in the Constitution would benefit not only American women but society as a whole. We call upon state legislatures across the U.S. to affirm our equal rights and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.”

 


Democrats Abroad Celebrates Midterm Wins & Election Highlights

Democrats saw a number of critical wins in the 2018 midterm elections, the most notable of which were in Congress, where Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives.

"Winning the House is huge," said Julia Bryan, International Chair of Democrats Abroad. "We have protected vital social legislation and will be able to push back against the anti-democratic direction of Trump and his cronies. Our victories tonight put the Republicans on notice that voters will not let them get away with robbing middle class America."

The Democratic Party also "flipped" seven state legislative chambers and seven Governorships, including Tony Evers ousting Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Laura Kelly defeating Kris Kobach in Kansas. Jared Polis of Colorado has become the country's first openly gay man elected governor, and Leon Guerrero was elected Guam’s first female governor.

Women and minorities drove victories for Democrats across the country. Of the 29 House seats gained by Democrats, 20 are women, including the first ever Muslim women (Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar) and the first ever Native American women (Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland) elected to serve in the House. As a result, there will be more women in the 116th Congress than ever before. 

The Senate map was tough and a steep uphill battle, but races in Arizona and Florida are still too close to call; Mike Espy advances to a runoff in Mississippi; and most importantly, Jackie Rosen won Nevada for the Democrats.

Voters also passed progressive ballot initiatives, including expanding overall voting rights in Michigan and Maryland, and in Florida, voters passed Amendment 4, which will restore voting rights for more Americans than any measure since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

These victories were driven in part by ballots from Americans overseas, who turned out by the thousands to have their votes counted in state and congressional race across the country. Democrats Abroad mobilizes volunteers around the world to support overseas voter outreach, education and participation.

"Our volunteers have done a remarkable job this year," notes Bryan. "We made over 150,000 calls to members, and registered tens of thousands of new voters through online outreach and in person voter registration drives. The work paid off: voter engagement has increased 800% since the last midterms in 2014, and we know that votes from abroad will made a big impact in races across the country."

Americans abroad have been the margin of victory in key races of previous years, including Sen Maggie Hassan's 2016 race in New Hampshire and Roy Cooper's race for Governor of North Carolina that same year.

 


LGBT* Rights Must Be Protected

Democrats Abroad strongly opposes the Trump administration's efforts to marginalize LGBTI Americans and to define transgender and intersex citizens "out of existence." 

A recent memo from the Department of Health and Human Services introduces a policy that would "define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with."

In response, Democrats Abroad LGBT Caucus Co-Chair and DNC Representative Martha McDevitt-Pugh provided the following statement:

This is another attempt by the Trump administration to deny rights and recognition to LGBTI people. 1.7% of the population is intersex. Young children born with ambiguous gender traits have been subjected to unnecessary surgeries without their consent to fit them into traditional gender categories. Many states are finally recognizing a third gender on official documents.

This is a move by the federal government to deny transgender Americans and those with an intersex condition the right to define their gender identity and be recognized as first-class citizens.

Democrats Abroad is a strong advocate of LGBTI equality and supports issues that LGBTI Americans face abroad, including as access to government services and benefits for same-sex spouses and family members

 


Americans Abroad March for Family Reunification in the US

Democrats Abroad joined dozens of other groups this weekend to march in cities around the world, calling on legislators to ensure that there is a safe, expedited solution to reunify those families that have been separated and offers a reasonable solution for asylum seekers and immigrants. The organization, representing the 9 million overseas Americans, has held marches and rallies around the world on issues including gender equality and guns safety legislation, science and immigration.

Speaking on the issue, Democrats Abroad International Chair Julia Bryan explained, “As Americans abroad, we understand what it’s like to live between cultures and countries. And a great many of us live in countries that continue to wrestle with immigration issues of their own. But nowhere in the world is it acceptable to be separating or incarcerating families - indefinitely, at that. Our members, like Americans across the U.S. and our friends around the world, will not stand for this treatment. We’re speaking out because it’s right. Because we must.”

Ana Blackstad, Chair of the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus added, “It’s no secret that Trump holds extremely bigoted beliefs when it comes to immigrants who play such a critical role in the United States and his own businesses. We've spoken out about his ongoing attempts to ban Muslim immigrants and target DACA recipients with harsh policies. But Trump crosses a different line entirely when he holds thousands of children hostage  for his wall. Families should not be incarcerated. Children should not be locked up.”

Recent events, including President Trump’s most recent executive order, have only exacerbated the concern over America’s immigration practices, suggesting the possibility of indefinite incarceration for families, no end to the practice of separating families, no plan to reunify the thousands already separated, in addition to the labeling of thousands fleeing for their lives as criminals rather than asylum seekers.

”This humanitarian crisis is one created entirely by the Trump administration and those in Congress who choose not to enact legislation that would override his directive.” added Bryan “These practices are entirely unjust, inhumane and unAmerican. They go against what we strive to be as a nation. And the Republican party has demonstrated that they have no qualms with supporting it. That’s why at our rallies we’ll also be encouraging Americans to register and request their ballots. Republicans in office have proven they can’t fix it. So we will. It’s time to vote them out.”

Democrats Abroad participated and held marches and rallies this weekend in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Grenoble, Guadalajara, Lyon, Madrid, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Strasbourg, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Valencia, Vienna, Wiesbaden, and London.

 

 


Democrats Abroad Condemns the SCOTUS Decision to Purge Voter Rolls

Democrats Abroad condemns the Supreme Court's decision to allow Ohio to purge their voter rolls. This is a dangerous precedent, and it is clear that it will be used by other red states to discourage voter turnout back home.

American abroad voters will also be affected. Please be aware that your registration could also be removed from your state’s list of active voters. Voter roll purges are happening in other states, and we expect this ruling will lead to an increase in the future.

What voters can do to ensure successful voting this year: 

1. Go to votefromabroad.org and fill out, print, sign and then send in your ballot request to your local election office back in the US. We suggest emailing in your request as the fastest and safest method for making sure your form is delivered. 

2. After you have sent in your request, get in touch with your local election office and confirm that you are registered. (Any problems, please get in touch at gotv@democratsabroad.org). 

What you can do to make sure others can vote this year: 

The Republicans are using lots of different suppression tactics to keep people from voting both in the US and abroad - purging voter rolls, spreading disinformation, closing polling centers and more. Here's information on how you can help fight the spread of misinformation to voters abroad. 

 


Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus Statement on NFL Anthem Policy

Last Wednesday, the National Football League announced a new policy requiring that, when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played before games during the upcoming season, “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” Teams whose players kneel or otherwise fail to “show respect for the flag,” as the league’s statement puts it a second time, will be fined. It is counter-productive to demand respect for the flag while undermining the principles for which it stands.

The Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus - with full support from the broader Democrats Abroad organization - regrets the NFL’s decision to force players to stand during the national anthem. We see this as an infringement on basic rights of self-expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. More broadly, it may diminish freedom of expression by employees and limit workers’ rights. Protest is one of the highest forms of patriotism. For these reasons, we applaud the statement by the NFL players’ union.

We need to focus on why the NFL players are kneeling. The critical issues of police brutality, racial injustice, mass incarceration (2.2 million people), and more, which animate today’s civil rights movement, are eloquently summarized in Colin Kaepernick’s April 21st acceptance speech when he received Amnesty International's 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award. It is necessary to call out and put the brakes on these accelerating anti-democratic actions before they further limit civil and workers’ rights.

As Kaepernick says, “Love is at the root of our resistance”.

Watch Colin Kaepernick's Speech Before Amnesty International to learn the compelling reasons for taking a knee during the National Anthem.

#BlackLivesMatter

 

 


Democrats Abroad Statement on the 2020 Census

Democrats Abroad has submitted the following statement to Representative Trey Gowdy, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, and Representative Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee:

Dear Chairman Gowdy and Ranking Member Cummings,

Thank you for holding today’s hearing on the 2020 census briefing. I appreciate having the opportunity to share with the Committee the collective voices of many of your constituents.

As the International Chair of Democrats Abroad, I write today with the American overseas community’s perspective in regard to the Administration’s desire to include asking for respondents’ citizenship status on the upcoming census. As you may know, Democrats Abroad is the official branch of the Democratic National Committee for the millions of U.S. citizens living outside of America’s borders and territories. We closely follow the actions in Congress from abroad and advise our members to take action as appropriate.

In addition to nineteen states’ attorneys general[1] and six former Census Bureau directors[2], I offer our perspective of strong opposition to the Department of Commerce’s unnecessarily enquiry about U.S. citizenship. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly states the need for the federal government to enumerate the citizenry. In no constitutional clause does it state, suggest, or imply that requesting U.S. citizenship status should be part of this decennial process. The Census Bureau rightly halted this practice in 1950 and to bring it back would be disastrous in 21st-century America. Virtually all interested parties want the 2020 census to be accurate, without fear, and robustly funded by Congress. However, if the subject of citizenship is added, it is likely that this traditionally non-partisan project will be met with fear, hostility, questionable results, and other undesirable outcomes.

We believe the Administration is unnecessarily creating opportunities for inaccurate or incomplete census information of your constituents by gravely miscalculating a political move instead of administering sound constitutional policy. Moving to a controversial, citizenship-based census questionnaire is not only preventable but greatly risks the quality of census data to be collected because of the millions of U.S. resident non-citizens - green card holders, refugees, “dreamers,” and many others - who may hesitate to complete the census form due to its overreaching inquiry on citizenship status. By doing so, it would skew the actual population numbers intended for legislative representation, and clearly lead to a misdirected distribution of finite economic resources as appropriated by Congress.

If the Committee does move legislation forward relating to the 2020 Census, Democrats Abroad strongly urges for inclusion of legislative language mandating the enumeration of all federally-unaffiliated U.S. citizens living abroad. Democrats Abroad - along with several other interest groups representing expatriate interests - has testified numerous times before Congress over the years calling for our rightful inclusion in the census. Unfortunately, we remain disenfranchised. In light of this continued injustice, a congressional hearing on the estimated nine million Americans living abroad and how to best include them in the 2020 census is needed far more than determining whether a U.S. household is occupied by citizens or immigrants.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to be heard on this matter. I respectfully request for this statement to be included into the hearing record, and note that I am readily available via phone or e-mail for any follow-up questions or comments from the Committee. I can be reached at (843) 628-2280 or chair@democratsabroad.org.

Sincerely,

Julia Bryan
Democrats Abroad, International Chair

[1] State of California v. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. et al. (2018), case no. 3:18-cv-01865, United States District Court of Northern California, March 26.

[2] Letter from Thompson et al. to Secretary Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce, 26 January.

 


Democrats Abroad International Women's Day Remarks

International Chair Julia Bryan issued the following remarks for International Women’s Day 2018:

Before I flew to Washington this week I hugged my daughter and said, “Stay strong, work hard, and treat your brother the way you’d like him to treat you.”

Caroline’s fourteen, and already an ardent activist. In 2016, she saw Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as an “of course” moment. Of course there would be a woman president. Her world seemed equal, the past’s prejudices disappearing as the generations shifted.

When Clinton lost the election, my daughter realized, as so many of us did, that we still had a lot of work to do.

Today on International Women’s Day, I remember the numerous times women have been reminded that equality is not as near as we might believe. Think of Abigail Adams writing her husband in 1776, asking him to “remember the ladies” when he created our new nation’s code of laws. We know how well that turned out.

And even Women’s Day, launched in 1909 to celebrate women and push for greater equality: It’s a bittersweet day as we reflect 109 years later that we still have a ways to go on that goal.

So our “of course” moment has not yet arrived. Women must often work harder than men to earn less and run farther to get to the same place.

But some things have changed. After Hillary’s loss in 2016, women didn’t just sit down again. They rose up and launched the persistence movement. This year thousands of women are running for office at all levels of government. Kathleen Matthews, chair of Maryland state party, says that women are both tremendously motivated to run and that organizations and parties are deliberately finding women candidates to run. The results are evident in every state election this midterm.

That’s heartening news and a reminder that history is not a straight line. As President Obama said, it zigs and it zags.

This is also true of our story. Today, as we remember the many zigs and zags of women’s empowerment in the US and around the world, I ask all of you who have joined the persistence movement to stay strong, work hard, and, as I told my daughter, treat your brother (and sister) the way you’d like to be treated yourself.

Americans abroad looking for ways to commemorate this year's International Women's Day can find more information here.

 


Democrats Abroad on the Unity Reform Commission Report

Democrats Abroad’s Executive Committee and its DNC members have endorsed a series of proposals from the party’s Unity Reform Commission, in a report delivered to the DNC at the end of 2017.

The Unity Reform Commission (URC) was created at the 2016 Democratic National Convention to address concerns regarding the presidential primary process, and to ensure that this process is accessible, transparent and inclusive.

Dems Abroad leaders were able to support these recommendations in part because they so closely reflected what Democrats Abroad adopted in its 2016 Global Presidential Primary and Delegate Selection Plan.

Speaking to Democrats Abroad in Paris and Toronto, URC Vice Chair Larry Cohen has praised the organization’s high levels of openness, inclusion, and transparency in its 2016 global primary, pointing out that other state parties could learn much from their example.

Four key areas highlighted in the URC report include:

1. Same-day registration for party primaries & improved voter enfranchisement

The URC proposed various solutions to give voters greater opportunity to participate and vote in a primaries process that they trust. Most notably: same-day voter registration, a shift that could have significant impact on state parties that currently require voters to register weeks or even months in advance of primary elections.

