• Receive our Tiny Actions email:

Tiny Action: Your Midterm Ballot

As of Monday, all 50 states have sent midterm ballots to their overseas absentee voters. Have you received yours yet?

With ballots out, that means we’re now in the most critical phase of the 2018 elections. Over the next month, we need to work harder than ever to help every American abroad request their ballot and VOTE, and we need your help today.

Even on a chaotic day amid a chaotic week, we must remember that the most powerful action we can take is exercising our right to vote this year and every year. But if you’re as outraged over the Kavanaugh nomination as we are, you can use our script to call your Senators about this — after you’ve completed the latest Tiny Action below.

This week’s Tiny Action: Tell us where your ballot is. Then take small, easy steps to help others VOTE.

1. So that we can focus on those voters who need the most support, let us know your status by selecting one of these options:

Read more

Urgent Tiny Action: Kavanaugh is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court

Only a few weeks ago, Republicans talked about the Kavanaugh nomination as an easy win. Since then, it’s become all the more obvious why Republicans are so eager to push through this nomination: The more we learn about Brett Kavanaugh, the more problematic he becomes.

This week’s Tiny Action: Demand the FBI investigate the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh and tell your Senators to vote NO on the SCOTUS nomination. 

Call/Email Script:

Hi my name is [NAME] and I’m a voter from [CITY/STATE], but I am calling from [COUNTRY] where I live and where I vote from abroad.

I am incredibly concerned of what has transpired both during and since the Kavanaugh hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee. There is absolutely no reason to rush the vote of this lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, particularly given what we have recently learned.

The allegations brought by Dr Blasey Ford include a number of issues that should be investigated by the FBI, in light of the precedent that George H W Bush set when he asked the FBI to investigate the Anita Hill allegations against Clarence Thomas. If Judge Kavanaugh is innocent, why wouldn’t he want this? If the Senate is truly interested in voting for the strongest possible nominee for the Supreme Court, why wouldn’t they want to? This is absolutely in line with the FBI’s jurisdiction if the President asked for it. The Senator must pressure the White House to do  so.

I am tremendously disappointed in the Republican party’s response to Dr Blasey Ford, who at best suggest that she’s “confused” and in many other cases vilify her. Victims who come forward deserve our attention and our respect.

I believe an FBI investigation is critical for full transparency, but the findings will not change how I,  and the majority of the country, feel about Judge Kavanaugh.

He is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court. I am asking the Senator to firmly vote no. Regardless of what happens over the next week, Kavanaugh has categorically misled the Senate while under oath. He received and forwarded stolen documents - marked as such - and then lied about it. He pretended not to recognize the name of a law firm where a close friend works. And he refused to offer any answer of substance during his hearing.

Over the past week, Kavanaugh has only doubled down in demonstrating his true character.

Our next Supreme Court Justice must aim for truth and justice above all else. Judge Kavanaugh could have demonstrated this by saying he would speak with the FBI. He did not.

Our next Supreme Court Justice must believe that women’s voices - not just those who are well-dressed law clerks but also those who are victims, those who have been marginalized and those who have been wronged - deserve to be heard, and that violence against them is unequivocally wrong. Judge Kavanaugh could have demonstrated this simply by asking his supporters not to attack, threaten, and spread lies  about Dr Blasey Ford. Judge Kavanaugh remained silent.

This is not the best candidate for the job of Supreme Court Justice. The Senator must vote no.

Thank you.

[Provide your full voting address if leaving a message]

 

WHY IT MATTERS

The next Supreme Court Justice will decide cases that could easily impact the United States for decades to come.

Republicans in the Senate (and the White House) have had one clear priority: To get Kavanaugh on the bench at any cost, rushing the confirmation of a nominee with a disturbing record on the issues that matter most.

During his hearings, we saw Judge Kavanaugh lie under oath and refuse to answer a single substantive question, while GOP Senators praised his basketball coaching skills.

Since then, we have read of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, her credible sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, and the backlash she has received from the public and GOP leadership alike.

Kavanaugh’s supporters oscillate between calling it “rough horseplay” and “youthful indiscretion” to denying he was even there. GOP leaders said the timing of the news was nefarious, rather than out of respect for her anonymity. They suggested that other women supporting Kavanaugh meant that Blasey Ford was not credible. They even claimed to know better than her, saying that she (not Kavanaugh) was misremembering.

