• Receive our Tiny Actions email:

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

Tiny Action: Attention Alumni!

The March for Our Lives movement has developed into a full-blown nationwide tour to register new student voters ahead of this year’s midterm elections. If you’re inspired to help and have already reached out to any young voters you may know, we’ve got another step you can take.

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.

 

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.
    - A couple of informational posters that we’ve created recently (1 and 2). 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: Families Belong Together

Day after day, we learn more egregious details on how the Trump administration is handling the arrival of immigrant children: separating them from their families without providing guarantees they will reunite in the future with their parents or other close relatives.

This week’s Tiny Action: Stop DHS from separating families and pressure Congress to take action to #EndFamilySeparation once and for all.

Tell your Senators and Representatives to use their authority to stop separating families at the border and to demand oversight hearings into border patrol tactics and records of abuse.

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I'm a constituent who votes in [CITY/STATE] but I’m calling from [LOCATION], where I currently live.

I’m calling today to tell [Senator/Rep] to speak out against the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant families at the border. This policy is cruel and inhumane and must stop.

For starters, I’d like the Senator/Rep to cosponsor the HELP for Separated Children Act, which strengthens protections for immigrant families and children.

I also need the Senator/Congress(wo)man to support Congressional oversight hearings into this traumatic and unnecessary tactic, as well as a robust investigation into the allegations of ICE and Border Patrol agents abusing detainees. It is unacceptable for our country to allow migrants and asylum seekers to be treated so dreadfully.

Thank you for your time and attention.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full voting address to ensure your call is tallied]

 

WHY IT MATTERS

Right now, the Trump administration is causing hundreds of immigrant children severe damage all for the sake of enforcing a xenophobic agenda, and we see no signs that this situation will improve without congressional intervention.

In previous administrations, parents who were caught at the border were allowed to stay with their children in shelters while their cases were being adjudicated. Sometimes they were ultimately removed from the U.S., but the point is that they were allowed to stay together.

In May, AG Jeff Sessions declared that the Department of Justice would seek "100% prosecution" of all who enter the U.S. illegally and separate parents from children instead of keeping them in a detention center together. In the first two weeks after the policy was implemented, over 600 children have already been ripped away from their parents, including those as young as 18 months old being placed in shelters, with parents not knowing where their children are or whether they are doing ok.

Read more

Tiny Action: Plan Your Memorial Day

Memorial Day is not about barbecues and summer kick-off parties. It’s also not about how we feel about today’s elected leaders, or even where we may stand on America’s military actions.

Next Monday, Memorial Day, gives us one single day — and one single moment in particular — to honor those who gave their lives for the country. To remember, so that we do not forget, the sacrifice that American families have made, over one million times.

This week’s Tiny Action: Take a moment to support those who have given so much, and, if you can, join us in person this Memorial Day to honor those who have died.

Visit your country’s page in the menu above to find out if an event will be held in your area.

Democrats Abroad has been a strong supporter of veterans and military families around the world since our inception, and we continue to continue to do so today. As we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI this year, we’ll be visiting memorials and laying wreaths at cemeteries around the world and we welcome you to join us.

Then, show your appreciation on social media and learn more about how to support our military families. Click through to read about the latest work of the Military Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild and the Vet Voice Foundation.

 

WHY THIS MATTERS

Honoring those who died for America, even if we disagree with our leaders and some of the choices they make is simply the right thing to do.

In his last Memorial Day Address, President Obama said, “It is our responsibility, our obligation, to fill the silence [of loss] with our love and our support and our gratitude -- and not just with our words, but with our actions….

“Truly remembering means that after our fallen heroes gave everything to get their battle buddies home, we have to make sure our veterans get everything that they have earned, from good health care to a good job. And we have to do better; our work is never done. We have to be there not only when we need them, but when they need us.”

We do so not just by hoisting a flag, but by lifting up our neighbors. Not just by pausing in silence, but by practicing in our own lives the ideals of opportunity and liberty and equality that they fought for.”

Read more

Tiny Action: Can We Save Net Neutrality?

Just yesterday, Senate Democrats successfully blocked the GOP rollback on net neutrality rules, thanks to all 49 Dem Senators, and Republican Senators Collins (ME), Kennedy (LA) and Murkowski (AK). While this is a BIG win, it’s just one step. Now we take this fight to the House.

This week’s Tiny Action: Call and email your representative to demand that they use the Congressional Review Act to save net neutrality.

My name is [NAME] and I vote in [ZIP CODE/STATE].

I’m calling to ask Congress(wo)man [NAME] to use the Congressional Review Act to save net neutrality, and to support House Joint Resolution 129 to nullify the "Restoring Internet Freedom" rule submitted by the FCC.

Like 4 in 5 Americans and the majority of the Senate, I know that this rule will do the exact opposite of “restoring internet freedom.” Rolling back net neutrality favors major corporations' interests over the will of the people, and our free speech rights.

If the president were to veto the resolution, I realize it’s unlikely that the current Congress will override this veto. That’s why I’ll be voting this fall for those who are willing to stand up to Trump. I’ll be voting for those who will use their power to push legislation that protects an open internet that works in the interests of the people, and not corporations.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your support on this important issue.