“If you haven’t registered as a Democrat [in certain states], you won’t be able to vote in the 2018 Primary,” said Cohen. “That’s not very inclusive; that doesn’t help to grow the party. If you want people to vote for your party in the end, you can’t alienate them from the start.”

Where Democrats Abroad Stands: 
“We welcome all voters, including those who may be new to voting for Democrats or voting regularly -- something we expect to see more of in 2020,” explained Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad International Chair. “Emphasizing inclusivity and adopting same-day registration in 2016 resulted in huge growth for our membership. Voters who were excited about our 2016 candidates could have their voices heard, regardless of whether or not they had registered to vote months earlier.”

“We considered these issues when we wrote our 2016 Delegate Selection Plan,” added Will Bakker, Regional Vice Chair for EMEA. “That is why we conducted a major outreach campaign to make sure all our members who wanted to vote, could. We widely published our rules, held open informational forums, and conducted outreach online to support voting stations large and small all over the world.”

2. Reducing superdelegates by half

Today, DNC superdelegates (current and past elected government leaders and party officials who make up just under 15% of all delegates) may support any presidential candidate, regardless of their respective state primaries and caucuses.

The URC’s proposal would reduce superdelegates by around 50%, retaining autonomy for elected officials, but ensuring that others are bound to the results of their states (except in the rare case of a brokered election, last seen in 1952).  

As Cohen pointed out, “We couldn’t eliminate supers altogether, but reducing their number and influence, and binding most of them to election outcomes, was a very good compromise. The result is that the grassroots voice in the nominating process will be amplified.”

Where Democrats Abroad Stands: 
“Proportional voting across our delegation received near unanimous support from the DA DNC team and the Executive Committee,” said Bryan. “We believe it is important that all of our delegate votes at the National Convention reflect our members’ choices in our primary.”

Democrats Abroad realizes that our decision could mean that we sacrifice some attention from presidential candidates following the primary. We are confident that the rising visibility of voters abroad will more than compensate for that effect, and that the decision will best serve our constituencies in the long run.

As DNC Member Martha McDevitt-Pugh pointed out, “Candidates came to us because they wanted our votes. That’s how we could get their ear for a few minutes and tell them about the key interests of Democrats Abroad. But today, we’re getting their interest just based on our pure numbers, and how powerful the vote from abroad can be. For example, in the off-year elections of 2017, Dems Abroad was approached by both Phil Murphy and Ralph Northam, candidates for North Carolina and Virginia Governor.”

3. Ensure commitment from party leaders to remain neutral during all primaries

The URC also proposed that all state party Chairs and Vice Chairs, as well as party officials involved in the execution of the state primary or caucus process, remain scrupulously neutral, with various penalties for failure to do so, including loss of delegate status and floor privileges at the Convention.

Where Democrats Abroad Stands: 
As this is already a requirement for Democrats Abroad leaders and primary elections leaders, the organization does not anticipate any changes to current practices.

4. Empower Grassroots Participation

Finally, the URC also calls for the party to work more closely with organizations and allies.

Where Democrats Abroad Stands: 
“Collaboration with partner organizations has already been part of Democrats Abroad’s modus operandi,” explained Bob Vallier, Secretary of Democrats Abroad France during the 2016 primaries. “In France we saw Paris for Bernie, Paris for Hillary, and even a small Paris for Martin [O’Malley] contingent. Democrats Abroad was happy to engage with everyone working toward our shared interests, and these groups were absolutely vital to the success of our primary as a result, bringing with them a lot of energy and new members to Democrats Abroad. Today, we continue to work closely with their heirs—Our Revolution, Indivisible, PAGE, among others, and that’s consistent not just across France but for Democrats Abroad around the world.”

What’s next?

While the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee now has six months to review and edit the report before sending it to the full DNC, the final recommendations are not expected to impact Democrats Abroad’s existing practices for the 2020 presidential primaries.

“By and large, these recommendations reflect what Democrats Abroad has already undertaken,” Bryan confirmed. “We were happy to offer our input when the URC approached us about this, and were impressed at how they studied our plans and took our recommendations to heart. We’re proud to be lauded by the URC for our efforts in this mission, but most importantly, we’re thrilled to see voters responding so positively. We remain just as committed as ever to ensuring that our primary is accessible, transparent and inclusive for all Democrats around the world.”


Democrats Abroad Marches to the Ballot Box

Marking one year after Trump’s inauguration, thousands of Democrats Abroad members joined citizen-activist movements around the world and marched for political and social change. Their core mission was to protest of the current administration’s efforts to roll back reasonable policies, from health care to the environment, and to show support for Democrats’ fight for equality and policies that benefit all Americans.

Democrats Abroad hosted and joined events around the world, from Canada, Australia and Norway to China, Spain and Ecuador, totaling 26 cities in 18 countries. Thousands turned out for protests, with chants and signs demonstrating themes like “Marching to the Ballot Box,” “This is what Democracy Looks Like” and “Grab them by the Midterms.”

Much of the weekend’s actions focused on voter registration, kicking off Democrats Abroad’s 2018 Get Out the Vote efforts. Volunteers answered questions, passed out pamphlets and information, and helped Americans request their 2018 ballots through VotefromAbroad.org, a non-partisan voter registration system sponsored by Democrats Abroad.

“Americans abroad are positioned to be the margin of victory in midterm elections across the States this year, but they need help to make this happen. We are ready to be that help and make that difference,” noted Julia Bryan, Chair, Democrats Abroad.

With voter empowerment taking such a prominent role in this year’s Women’s Marches, it’s clear that activists are turning outrage into action – and votes, which is especially important in close races. Votes from abroad were critical in 2017 elections including those in Virginia and Alabama, and in 2016, votes from abroad were the deciding factor in races including those of Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Governor Roy Cooper (D-NC).

Speaking at the Heidelberg Women’s March in Germany, Ann Hesse, Co-Chair of Democrats Abroad’s Global Women’s Caucus, reinforced this point. “We are marching to the ballot box to reclaim our power. We are calling on all leaders to hear our votes, and to lead with courage as they create policies that affect us all. And, we will march forward into 2018 in the pursuit of a united world — united by compassion, justice, and equality. Today’s march is a call to action. A call to speak up, to raise our powerful voices!”

Undoubtedly, Democrats Abroad efforts and tools like VotefromAbroad will continue working to turn that energy overseas into Democratic votes back home. And with all 435 seats in the House and 34 Senate seats up for reelection in 2018, this is just the beginning.


Democrats Abroad Demands an Apology

International Chair Julia Bryan issued the following statement regarding Donald Trump’s remarks on Jan 14:
”Democrats Abroad decries the racists remarks of Donald Trump, and joins with the rest of the Democratic party to demand that he apologize to the countries that he insulted in his recent comments regarding immigration.  

We call on our Republican colleagues to join us in denouncing the President’s hateful remarks. Fighting against racism and bigotry should transcend party lines.