They are also refusing to pressure the White House to request an FBI investigation, consistent with precedent and requiring Dr Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh to speak under oath, going so far as to say that it is outside the FBI’s jurisdiction - completely false. Instead they are asking her to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is still under negotiation as of today.

We believe victims.

But regardless of what may transpire over the next week, what has already been revealed is Kavanaugh’s true character. He issued a statement stating that he wants to defend himself, but has not offered to speak to the FBI and made no attempt to ask his supporters to cease the death threats being made to a woman for speaking up about her sexual assault. He also enjoys the full support of a president who yesterday said, “if the attack was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed.”

It’s clear why Republicans are trying to push this through at breakneck speed. The more we learn about Brett Kavanaugh, the more reasons we have to vehemently oppose his nomination.

 

MORE INFO

Read more

Tiny Action: Students Abroad can VOTE abroad!

Young voters are INSPIRED and ACTIVE this year, helping to register fellow new voters across the country. But, for the thousands who will study abroad this fall semester, far too many won’t know how to vote from abroad, or even if they can.

This week’s Tiny Action: Ask your stateside Alma Mater to help study abroad students Vote From Abroad!

  1. Search online for [your alma mater] + [study abroad] + [contact] to find the right person to reach out to.
  2. Use the script below to call or email.
  3. If you choose to call them, please then send their contact details to help@votefromabroad.org.

Thank you to the many volunteers who helped us connect with American universities when we first asked about alumni/ae contacts in June! Now that the fall semester is nearly here, we’d like to make one more push to help reach as many students as possible. If you missed the action in June, or if you reached out and didn’t get a response, now is the time to get in touch!

Call/Email Script:

Hello! My name is [NAME] and I am a [YEAR] graduate from [INSTITUTION; DEGREE PROGRAM].

Currently, I live abroad in [LOCATION]. As an international alumni, I wanted to reach out to you about a resource that has been really valuable to help me vote from abroad, that could be just as valuable for your study abroad students, too.

Vote From Abroad (votefromabroad.org) is a nonpartisan website that helps Americans living and studying overseas to register, request and return their ballots in each election. It’s 100% volunteer run and helps voters request a federally-protected overseas absentee ballot (FPCA), which offers options not available to those who request a general absentee ballot.

I really want to be sure every [INSTITUTION] student that wants to vote, can vote, this and every year. That's why I volunteered to reach out to you.

I’m also providing a couple things for your reference:

    - Sample letter to students so they know how to register to vote before or after they’ve left for their study abroad term.
    - The front and back of an informational handout we’ve created recently. We’d be happy to do something similar for you.

Helping your students vote from abroad not only offers them the information they need to be able to vote, but also provides them a unique experience to add to their bucket list while abroad. As well, many of your study abroad students will develop a new appreciation for American democracy, and why their right to vote is fundamental to that enterprise.

If you’d like to find out more, please just send an email to help@votefromabroad.org, and a volunteer from their team will get in touch.
**If you are calling instead of emailing, please write down their email address and send to help@votefromabroad.org**

Please note that as this is US voter registration, it must be 100% non-partisan.

Thanks very much for your time.

[NAME]

 

WHY IT MATTERS

Study abroad students aren’t exposed to the same voting reminders their peers get on American campuses. Amid classes, travel and new experiences, they also have fewer opportunities to meet groups such as Democrats Abroad. This means they’re likely to be missing out on the chance to vote this year. We can change that.

At the same time, study abroad offices at American universities don’t know what we know - that requesting a ballot from abroad is easy, but that it doesn’t happen without a little effort. They also may not know that nonpartisan sites like Vote From Abroad can offer free resources for their students. We can change that, too, with the help of a few of their alumni/ae (YOU!).

 

MORE INFO

Read more

Tiny Action: We Can Stop Kavanaugh

Republicans say the Kavanaugh SCOTUS appointment is an easy win, but their actions show us something different. Over the past few weeks, they’ve been on the offensive:

  • Groups including the NRA have pledged $5 million in pro-Kavanaugh ad campaigns.
  • Op-eds have been placed in left-leaning media, that Democrats are “playing politics” and that their objections to Kavanaugh are “unbecoming.”
  • Orrin Hatch claimed Senate Dems were going down a “partisan, picky, stupid, dumbass road,” and McConnell accused them of “Borking” the nomination - by doing their job and reviewing his record.