[INCLUDE BOTH NAME AND VOTING ADDRESS IF SENDING EMAIL]

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality prevents internet service providers (such as Comcast or AT&T) from controlling what reaches consumers at what speed. It also:

  • Prevents the richest organizations and corporations from controlling the internet.
  • Stops wealthy, extreme lobbying groups. from blocking access to accurate information they don’t like.
  • Ensures small businesses, low-income individuals and much of rural America have access to more affordable, reasonably fast internet.

 

Why It Matters

We need the open internet to foster job growth, competition, innovation and to protect our rights. It means activists can turn out thousands of people in the streets at a moment’s notice. And small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs can launch businesses, create markets, advertise, and reach customers. Without net neutrality, the internet would be changed from a free space to one controlled entirely by corporate interests.

In December, the FCC repealed net neutrality rules, despite major opposition from the public, scathing dissent from both Democrats on the FCC, and even activism from internet giants. Immediately afterward, Democratic legislators vowed to fight the repeal. We just got one step closer to winning that fight.

 

Read more

Tiny Action: Protect Our Voting Rights

With the midterm primary season now in full-swing, we hope to see more people requesting their ballots, contacting their state officials, and talking to other Americans about voting from abroad (you have, right?).

Unfortunately, we’ll also continue to see states working to make it harder for Americans abroad to vote, in addition to misinformation about voting from abroad continuing to spread. Although this is almost always accidental, that doesn’t mean we can ignore it.

This week’s Tiny Action: Be ready to fact check the truth about voting abroad. Know your rights and help us spread the word.

Our voting experts see comments every day along the lines of: votes won’t be counted; voting from abroad in a federal election will lead to tax consequences by default; and even that submitting a ballot or ballot request incorrectly is a crime — none of which are true, according to U.S. federal law.

Unfortunately rumors spread faster than facts, and often just hearing reasons not to vote will deter millions of voters abroad from voting this year, regardless of whether these reasons are valid.

Help protect our rights and spread the word this week — and through election season:

1. Post the facts on social media.

Everyone deserves a vote. Stand up against voter suppression so we can all #VotefromAbroad.

FACT: Federal elections include midterms. If you can #votefromabroad for president, you can do the same in the midterms.

FACT: Every vote is counted in every election. Even those that #votefromabroad.

FACT: Each vote counts. Those of us who #VoteFromAbroad have swung elections before, and we’ll do it again.

Or create a similar message of your own.

2. Stay informed

3. Use your voice

Also...

Read more

Tiny Action: Help Americans from your State Vote Abroad

If you haven’t requested your 2018 overseas absentee ballot and confirmed with your Local Election Office, now is the time! 16 states have big deadlines, PRIMARIES, and/or special elections in the next two weeks, including North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. Now’s the time for your voice to be heard.

Even if you’ve already requested your ballot, we need your help, too.

Even if you're a registered voter, your state is only required to send a ballot if you request it that calendar year, and sending in the form protects your ballot from challenge at the federal level in case of a recount. Don’t be disenfranchised; every vote matters, now more than ever!

This week’s Tiny Action: Help us confirm that voters in your state can easily vote from abroad and double check that your overseas absentee ballots are on the way if you haven’t already done so.

  1. Help us ensure that voters of your state can easily vote from abroad. Using our Local Election Office finder, find your State Election Website under State Lookup Tools.

  2. Complete this survey - just 6 questions about whether overseas voters can find the answers they need within five minutes on your state’s election website. We’ll use this information to provide recommendations to states and fine-tune our strategy to help voters in all 50 states vote.

  3. Finally, if you haven’t yet requested or confirmed that your ballots will arrive:

    Click “start here” on Vote From Abroad, follow the prompts to complete your overseas absentee ballot request and mail it in as instructed (by post or electronically).

    Then, find your Local Election Office here and contact your LEO to verify they received the form and will be sending out your 2018 ballots. Most states provide online ballot request status via their election website, but in EVERY state, your election official will respond to requests by email or telephone about the status of your overseas absentee ballot request (“FPCA”)

WHY IT MATTERS

At BEST, only 4% of Americans overseas vote. But for most of them, this is just because they don’t know they can, or they don’t know how. If we can ensure that answers are easy to find, this WILL change election results.

While Democrats Abroad is doing everything we can to activate members like you, there are millions of Americans overseas who visit their state websites looking for answers. We want to be sure those answers are findable and accurate.

Federal elections, including those in 2018, mean more than just President. It also means Senator and Representative. This year we have the chance to vote for ⅓ of the Senate and EVERY member of the House, and we need your help to power the wave!

Why do we suggest completing an overseas absentee ballot request?

Sent in the calendar year of an election, the overseas absentee ballot request ensures you receive a ballot for every election in that calendar year, including primaries, special elections and runoff elections. It also protects your ballot at the federal level in case of a recount.

With this form, you can request your ballot be sent via email, fax or online instead of by post; your state is required to send your ballot at least 45 days before the election; you are also given the option to submit a ‘backup’ ballot if your ballot does not arrive in time to send it in by the deadline. Many states also allow overseas voters additional time to submit their ballots and/or to submit ballots electronically.

Read more