Democrats Abroad Praises Rep. Jamie Raskin for Supporting Americans Abroad Tax Reform

Democrats Abroad is honored to have received the support of Rep. Jamie Raskin in our fight for fair taxes for Americans abroad. Remarks by Rep. Raskin, placed December 21st in the Congressional Record, demonstrate his strong opposition to the Republican Tax Bill H.R. 1.

We are delighted to note that Raskin not only advocates for his constituents at home but those abroad as well. He states:

Furthermore, I often hear from my overseas constituents, who have their own profound concerns about our tax system. As someone who has lived abroad, I appreciate their concerns. Americans abroad are being treated unfairly—taxed first by their local tax authority, and again by the United States. No other countries tax their citizens abroad, with the exceptions of North Korea and Eritrea. Yet Congressional Republicans have chosen to ignore the nine million voices of red, white and blue American citizens seeking help and relief. The GOP is callously ignoring our citizens overseas, refusing to help millions of constituents abroad who desperately want and deserve expat tax reform.

Congress should act immediately, so that U.S. citizens living abroad are not forced to choose between two terrible outcomes: draining their life savings to pay their taxes or renouncing their citizenship to escape this outrageous double taxation. There has been some important progress in this regard though. I’m pleased that my colleague from North Carolina, Representative GEORGE HOLDING, readily acknowledged the problem of expat taxation during the House Floor debate on H.R. 1, but frankly, it is shocking that the House Ways and Means Committee failed entirely to provide any tax reform relief whatsoever to millions of Americans living abroad.

We gratefully applaud Rep. Raskin for his advocacy and and attention to a matter which is of serious concern for the nine million Americans who live outside the United States. Democrats Abroad continues to fight for fair treatment of Americans abroad and tax reform that benefits the 99% over the 1%.

Congressman Raskin's complete remarks can be found here.

 


Democrats Abroad Praises Rep. Dina Titus for Supporting Americans Abroad Tax Reform

Democrats Abroad is honored to have received the support of Rep. Dina Titus in our fight for fair taxes for Americans abroad. Remarks by Rep. Titus, placed December 19th in the Congressional Record, demonstrate her strong opposition to the Republican Tax Bill H.R. 1 and note the harm it will cause the majority of her constituents.

Notably, Rep Titus advocates not only for her constituents at home, but those abroad as well. She states: "...the Republican tax bill callously demonstrates a lack of concern for the average American that has been left largely out of the conversation [...] the taxation of our citizens living abroad."

"It is discouraging that the tax-writing committees would rather prioritize tax cuts on the foreign income of U.S. corporations than provide assistance to individual citizens abroad with tax reform."

We gratefully applaud Rep Titus for her advocacy and attention to a matter which is of serious concern for the nine million Americans who live outside the United States. Democrats Abroad continues to fight for fair treatment of Americans abroad and tax reform that benefits the 99% over the 1%.

The complete remarks from Congressman Titus can be found here.

 


Democrats Abroad Denounces Senate Tax Bill

Democrats Abroad firmly stands against the Senate Tax Bill. It is grossly irresponsible of Republicans to ignore the needs of the vast majority of Americans — including middle and working class families at home and abroad — in exchange for a tax giveaway for the “donor class.” This is a sham tax plan that cuts taxes for the wealthy and well-connected; slashes tax rates for big business who already pay far below the marginal rate; worsens inequality; slows economic growth; blows out the budget deficit by a trillion dollars; and positions Congressional Republicans to make drastic reductions in federal programs that support millions of Americans, including the nation’s most vulnerable. 

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a devastating blow to the American people in the U.S. and around the world. Republicans said their first priority was economic growth for middle class families and shrinking the inequality gap. They insisted that corporate tax cuts would lead to stronger U.S. operations and competitive jobs. They promised there would be no cutbacks to federal programs as a result of the wealthiest corporations and individuals paying even less than they do today. That’s simply not what is in this bill, and nonpartisan groups like the CBO and JCT agree. Now that the bill has passed, the American people will be holding Republicans accountable to the ‘fair and simple’ solution they’ve been promised.

While showing callous disregard for the middle class overall, the bill reflects total indifference to Americans living abroad, who have been completely left out of the tax reform package, despite thousands of overseas constituents having contacted their Senators and House Representatives.

Democrats Abroad has advocated for the interests of Americans living abroad -- particularly issues related to taxation and voting rights -- since its inception in 1964. The organization’s Taxation Task Force undertakes research-based advocacy, analyzing tax policy, laws and regulations that affect Americans abroad and developing reform recommendations to remedy adverse impacts. The Task Force regularly leads grassroots campaigns for Democrats abroad to reach out to lawmakers and regulators about concerns and reforms.

 


Democrats Abroad Condemns Voter Suppression in Virginia

The Virginia House of Delegates is one seat away from a 50/50 Democratic/Republican split.

Ballots sent from abroad may help decide that outcome, but local election officials in Virginia are illegally refusing to count them. 

The Republican candidate for House District 28 currently leads the vote count by only 84 votes, but news reports note that the local election board has refused to tally at least 55 ballots from abroad, and more than 1,000 other absentee ballots may not have been counted yet as well.

As Julia Bryan, Chair of Democrats Abroad, stated today: “Our legal system promises that all Americans who successfully cast their ballot should have their votes counted. By not picking up overseas ballots from their post box on Election Day — ballots that arrived before the 7pm deadline on November 7 — the Stafford County electoral board has effectively, and illegally, disenfranchised our military and civilian voters abroad. There is simply no legal reason not to count these votes.”

Democrats Abroad stands firm in condemning voter suppression efforts and will continue fighting to protect all votes from abroad.

UPDATE (Nov 12): The Stafford County electoral board will hold a meeting on Monday, November 13th to decide whether or not they will count the 55 votes from abroad. We will keep this statement updated as news comes in.

Nov 16: Virginia’s 28th House District race remains undecided. Currently the VA House Democratic Caucus has filed suit with the Stafford County electoral board for mishandling their absentee ballots and it appears that hundreds of voters may have voted the wrong ballot. Three recounts are underway in Virginia's state legislature, threatening the Republicans' 51/49 advantage in the House. Many thanks to our Comms team for their help with our outreach this weekend. It led to great connections with grass roots leaders on social media, and good conversations with several media orgs, including DemList, who made the issue their lead story on Monday after we spoke with them and helped put pressure back in the States.

 


Democrats Abroad Attends the DNC Meeting in Las Vegas

Democrats Abroad DNC members attended the Fall meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Las Vegas this October.  International Chair Julia Bryan (Czech Republic) and the DNC delegates Connie Borde (France), John Eastwood (Taiwan), Adrianne George (Sweden), Martha McDevitt-Pugh (Netherlands), Ken Sherman (Canada), and Orlando Vidal (UAE) represented the organization. 

"It was a fantastic few days - our agenda was packed with workshops, training sessions and meetings," said Julia Bryan. "When we were not in a meeting, we got to know other state party folk and DNC staff. Seeing first hand that the new DNC is focused on every zip code (even abroad) and is pushing into new technologies made the week for me. I left feeling extremely optimistic about the party's initiatives and path forward."  