The GOP wants you to think the Kavanaugh appointment is a sure thing, so that you won’t speak up. Prove them wrong.

This week’s Tiny Action: Demand a thorough review of Kavanaugh’s documents and records, and tell Senate to vote NO on Kavanaugh.

1. Insist that the Senate Judiciary Committee to do their job: Conduct a thorough review of all of Kavanaugh documents

The Senate Judiciary Committee can be reached at +1 (202) 224-5225. There is not a central email address available.

Hi, my name is [NAME]. I vote in [CITY/STATE] but I'm calling from [LOCATION] where I currently live. I'm calling you from abroad because I'm extremely bothered by the Judiciary Committee's lax approach to reviewing Brett Kavanaugh's history in full.

Read more

Tiny Action: You're ready to vote. Now spread the word.

A dismal 4% of voters abroad show up for midterms. It’s time to raise that number.

Truth time: Guilting people into voting doesn’t usually work.

What does? Learning that peers and friends DO vote.

That’s why we’re hoping you’ll support this week’s Tiny Action:

Activate your friends and get out the vote.

Five ways to be an advocate for voting abroad:

1. Share this post from the Vote From Abroad Facebook page, and like Vote From Abroad on Facebook if you haven’t already.

Read more

Tiny Action: Purge Protection

Our voting rights are under threat.

In June, a Supreme Court decision allowing for states to purge voters meant that six states would be allowed to continue this practice. And last week, the Brennan Center for Justice released a new report on voter purges, which found:

  • Dramatic increase in voters purged between 2014 and 2016
  • Higher rates of purging registered voters in states with histories of racial discrimination
  • Illegal purges in 4 states in the past 5 years, and unlawful purge rules in another 4
  • Inaccurate tools used in some states to determine the voter purge lists

This is just the latest in a running list of the Republican campaign tactic of voter suppression, which take place in states across the country. The only way to fight it will be to elect leaders who will defend our voting rights.

This week’s #TinyAction: Protect yourself from the purge.

1. Double check that you are registered to vote, and that your overseas absentee ballot request has been confirmed.

Read more

Tiny Action: Responding to Trump's Worst Week Yet

There are many, many reasons to be angry about the behavior of the Trump administration and the refusal of a GOP-led Congress to act on… any of it. Could Trump’s actions in Helsinki, and his defense of these actions, be the tipping point? Not unless voters make it happen.

This week’s Tiny Action: Demand that Congress respond immediately and forcefully to Trump’s siding with Russia over the United States.

While we strive to keep these as brief as possible, there are a number of ways Congress can respond. We encourage you to do any (or all!) of the four actions listed below.

1. Demand appropriate response from the  Senate and the House after Trump's meeting with Putin.

Read more

Tiny Action: All Americans Count

Looking for ways to fight Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court?  Our Tiny Action from last week has been updated here.

Amid all the urgent work to be done including and beyond the SCOTUS nomination, this administration continues to dismantle critical government projects, often quietly without much notice. This includes the planning for the 2020 Census.

Official estimates within our own government of Americans abroad range from 6 to 9 million people. Why the discrepancy? They say they simply haven’t been able to accurately estimate the numbers of Americans overseas. Once again, it’s very unlikely we will be counted in the 2020 census.

Of course this is not the only threat to accurate data collection. The 2020 census will not collect any information on LGBT populations other than whether they identify as being in a “same-sex relationship.” Furthermore, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has directed the Census Bureau to add a question about citizenship status — a step that will only worsen the ongoing treatment of non-white Americans as lesser citizens.

This week’s Tiny Action: Submit your comment to the Department of Commerce — and tell Congress, too — that we all deserve to be counted in the 2020 Census.

1. Email comments to PRACOMMENTS@DOC.GOV before August 7.

To submit your opinion to the Department of Commerce regarding the citizenship question on the census, provide comments both in the body of the email and as an attachment PDF, Word, Excel, WordPerfect formats only). Please note that your comment will not be confidential. All comments received are part of the public record.

