On April 29, our new Executive Committee held its first virtual meet-and-greet with over 25 members from all over Portugal in attendance. After introductions and a brief overview of the structure and mission of Democrats Abroad, we held a brainstorming session about events and programs our members would like to see in the upcoming months. Some ideas being considered are:
- Fourth of July events
- “Road show” of Executive Committee team in various locales in Portugal
- Webinars on current “hot” political issues (voter suppression, gerrymandering, racial justice, police reform)
- Virtual book club
- Pub quiz/trivia nights
- Film screenings
- Action-oriented (phone banking for special elections, park or beach cleanup, foodbank volunteering)
Because DA Portugal is, first and foremost, a community, we would love to hear from all of our members about what events and programs would appeal to you. And of course, we will need volunteers to help make this happen.
We have big news: We are once again a fully-compliant Democrats Abroad country committee! This means our group has more autonomy and access to resources to organize, connect, and advocate!
At our Annual General Meeting on March 11, the Nominations and Elections Committee wrapped up a months-long process that culminated in the election of a new Executive Committee to lead DA Portugal. Our Executive Committee consists of:
- Kristi Holmes Espineira, Chair
- Andres Espineira, Vice Chair
- Luci Dick, Secretary
- Linda Weygant, Treasurer
- Terry Recht, Counsel
You can learn more about our team here. We would like to thank the Nominations and Election Committee (Sonya Day, Terri Blakely, Amy Kraushaar and Mark Reynolds) and the DA Regional Vice Chair for EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) for all their hard work in organizing the election and the Annual General Meeting.
We also want to extend enormous gratitude to everyone who has joined, volunteered, voted, and helped others vote, over the past year and a half or so - you were a huge part of building the momentum that led us to this point!
Please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] with questions, comments or ideas for events (virtual or in-person). And if you are willing to volunteer in ways big or small, we’d love to hear that too!
Update: Please find below directions for members to cast their ballots in the election.
The Annual General Meeting of all DAP members will be held March 11, 2021 at 1900 virtually and the meeting shall address the need for Portugal with an extraordinary participation, to be an actual country committee (CC) participant of the Democratic Party. Ballots became available to DAP members on February 24, with a deadline of midnight, March 9, to submit valid ballots.Read more
DA Portugal held a virtual meeting on December 14 to celebrate our group’s stunning growth and many successes over the past year. We also spent some time talking about our plans for 2021 and beyond.
Among EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) groups in Democrats Abroad, DA Portugal was #1 in membership growth since January 2020, in member engagement, and in Vote From Abroad confirmed voters!Read more
Earlier this year, the pandemic impacted Portugal’s international mail system. Mail flights to the US were less frequent and for a short while, they were halted.
Many states require voters to snail-mail their overseas ballots. Some DAP members have voiced concern about the impact of a second wave of Covid-19 on overseas voting this fall.
Senator Tim Kaine assured Democrats Abroad that overseas voter ballots are vital, and the State Department is working with all US Embassies and Consulates across the world to secure their help. As of now, voters can hand-deliver or mail their properly enveloped ballots to the US Embassy in Lisbon. Your ballot will then be delivered to the USA in the diplomatic pouch and given to the USPS for the rest of its mail journey to your voting state. If your state allows voting by email or fax, we encourage you to use that method vs. mail.
Democrats Abroad is helping DA Portugal conduct its first phone banking effort since 2016. A small, committed team of 10 DAP volunteers started contacting all DA Portugal members on Tuesday, June 23. Using Democrats Abroad’s CallHub technology to make calls and send texts from laptops or tablets, the team’s purpose is to reach out to DAP members, remind them to register, confirm voting-state details to ensure members are safely on their state voter rolls, and ask to spread the word to other Americans in Portugal.
Overseas Americans don’t get contacted as much as those living in the States. Feedback from those called say they like and appreciate the connection and reminder. And phone banking is measurably impactful: DA data shows members called by a phone banker are twice as likely to vote as those who aren’t contacted. That’s especially important this year as the overseas voter turnout in 2018 was just 12% of all Americans living abroad.
So, this summer, when you see a PT number on your phone that you don’t recognize, it might be a Dems Abroad Portugal volunteer with a reminder to register, vote, and spread the word. We hope you pick up, chat, and thank them for their time!
Dems Abroad Portugal is a growing group, supported by a “small, but mighty” team of “Super Volunteers” spread across the country. We came together informally given our common desire to help Americans in Portugal register as overseas voters and cast their ballots in the upcoming election to win back the Whitehouse!
Connect with a Dems Abroad Portugal Point Person in your area to meet (virtually or in-person with all the right safety measures) and get involved in DA local or global events and actions. The Point People have three roles: 1) GOTV (Get out the Vote) by registering new voters, engaging registered voters, and providing voter assistance; and 2) Key contact for virtual and live events in their geographic areas; and 3) Amplify information on social media to spread the word about Democrats Abroad and encourage Americans in Portugal to join.
Contact your Point Person today to say, “Hi!” and ask how you can help them GOTV and spread the word about Dems Abroad! We’re looking for a Point Person for the Algarve and Oeiras/Cascais/Sintra. Email [email protected] to join the Point Person team!
Porto, Coimbra, Guarda, Viseu, Aveiro, Bragança, Vila Real, Braga, and Viana de Castelo Districts: Kristi Espineira [email protected] WhatsApp +1 720-314-8626
Leiria, Beja, Evora, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Setubal, and Faro Districts: Caryl Hallberg [email protected]
We recently held our first virtual “Front Porch Views” event, hosted by DAP regional point person, Caryl Hallberg. Caryl lives in Ericeira, and put together a virtual chat for U.S. citizens living in Portugal to talk about issues, get to know one another, and build community.
With recent news about the worldwide conversation about Black Live Matters and other equity issues, our first Front Porch Views discussion could not have been more topical. A group of people convened online for a lively discussion of the intersectionality of support between LGBTQ, Black, Women, and POC rights, and what it means to be an “ally." Our special guest, Tre’ Shawn L. Griffin-Noordermeer, Secretary, Democrats Abroad Netherlands and Co-Chair, Global LGBTQ+ Caucus, joined in the discussion. Also, Caryl shared a video by Pastor Da Vita D. McCallister, from First Church Somerville (Massachussetts), an activist leader who frequently speaks on issues of equality.
We look forward to hosting more Front Porch Views sessions on different topics soon; please join the Democrats Abroad Portugal Facebook Page for news of future events.
Kristi Holmes Espineira's Democratic Party roots cross generations. Growing up, both her parents were professional educators with a strong commitment to working in economically disadvantaged communities with the long term goal of improving American diversity. Throughout the 60s, her mom helped to transition recently integrated schools; her dad worked directly for the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Arizona. Kristi's parents did not regard their work as "political party activism," per se. Rather, their goal was simply and literally to "do what was right." The intrinsic importance of diversity and equality was regularly the focus of dinner table conversations. Kristi's mom remains both socially and politically active today. Among Kristi's favorite "mom" memories is attending together a Barack Obama rally in 2012 and marching together in the Women's March in 2017.Read more
Democrats Abroad Portugal is organizing Ballot Assistance Events across Portugal to help Americans vote in the Global Presidential Primary. Ballot Assistance Events are not official polling stations, but are opportunities to pick up your remote ballot and get help sending it in, as well as to connect with like-minded expats.
These events will be held in Portugal between March 3 and 10, 2020. Events are being planned for Porto, Lisbon, Oeiras, Setúbal, Sintra area, Caldas da Rainha, Coimbra, and Tavira. See our EVENTS tab for up-to-date information.Read more