During the meeting in Vegas, the DA team spoke with every member of the DNC executive committee. The take away? The DNC is very eager to work closely with us in 2018 to get out the vote from abroad ... and in 2017 too! Tom Perez was particularly interested in our work in the Alabama Senate race, and our efforts for the New Jersey and Virginia elections, urging us to push as hard as we can to get out the vote in these three key races. 

"The DNC recognizes the potential of our votes from abroad," said Bryan. "We know the margin of victory in 2018 lives overseas. Our goal is to activate it."

Pursuing that goal, the DA team spent the weekend forging alliances with other state parties and raising its profile within the DNC.  Two of our DNC delegates helped advance the cause by winning election to two of the DNC's caucuses:  Martha McDevitt-Pugh  was elected to the executive committee of the Women's Caucus, and Orlando Vidal was elected to the executive committee of the Hispanic caucus. 

"It's a great honor to be a voice for the international hispanic and latino community," said Vidal, "and it's important for DA to be present everywhere within the DNC--who knows what exciting new opportunities that will produce?" 

For delegate Connie Borde, one of the most exciting sessions of the meeting was the report of the Unity Reform Commission. 

"They've been doing some important work and it was exciting to hear about it.  I haven't been this excited about what the DNC is doing since Howard Dean was chair," said Borde, adding that "we really are making progress, it's encouraging." When she found out that the co-chair of the Commission, Larry Cohen, would be in Paris the next week, Borde immediately invited him to give a talk to members of DA France and the local chapter of Our Revolution.  

DA delegate Ken Sherman celebrated a birthday that weekend, but marking another trip around the sun was not the most memorable moment for him. 

"I was particularly proud when DNC Vice-Chair Keith Ellison gave Democrats Abroad a huge shout out for our work during Resistance Summer at a meeting of all the State Chairs. We hosted the most number of events, training sessions, and activities for Resistance Summer of all the state parties. Getting a shout-out from Ellison was a great feather in DA's cap, and a great birthday present!"  

Another session at the meeting that was of particular interest to International Chair Julia Bryan was by the new Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian. "I'm an IT geek," said Bryan, "and Raffi really impressed me.  Since he's been on board, the DNC has made gigantic leaps forward with regard to tech.  There's still a lot to do, but he's done a tremendous amount in just a little bit of time."  One of the most important things Krikorian has done is to beef up internet security. "He's changed both the technology and the culture, making it nearly impossible for emails and other data to be hacked."   

Meetings make things happen quickly, and indeed, while DA's representatives were in Vegas they were able to accomplish a major goal: DA alerted the DNC to the fact that the Veteran's Suicide Prevention hotline was virtually non-functional for veterans calling from abroad. Given the large number of veterans who continue to reside abroad after their deployment, this is a very serious problem, and the DNC enthusiastically agreed to support a solution. South Carolina DNC member Clay Middleton has already approached Rep Jim Clyburn about the issue, and the Mississippi state vice chair has also vowed to work with the VA on the problem. The advocacy work of two of our DNC representatives, Adrianne George and John Eastwood, led the Veterans Council to pass a motion regarding the issue, so now the organization will undertake an effort to remediate the problem.   

This was a very successful meeting for DA and an exciting time for the "new" DNC under Perez and Ellison, which has refreshed itself with many new faces and a revived focus on every state and every zip code.  As we move in to the 2018 electoral period, Democrats Abroad looks forward to working with the DNC to reach out to the millions of Americans living abroad and helping them register to vote by absentee ballot.

 


Democrats Abroad Report and Update: Supporting Tax Reform for Americans Abroad

Democrats Abroad is pleased to announce the publication of our 2017 Non-Resident Taxation Research report, Can We Please Stop Paying Twice? – Reforming the U.S. Tax Code for Americans Abroad.  The report provides data and testimony from Americans abroad on their experience filing from abroad and underscores the need for urgent reform to the tax code.   If you support tax reforms to exempt Americans living abroad from filing returns to declare income earned abroad then it is time to make your voice heard

We refer you to the Tax Reform For Americans Abroad Campaign in a Box  and urge you to use it to tax action right away!  The time is NOW to call, email or write your members of Congress and the leaders serving on the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Means Committee, using the language in the Campaign, and ask for their support for Residency Based Taxation.

****

Congress Working on 2017 Tax Reform

The tragedy in Las Vegas, the on-going suffering of those in hurricane-affected areas of the US and the president’s various taunts may have distracted you from what’s happening on Capitol Hill these last 2 weeks, but be assured that the GOP leaders of the Congress have been busy selling their tax plan and moving their budget resolution through critical votes.  In order to manage dissent in their caucus they have been slow-dripping details of the proposal.

The average American may be distracted from it but you can be certain that the legions of corporate lobbyists have been anything but absent during these critical days of budget and tax code horse-trading.

The tax policy wonks haven’t seen enough to proclaim it decisively, but they are saying that Congress has so far fallen short of the president’s demands that tax cuts focus on the middle class and not the wealthy.  (We’re shocked, right?)

Tax Reform for Americans Abroad

We Americans abroad have a special set of concerns we’d like to lay in front of Congress whilst the details of the tax reform package have yet to crystallize.  We know from the approximately 4,500 responses to our survey of non-resident American taxpayers completed last month that there is enormous support for a radical change to the way the tax code treats non-resident taxpayers;  84% of respondents told us they support a switch from the current system of Citizenship-Based Taxation to Residency-Based Taxation (RBT) to resolve the many problems they are caused by a tax code that discriminates against them for being non-resident citizens.  As is explained in our RBT Frequently Asked Questions, under RBT Americans living outside the U.S. would continue to declare income generated in the U.S. but would be exempted from reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the income they generate in their country of residency.

TAKE ACTION NOW

If you are a supporter of RBT the time to take action is NOW.  Please open our Taxation Reform for Americans Abroad Campaign in a Box and use it to reach out to Congress TODAY! 

Share the Campaign in a Box and the Can We Please Stop Paying Twice? report with your network of Americans abroad and encourage them to do the same.

Please forward your questions and comments to TaxationTF@democratsabroad.org.

 


Democrats Abroad Endorses "Medicare-for-All" Bill

Democrats Abroad endorses the “Medicare-for-All" bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on September 13th by Bernie Sanders and co-sponsors including Sens Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

"The ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill is currently the best route to attaining the goal of universal health care and as such we endorse it." stated Julia Bryan, International Chair of Democrats Abroad, on behalf of the International Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad. "We invite those who favor other routes to put forward ideas that are as practical and thorough in attaining coverage for all.”

As Sanders explained in The New York Times Wednesday, the bill would mean that “every family in America would receive comprehensive coverage, and middle-class families would save thousands of dollars a year by eliminating their private insurance costs as we move to a publicly funded program.”