SAMPLE TEXT, though you are encouraged to use your own words:

Read more

Tiny Action: Stop SCOTUS Nominees

This action has been UPDATED July 11, 2018 to reflect the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

It’s been a difficult two weeks for those fighting for progress in the US, both domestically and overseas, but the energy from you and our other members continues to inspire. Many have reached out to volunteer or find other opportunities to help, whether it be about attending recent global protests, driving voter registration at a July 4th event or — in line with our Tiny Action theme this week — doing everything we can to stop Republicans from securing another Supreme Court appointment after Justice Kennedy’s surprise announcement.

This week’s Tiny Action: Call your Senators to demand they block the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court - ESPECIALLY IF YOU VOTE IN ALASKA, ALABAMA, INDIANA, MAINE, NORTH DAKOTA OR WEST VIRGINIA

If your senator is a Republican or Donnelly (IN), Heitkamp (ND) or Manchin (WV):

Hi my name is [NAME]. I’m a vote from [STATE], but I currently live in [LOCATION]. I vote for my Senators from here and also volunteer to help Americans abroad vote.

I’m calling to tell the Senator that s/he simply must refuse to vote for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court prior to the midterm elections, and I ask the Senator to vet the nominee - who served for years as a political operative in addition to judge and lawyer - the same way Elena Kagan was vetted. I need all of his emails while working in the Bush White House to be made public for the review of the Senator's office, media and citizens.

[IF CALLING DONNELLY/HEITKAMP/MANCHIN:] I was incredibly disappointed by the Senator’s support of Gorsuch, and by looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions, I would expect that the Senator regrets that. It will get so much worse with an even more conservative majority, something a Kavanaugh appointment would virtually guarantee.

[IF CALLING A REPUBLICAN:] I understand that Republicans believe Supreme Court Justices should not be considered in an election year. As an American overseas, I’m very aware of federal election years, because many of us are only allowed to vote in federal elections. But federal elections include midterms, as I know, you know and the Senator knows.

I am especially concerned by Kavanaugh's stance on:

[CHOOSE ALL OR SOME OF THE FOLLOWING]

Net neutrality

The environment and the EPA

Women's Health

Healthcare

LGBT equality

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and corporate responsibility

and the belief that the President while in office is virtually above the law.

The Senator represents the people, and most Americans disagree with the judge on these issues. There’s no reason to consider a replacement on the Supreme Court before elections, when the American people will once again make their voices heard, and frankly, there’s no way a Supreme Court appointment could be done fairly, with the Mueller investigation still underway. If the Senator goes against the will of the people by voting for Kavanaugh at this point, I’ll be voting against him/her [when s/he is up for reelection].

Thanks for your time.

[NAME AND VOTING ADDRESS IF LEAVING A MESSAGE]

If your Senator is a Democrat other than those mentioned above:

Hi my name is [NAME]. I’m a vote from [STATE], but I currently live in [LOCATION]. I vote for my Senators from here and also volunteer to help Americans abroad vote.

I’m calling to tell the Senator that s/he simply must vote no for Kavanaugh, particularly prior to the midterm elections. I believe that Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat was stolen. I will not sit quietly and let another nomination move forward that does not reflect the beliefs of Americans today.

I know the Senator agrees with me on this. But I need him/her to be loud about this. Civility is important and I appreciate that, but we lost Garland’s seat because of civility. We may be losing immigration because of civility. We might even lose the midterms because of civility in the face of voter disenfranchisement. The Senator’s constituents are taking to the streets. I need the Senator to reflect that passion in Congress.

I ask the Senator to vet the nominee - who served for years as a political operative in addition to judge and lawyer - the same way Elena Kagan was vetted. I need all of his emails while working in the Bush White House to be made public for the review of the Senator's office, media and citizens.

Of course, we want our leaders to go high when they go low. But people are literally crying out for the senator to do something. Regardless of how hopeless s/he may think this particular fight is, we need to see him/her representing us, and fighting for us tooth and nail to stop another Trump SCOTUS nominee.