The endorsement from Democrats Abroad is the most recent push in support for universal health care from the organization, which has consistently maintained a stance that health care is a right, not a privilege. Americans around the world have advocated for an affordable healthcare solution for residents in the United States similar to what many have experienced first-hand overseas. 

The organization is currently asking Americans abroad to share their perspective through http://democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories

“We consistently hear stories in support of universal health care, including many about 'health care refugees' - Americans abroad who can't return to the States because their health care would be cost prohibitive back home," added Bryan. "Health care should be a given, not a question mark, and it's time for U.S. policies to reflect that."  

As an issue that impacts Americans across all demographics, additional quotes on this issue are provided below. 

Ana Blackstad, Chair, Hispanic Caucus of Democrats Abroad: “Latinos face the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the United States.  ‘Medicare-for-All’ would help Latino families access preventative care for illnesses that disproportionately affect the Latino community, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and asthma.”

Ann Hesse, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus of Democrats Abroad: “Health care is absolutely key to a woman's well-being and economic stability, and we know that women are particularly discriminated against in the patchwork of health care plans currently available in the US.  We believe that this bill provides the very best chance yet for our mothers and sisters back home to have the same access to high-quality care that we enjoy abroad.”

Salli Swartz, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus of Democrats Abroad:  “The Democrats Abroad Global Women's Caucus strongly supports the ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill introduced this week before Congress by Bernie Sanders. This Bill if enacted will protect women's' right to health care which is essential to protecting our rights to maternal care to pregnant women and children and reproductive health benefits."

Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Chair, LGBT Caucus of Democrats Abroad:  “A health crisis can hit any community, and LGBT Americans know only too well the devastating consequences discrimination can have on the health of individuals and communities. The ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill would ensure access to care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender people and provide a foundation of integrity for American society and our families.”

 


THOUSANDS JOIN DEMOCRATS ABROAD TO UNITE AGAINST HATE

Thousands of Americans have joined a worldwide “virtual vigil,” showing solidarity with peaceful demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, and outrage at the President’s unwillingness to offer immediate, unequivocal condemnation of the biggest rally of the extreme right the US as seen in decades.

The activity was led by Democrats Abroad, the largest organization of Americans overseas. Members posted photos and messages against hate, supporting those wounded or killed by domestic terrorists and those made to feel unsafe by the horrific events that unfolded.

“Americans around the world are outraged by the Charlottesville rally and infuriated that the President refused to condemn white supremacy immediately and unequivocally,” said Julia Bryan, International Chair of Democrats Abroad. “We, like Americans at home, needed to make our voices heard.”

Alex Montgomery, Democrats Abroad International Vice-Chair, noted that “the challenge for Americans abroad is dispersion—we live all over the globe, from major cities to rural towns—and in the height of summer it can be difficult to organize events on the ground. An online vigil unites all of us in a common virtual space.

Americans in over 45 countries were represented – including Germany, Israel, Canada, Chili, Guatemala, Kenya, China and Indonesia. Most held signs like “This American in Seoul stands against hate,” with the organization’s #DAResists hashtag. Many added further commentary. 

One read “My grandfather didn’t die fighting Nazis in WWII so that Nazis could have a foothold in the United States in 2017.” Another simply stated, “If anyone still doubts who Trump’s base is, #Charlottesville is your answer.”                                     

The urgent action coincided with Resistance Summer, a sustained movement which has already mobilized thousands through Democrats Abroad to activate volunteers and contact members of congress in defense of health care and opposing legislation that eliminates protections for the environment and for women and minorities.

 


DEMOCRATS ABROAD HEADS TO DC

More than one hundred Democratic leaders from around the world will be converging on D.C. this weekend. Representing the Democratic Party abroad, they are flying in from Ecuador, Hong Kong, the Ukraine and many points in between to elect new leadership, prepare for the 2018 midterms and fine tune their outreach strategy to help engage the more than 9 million Americans living abroad in the US elections next year.

Democrats Abroad leaders will also use the time to door knock Capitol Hill, visiting senators and representatives to talk with them about the issues that most affect Americans abroad. Five of the top points we will be discussing are:

  • Overseas Voting Rights, especially for US citizen children born abroad

  • RBT (Residence Based Taxation)

  • FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act)

  • Maintaining/refunding the Election Assistance Commission, and for local election officials to keep overseas voting records and make them publicly available

  • State Department budget cuts (funding for American Citizen Services, education exchange, USAID)

*************

Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States. We strive to provide Americans abroad a Democratic voice in our government and elect Democratic candidates by mobilizing the overseas vote.

Democrats Abroad has 42 country committees throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. These country committees keep Americans abroad informed of their rights and help them participate in the U.S. political process. Our members live in more than 190 countries around the globe and vote in every state and Congressional district in the U.S.

Democrats Abroad is recognized as a "state" Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.

 


DEMOCRATS ABROAD STATEMENT ON PEREZ ELECTION, ELLISON APPOINTMENT

Democrats Abroad Chair Katie Solon reports from Atlanta, where Tom Perez has just been elected the new chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Keith Ellison appointed Deputy Chair.

“Today is Unity Saturday,” says Solon. “Because of our shared values, principles and purpose, we are going to leave Atlanta unified and ready to take this fight to the places we need to fight. As Tom Perez said, contrary to what the press has been reporting, during this meeting we have not focused on our divisions, but instead have focused on our issues.”

Perez is the first Hispanic elected to the Democratic Party Chair position. He served as the Labor Secretary under President Obama as well as Deputy Attorney General. His first action as Chair was to call for Ellison to be named as Deputy Chair. Ellison has served as a Congressman from Minnesota for the last 10 years.

Democrats Abroad is confident that the deep experience that Perez and Ellison bring to the DNC will take us in the needed new direction. Perez’s background in civil and voting rights, and worker advocacy, community organizations and organization management will be critical to the party, while Keith Ellison has demonstrated time and again that he knows how to win elections and speak effectively to Democratic voters.

Both Perez and Ellison have committed to providing Democrats Abroad the institutional and financial support our party needs to help win elections and to protect and expand voting rights for U.S. overseas citizens.

Following the election, Perez said, “By getting back to basics, we can turn the Democratic Party around, take the fight to Donald Trump, and win elections from school board to the Senate."

After being named Deputy Chair by acclamation, Ellison told the DNC meeting, “If we waste even a moment going at it over 'who supported who', Democrats would be letting down the American people in their need to confront Trump and beyond that.... We’ve got earnest sincere work to do under Chairman Perez, and all of us and all of you are going to help him.”

 


DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTE MEETS TO ELECT NEW LEADERSHIP, CHART PATH FORWARD

Members of Democrats Abroad participating in critical DNC meeting   

The Democratic National Committee meets this week in Atlanta to elect new leadership and to determine how the party best moves forward under the Trump administration. Democrats Abroad has eight DNC members participating in the meeting, which could not come at a more critical time.

“Our losses in November and the magnitude of the challenges we currently confront – from unconstitutional executive orders that sacrifice our American ideals to Tweets inviting a nuclear arms race – are serious cause for reassessment,” said Kathryn Solon, International Chair of Democrats Abroad. “We need to establish a clear vision and strategy in order to reach every voter in the US, and to ensure that leaders get elected who are capable of changing this frightening new world for the better”.

The three-day meeting will last from Thursday, February 23 through Saturday, February 25, during which time its general sessions and elections will be livestreamed on Democrats.org. Among those officer positions to be determined are Chair, Vice Chair At-Large, National Finance Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and Vice Chair for Civic Engagement and Voter Participation.

"We have been awed by the diverse, deep and broad skill sets brought to the DNC officer positions by the candidates,” added Solon. “No matter who wins these elections, we will have strong leadership as we work together for the sake of the Party and America."

Recognizing that US voters living overseas are playing an increasingly important role in elections at home, Democrats Abroad is prepared to do all it can to protect and expand overseas voting rights. This is especially important in light of current voter suppression efforts occurring across the U.S.

“Despite our losses in November and the imbalance in state legislatures and governor posts, I am more optimistic about the Party than I've ever been,” said Solon. “We have the ideas, values, principles, and leaders, and we are getting a sorely needed fresh wind.”  

Democrats Abroad DNC Members

Kathryn Solon, International Chair, ex officio member (Germany)
Arthur Schankler, International Vice Chair, ex officio member (Serbia)
Connie Borde, EMEA (France)
Ken Sherman, Americas (Canada)
John Eastwood, Asia Pacific (Taiwan)
Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Global (Netherlands) 
Orlando E. Vidal, Global (UAE)
Adrianne George, Global (Sweden)

Notes: Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States. We strive to provide Americans abroad a Democratic voice in our government and elect Democratic candidates by mobilizing the overseas vote. Our focus in 2017 is to be the go to organization for American activists abroad looking to stand up for our values and protest the Trump administration, while preparing to help take back the House and Senate in 2018, and get out the vote for this year’s special elections.

Democrats Abroad has committees throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. These Country Committees keep Americans abroad informed of their rights and help them participate in the U.S. political process. Our members live in more than 190 countries around the globe and vote in every state and Congressional district.

Democrats Abroad is recognized as a "state" Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.

Our online voter registration tool - votefromabroad.org - makes it easy to request a ballot and vote absentee from any place on the planet.


Democrats Abroad and Get Out the Vote in 2016

Democrats Abroad worked hard supporting the 9 million Americans living abroad in get out the vote efforts in 2016. We had on-the-ground voter teams in 41 country committees and ran a huge global effort to reach these millions of Americans and help them vote through our online voter registration tool - votefromabroad.org

Our global efforts included social media outreach, online phone banking, and a 24/7 voter help desk. Besides helping our hundreds of thousands of members within Democrats Abroad our global team focused on finding, educating and supporting overseas Americans to request a ballot and return it on time to be counted in November.

We also engaged with Democratic State parties in battleground states and where there were races important for a broad Democratic victory.   

In 2016:

  • 150,000+ voters used our online tool votefromabroad.org to request their ballots. That’s an 83% increase over our numbers from 2012.
  • 120,000+ phone bank calls made to Americans abroad, helping them request their ballots 
  • 2.5 million+ Americans abroad reached through votefromabroad facebook ads
  • 30,000+ voters reached through our 24/7 online voter help desk
  • 5 Global Town Halls organized for over 3,000 voters to attend and hear from Senate and House candidates across the United States

Global Vote from Abroad Numbers:

2016: we estimate that more than 1,000,000 UOCAVA voters submitted ballots
2012:  606,425 UOCAVA voters submitted ballots (EAC 
2008:  682,341 UOCAVA voters submitted ballots (EAC)  

(UOCAVA = overseas civilians and military & dependents posted outside the US or away from their home state)

Democrats Abroad Global Primary Numbers: 

34,570 Americans abroad participated in the DA Global Presidential Primary in March of 2016.
68.79% voted for Bernie Sanders. 30.92% for Hillary Clinton. 
For more details, visit our full article on the GPP Results

 

Democrats Abroad at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Below is an online press kit divided into three sections

  • Media requests

  • The organisation

  • The convention

If you are a member of the media, and have any further questions, you can contact us at press@democratsabroad.org.

Media requests

Q: How do I contact a press officer/delegate/representative of Democrats Abroad with a media request?

A: Our media contact in Philadelphia is Amanda Mohar. She can be reached at press@democratsabroad.org.

Democrats Abroad will also have dedicated communications team members overseas to ensure that your press questions will be answered quickly, no matter where you are contacting us from. You can reach us at press@democratsabroad.org.

Q: Can Democrats Abroad arrange an interview with other leaders of the Democratic Party, or the Clinton campaign?

A: No, you will need to contact the relevant office of the person you are trying to reach to arrange an interview.

Q: How are overseas votes counted in the general election?

A: Every absentee vote is counted. When someone votes from overseas, their vote will go to their local election office in the last place in the United States they were registered to vote, and be counted with the other absentee votes.

Q: Did Democrats Abroad hold its own primary?

A: Yes, we held a Global Primary that ran from March 1-8, in 111 cities around the world. Voters from over 170 countries all around the world, cast their ballots, through in-person voting, by fax, email, and post

Bernie Sanders received 69% of the vote in the Democrats Abroad’s Global Presidential Primary, Hillary Clinton 31%. Sanders picked up 9 pledged delegates as a result of the primary, while Clinton secured an additional 4 delegates. We increased our voter participation by 50% over our 2008 numbers

A full breakdown of the total ballots cast for each candidate, and number of delegates received, is detailed here.

The Organization

Q: What is Democrats Abroad?

A: Democrats Abroad is the official arm of the Democratic Party for the millions of Americans living outside the United States. We strive to provide Americans abroad a Democratic voice in our government and elect Democratic candidates by mobilizing the overseas vote. Our primary focus is to register Americans living overseas through our online voting tool www.votefromabroad.org, get out the vote, and advocate for overseas American issues.

Democrats Abroad has committees throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. These Country Committees keep Americans abroad informed of their rights and help them participate in the U.S. political process. A support office is maintained in Washington, D.C.

Democrats Abroad is recognized as a "state" Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.

Q. What issues do Democrats Abroad advocate for?

A. Democrats Abroad prioritizes issues that affect U.S. citizens living overseas. These issues begin with the most fundamental democratic right - voting, and extend to taxation, health care, equal rights and more.

Democrats Abroad’s 2016 platform can be found here.

Q: When did Democrats Abroad form?

A: Democrats Abroad was founded in 1964. A short history of the organization can be found under History on the DA website.

Q: How many members does Democrats Abroad have?

A: We do not release detailed membership numbers, as they rise and fall dramatically during election years, and therefore are an inaccurate indicator of our influence.