There’s no reason to consider a replacement on the Supreme Court before elections, when the American people will once again make their voices heard, and frankly, there’s no way a vote on Kavanaugh could be done fairly, with the Mueller investigation still underway. I am especially concerned by Kavanaugh's stance on:

[CHOOSE ALL OR SOME OF THE FOLLOWING]

Net neutrality

The environment and the EPA

Women's Health

Healthcare

LGBT equality

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and corporate responsibility

and the belief that the President while in office is virtually above the law.

The Senator represents the people, and most Americans disagree with the judge on these issues. Please do everything you can to fight for us. 

When we take back Congress in November, and I certainly hope we do, we can consider being civil again. But if Kavanaugh is appointed in the meantime, it will be time to pack the Supreme Court.

Expanding the bench to eleven justices will enable us to appoint judges who can fairly adjudicate over a country that is far more progressive and far more liberal than the current Supreme Court would indicate. I know this is a big ask. But it’s a big issue.

I need the Senator to be strong on this. I’m grateful for his/her fighting for us, and thank you for your time.

[NAME AND VOTING ADDRESS IF LEAVING A MESSAGE]

Looking for more? After you’ve requested your ballot, help ensure we take back Congress this fall.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Read more

Tiny Action: Fight for RBT this International Tax Day

April 15 may be Tax Day in the US, but for those abroad, the big deadline is June 15.

This is the perfect time to remind Congress that the 2017 “tax reform” once again completely ignores Americans abroad, and worse still, subjects thousands if not millions of us to yet another punitive provision in the form of transition taxes.

What tax solution would support Americans abroad? Residency Based Taxation, and exemption from tax policies that unfairly group everyday Americans abroad with the super-rich in the US who use offshore accounts to hide from the law.

This week’s Tiny Action: Tell your Senators and Representatives to provide a fair remedy for Americans abroad this International Tax Day.

The script below asks your Members of Congress to support:

  • The Residency Based Taxation proposal in development in the Ways & Means Committee
  • The Overseas Financial Access Act HR 2136, so that we do not have to report our foreign financial accounts under FATCA
  • an exemption from the “transition taxes” in the 2017 tax law to prevent the destruction of many thousand of businesses owned by Americans living abroad
  • a remedy for accidental Americans and Social Security recipients

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent who votes in [DISTRICT/STATE] but I’m calling from [LOCATION], where I currently live. I’d like to ask the [Senator/Congress(wo)man] to support a tax remedy for the millions of Americans abroad who are unfairly treated under our current tax code.

Like all Americans abroad I am required to file taxes both in the US and in [COUNTRY]. There are 6.5 million people like me, living outside the United States, struggling with the current tax code because it discriminates against us in so many ways.

We were – and continue to be – forgotten in this system. For example, the “transition taxes” in the 2017 Tax Act will devastate countless American business owners abroad, forcing them to close their companies. Despite the 12 month reprieve from filing, these new taxes will have devastating results.

It would take Congress years to address ALL of the tax code provisions that harm Americans abroad. That is why Americans abroad want the US to move from our current system of citizenship based taxation to residency based taxation. If the US had a system of residency based taxation, like nearly every other nation, I’d still be required to report my US-based income to the IRS, but not the income I make in and already pay tax on to [COUNTRY].

Congressman George Holding is working on a Residency Based Taxation proposal. I ask [NAME] to work with Congressman Holding’s office on the development of a bill to enact Residency Based Taxation.

I am also asking for [his/her] support for HR 2136 the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act, which would exempt Americans living abroad from disclosures on the financial accounts where they live – accounts they need to pay bills and save for the future.

There are two final things I’d ask for - that the [Senator/Congress(wo)man] also support HR 1205, the “Social Security Fairness Act” which will allow Americans abroad with pensions where they currently live to claim the full amount of Social Security payments owed to them; and a fix for accidental Americans. Those, for example, born to non-American parents who were temporarily residing in the US at the time of their birth. Since they’re technically American, they’re also expected to file along with the rest of us. Of course, renouncing their citizenship is possible, but it’s an incredibly lengthy and expensive procedure.

It’s really terrible to hear stories of Americans who have had to renounce their citizenship because of the tax code. That’s not what we want. But these people - who are American only on a technicality - should be able to shed this unfair burden.

Thanks very much for your time.

 

MORE INFO

Read more