Democrats Abroad has members in over 190 countries around the world, and 41 official country committees.

We have over 147,000 activists and voters signed up to support get out the vote and a tremendous reach through our social media channels

Q: How is DA financially supported? Do you get donations from abroad?

A: The organization is supported entirely by donations from our US citizen members and Americans living in the U.S. who value DA’s work and see us as the natural resource to tap into a huge number of potential voters living abroad.

We never accept donations from corporations or foreign citizens.

Q: What is the equivalent organization in the Republican Party?

A: There is none. The Republican Party does not allow US citizens living abroad to have a voice via a dedicated overseas primary, and has no elected delegates from abroad representing its overseas members.

The Convention

Q: Who makes up the Democrats Abroad delegation?

A: The delegation is made up of 13 pledged delegates elected during the 2016 regional caucuses and global convention, and eight "super delegates" who each receive half a vote at the Convention. These "super delegates" include our Chair and Vice Chair, and six Democratic National Committee (DNC) members elected every four years to represent our party within the DNC.

The delegation also includes representatives on the Convention's standing committees, as well as delegate alternates and pages.  

A full delegation list, including which country each delegate is resident of, can be found here

Q: How did Democrats Abroad’s delegates get elected?

A:  Our delegation was elected in the same way as other state parties in the United States– we held elections at regional caucuses and then at a global convention in Berlin in May.

 


Berlin Meetings Overview

2016 DPCA GLOBAL MEETING (May 12)

Who are the Voting Participants ?

DPCA Voting Members* -- Country Committee Chairs, Vice Chairs , Voting Representatives, current DNC Members, plus the 8 Members of the DPCA (International) Executive Committee
* DPCA Voting members representing Country Committees must be from a CC in compliance as of the start of the Global Meeting.

What do they vote on?

  • Admission of new Country Committee(s)
  • Approval of the 2015 Financial Report
  • Resolutions/Bylaws amendments
  • Venue and date of 2017 DPCA Global Meeting
  • Any other DPCA business

Voting rules:

  • Proxies allowed as in the 2015 DPCA Global Meeting
  • Number of votes allocated to Country Committee (CC) is based on the verified CC membership list as of January 31, 2016 

REGIONAL CAUCUSES (May 13 and May 13 p.m. in A/P = May 14 dawn in Berlin):

Who are the Electors?

Potential Electors are all elected members of Country Committee executive committees, elected or recognized (chapter chairs of recognized chapters , plus the Regional Vice Chair (RVC ) for the region.

Certified Electors are Electors who have agreed that they will attend the Regional Caucus either in person or via WebEx and who have submitted the “Declaration of Participant” form and for whom a “Electors List” form has been submitted. The number of certified Electors is used to determine quorum and allocation of Country Committee votes among participants (thus, if a certified Electors doesn’t attend, those votes are lost.)

What they vote on:

  • Permanent Caucus Chair
  • Election of 1 DNC Member (per region)
  • Presidential Preference Group (PPG) Chairs
  • Election of 1 or more delegates to the Philadelphia Convention
    • 1 in each PPG in the Americas and A/P Regional Caucuses
    • 2 in the Clinton PPG in the EMEA Regional Caucus
    • 3 in the Sanders PPG in the EMEA Regional Caucus
  • (possibly) Platform planks to be sent to the Global Convention


Voting rules:

Certified Electors may join/vote in-person or via WebEx. No proxies are allowed.

Quorum requirement is 40% of certified Electors. There will be voting by rounds until a delegate receives an absolute majority . In the second and subsequent rounds of voting, candidates with less than 15% of the vote will be dropped from the ballot. The number of votes allocated to each Country Committee is established by the CC’s turnout in the GPP. Gender division is required within each Presidential Preference Group and affirmative actions goals must be taken into account.

 

GLOBAL CONVENTION (May 14-15)

Who are the Electors?

  • 9 pledged delegates chosen the day before at the Regional Caucuses
  • 3 DNC Members-elect chosen the day before at the Regional Caucuses
  • DPCA Voting Members (see list above in DPCA Global Meeting section) 

What do they vote on:

  • Presidential Preference Group (PPG) Chairs
  • Election of PLEO + 3 pledged delegates + 2 pledged alternates to the Philadelphia Convention
  • Election of 3 DNC Members
  • DA 2016 Platform

Voting rules:

Electors may join/vote in-person or via WebEx. No proxies are allowed.

Quorum requirement is 40%. There will be voting by rounds until a delegate receives an absolute majority . In the second and subsequent rounds of voting, candidates with less than 15% of the vote will be dropped from the ballot. The number of votes allocated to each Country Committee is established by the CC’s turnout in the GPP. Gender division is required for the overall delegation and affirmative action goals must be taken into account.



Order of events at the Regional Caucuses

  1. Call to order/roll call
  2. Temporary Caucus Chair is RVC
  3. Appoint Caucus Secretary
  4. Election of Permanent Caucus Chair
  5. Report of Credentials Committee
  6. Report of Rules Committee
  7. Election of DNC Member
  8. Split into two Presidential Preference Groups (PPGs) – Clinton and Sanders
  9. Temporary PPG Chair appointed by campaigns
  10. Election of PPG Chair
  11. Elect pledged delegate(s) (total in all Regional Caucuses: 5 Sanders pledged delegates and 4 Clinton pledged delegates)
  12. Reconvene in the larger group ( PPGs recombine)
  13. PPGs report
  14. Consider and possibly vote on Platform planks
  15. (Regional Caucuses may decide to abbreviate this session.) 
  16. Consider any other business
  17. Adjourn

Order of events at the Global Convention

  1. Call to order/roll call
  2. Global Convention Chair is International Chair or her designee
  3. Appoint Convention Secretary
  4. Chair reports on gender balance and representational goals of the affirmative action plan
  5. Split into two Presidential Preference Groups (PPGs) – Clinton and Sanders
  6. Elect pledged delegate(s): 1 PLEO, 3 pledged delegates and 1 alternate in the Sanders PPG; 1 alternate in the Clinton PPG
  7. Reconvene in the larger group ( PPGs recombine)
  8. PPGs report
  9. Chair reports on gender balance and representational goals of the affirmative action plan
  10. Election of 3 DNC Members
  11. Consider and vote on Platform planks 
  12. (Global Convention will consider and vote on Platform planks on Sunday May 15. There will be a pre-Meeting on Platform on Thursday May 12 morning.)
  13. Consider any other business
  14. Adjourn

 

Later events, elections, appointments

  • May 14 – DA Philadelphia delegation elects Delegation Chair
  • May 23 – DA Philadelphia delegation (in a WebEx meeting) elects 3 Standing Committee Members from lists approved by the campaigns
  • May 23 – Delegation Chair names Delegation Page
  • May 24 – International Chair certifies entire delegation to the DNC
  • June and/or July in the U.S. – Standing Committees meet
  • July 25-28 – Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia