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Take Action Now: Shout about the UPU Treaty Withdrawal

The Trump administration is attacking voting rights again - this time the rights of Americans abroad - through their plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union on October 16th. If the withdrawal goes forward, postal mail service to the United States will be thrown into disarray and the USPS expects postal service to and from the States to be massively disrupted. 

This action will hit voters from abroad hard. Beyond the widespread, unprecedented disruption to personal, business and financial affairs that the withdrawal will create, voters abroad will not be able to return their ballots or ballot requests by standard postal mail. 

Just consider - in 2018, 67% of ballots from abroad were returned by postal mail. 

Call your Senators and your Representative and demand that they pressure the Trump administration to stop this nonsense now.

  • Demand they push for the Trump administration to allow the uninterrupted flow of overseas mail to the US
  • Remind them that your ability to vote depends on being able to get your overseas ballot back to the US on time, and that goes for everyone voting abroad in every state and district across the country.
  • Consider including a personal story of your experience returning your overseas ballot, or other ways you depend on sending and receiving mail to and from the US. 

Contact your governor and state legislators and ask them to step up to preserve your right to vote from abroad. 

Whether you’re voting for President or town council members, the rules that determine how you can request, receive and return your ballot are decided at the state level. State legislation can make it harder for you to vote from abroad, or it can create a path around the mess that will be made by the Postal Union withdrawal.

1. Use this guide from Vote From Abroad to look up your state’s ballot delivery methods.

2a. If your state requires ballot requests and/or returns be sent by mail (and not email/online submission), contact your governor and state legislators

  • Ask that they push for legislation in 2020 which allows their military and civilians abroad to submit their absentee ballot requests (aka “FPCAs”) and overseas ballots by email or online submission.

2b. If your state allows ballot requests and/or returns to be done online or via email, consider letting your governor and state legislators know how much you appreciate these essential, modern solutions which ensure that you can easily and securely request and return your ballot. In order for these options to be maintained, it’s helpful for them to know why it matters to you!

Protect your right to vote! 

  • If you aren’t registered to vote yet and will vote in any of these states, register to vote as an overseas voter NOW -- before the UPU withdrawal. 

Go to www.votefromabroad.org and click “start” to fill out your voter registration form and overseas absentee ballot request. Then mail it in ASAP.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Connecticut
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Oregon
  9. Rhode Island
  10. South Dakota
  11. West Virginia
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Wyoming

Tiny Action: Immigrants Welcome

From the non-emergency emergency, to continuing to separate families at the border, to making it more difficult for American citizens to return to the US with their own families, the Trump administration is taking drastic measures to effectively shut down all immigration, impacting thousands of Americans — not just those in the US, but around the world.

 

This week’s Tiny Action: Voice your support for families impacted by Trump’s Anti-Immigration Agenda, and share your story if these immigration policies are impacting you and your loved ones.

Secretary Nielsen’s legacy will be one of cruelty and inhumane immigration tactics, but that wasn’t enough. Trump purged DHS of leaders who told him his extreme immigration proposals weren’t legal, and then he personally ordered border agents to ignore rulings by federal judges.

Going largely unnoticed, the administration also announced plans to shut down all foreign offices of the DHS US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), a move that will worsen the already arduous immigration process, including for spouses, families and adopted children of Americans living abroad.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have introduced the Dream and Promise Act to protect DACA and TPS recipients, and Dems in both the House and the Senate introduced the NO BAN Act, to end the Muslim ban and future discriminatory immigration practices. But these bills will not proceed without your support, and they are only the next steps. There is still much work to be done.

 

1. Tell your representative that you support H.R. 6 in full, and that you oppose new family separation policies and closing overseas offices of USCIS.

First, check if they are cosponsoring H.R. 6, a bill which would allow DREAMers to apply for legalization, and TPS holders to apply for green cards. Then call your representative using our script here.

 

2. Tell your representative and your senators that you also support the NO BAN Act and strongly oppose separating families at the border.

First, check if they are cosponsoring H.R. 2214 / S. 1123, to put a stop to the Muslim ban once and for all, and prevent future discriminatory immigration bans. Then call your representative and both senators using our script here.

 

3. If your family could be directly impacted by the closure of the USCIS offices or Trump’s immigration policies, let us know. And then help spread the word about why this issue matters to you.

Real-life stories of how an anti-immigration administration impacts our members and the families of Americans abroad can be incredibly helpful in our fight for fairer policies for all. If you have a story to share about your experience under the Trump administration’s immigration policies, please reach out to info@democratsabroad.org. We will not share or publish your experience or identifiable information without discussing with you further.

Regardless of whether or not you are directly impacted, you can offer a new perspective by talking to friends and family about why you think immigration rights, and these bills in particular, are so important.

Consider posting a link to this action on social media, sharing one of the news stories mentioned below, or sharing your own family’s experience online, to start a conversation. It may seem small, but the more people are aware of this issue and how it impacts Americans like us, the more we can push for progress.

 

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Tiny Action: #ReleaseTheReport

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The Mueller investigation is over. The Special Counsel has released the full report to AG William Barr, and Barr must now disclose those findings to Congress.

But on Tuesday, AG William Barr missed the deadline set by Congress to release the full Mueller report. Barr’s refusal to cooperate indicates that we are crossing one of the red lines that groups like Indivisible and MoveOn agreed to over a year ago: If Congress or the administration blocks the public from seeing Mueller's findings, we mobilize.

This week’s Tiny Action: Demand that Mueller's report must be made public, and that Congress must use their oversight power to fully investigate.

Today, April 4, groups are mobilizing across the US, calling for Barr to #ReleaseTheReport. Join these efforts. Make the national action global.

1. Tell your representative and your senators to ensure that the report is made public, and that Congress continue their investigations until they are complete.

Hello. I am a constituent who votes in [CITY, STATE], but I currently live in [CITY, COUNTRY]. 

I'm calling because I'm concerned about potential suppression of the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Even though the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the unredacted report, and even though the House UNANIMOUSLY voted for the report to be released to the public just weeks ago, we cannot allow the administration to block the release of the report in full. That means no massive redactions, and that it must be accompanied by all underlying evidence and related matters.

Furthermore, I fully support the ongoing congressional investigations beyond the scope of the Special Counsel. Regardless of what the Mueller report may reveal, the undisputed evidence — such as what the president himself has said to journalists, on video — is enough for me to know that this administration is full of rampant corruption, and I ask that these investigations be supported and completed in full. This is not a witch hunt. It’s about transparency. It’s about the American people holding the government accountable, both the administration and Congress, elected to serve OUR interests. 

Thank you for your time and attention.

[Provide your full name and voting address if leaving a voicemail]

2. Record a video (via Indivisible) to tell your friends and family that you’re demanding the Mueller report be made public and that you support continuing the congressional investigations.

Find details from Indivisible here. 
Be sure to tag @DemsAbroad (@DemocratsAbroad on Instagram) if you share your video!

3. Not interested in video? Try one of our social posts below, or write your own.

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Tiny Action: Help Dems Strengthen Democracy

Just weeks after the Blue Wave in November, House Dems unveiled their top priority for 2019: H.R. 1. And just last week, the bill passed the House, moving on to the Senate.

H.R.1, the For The People Act, aims to put power back in the hands of the American people by expanding voting rights, strengthening ethics rules, and limiting both gerrymandering and the influence of money in politics.

While H.R. 1 received major attention, H.R. 4 is also critically important. H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act, addressing today’s challenges of systemic voter suppression in states across the country.

These bills are high priorities for the Democratic House, and they should be for us as well. We need to loudly and consistently support both bills on their path through Congress.

This week’s Tiny Action: Read up on H.R. 1 and H.R. 4, spread the message,
and be sure your Members of Congress know why this is a priority issue for you.

  1. Learn about H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 and what they mean for your vote.
  2. Tell your elected representatives why you strongly support both bills in full.
  3. Be sure your friends and family know why this matters, and how they can help hold Congress accountable during the March recess next week.

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Tiny Action: A Valentine That Shall Not Be Denied or Abridged on Account of Sex

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Democrats Abroad has been fighting hard to help ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, enshrining into the US Constitution that “equality of rights under U.S law must not be denied or abridged on account of sex.”

We’re not alone. Americans across the country who are joining in renewed efforts to ratify the ERA across the country. But because of this momentum, Republican leaders are fighting to hold us back, through stonewalling state legislatures and launching campaigns of false and misleading information. They’re doing this despite the fact that the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans support ratifying the ERA.

This week’s Tiny Action: Tell our elected leaders - and the rest of the world - that the time to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is NOW.

Thanks to our Global Women's Caucus for creating a range of ways you can offer your support, from wherever you are.

1. Tell your Representative and your Senators to enshrine equal rights into the constitution.

Hi my name is [NAME]. I’m a voter from [CITY, STATE], but I currently live in [LOCATION]. I am [calling/writing] to implore you to support [S.J.Res.6 / H.R.Res.38], to amend the Constitution so that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

As an American living and voting from overseas, I am troubled by the fact that 85% of the world's countries have gender equality written into them, and yet ours does not. While many may assume our constitution mentions this, I know that it does not. And I know that even Justice Scalia once pointed out that equal rights are not guaranteed by our constitution. It is not enough to assume these rights exist. We must make it so.Thanks for your time.

2. Write to state legislatures in AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, LA, MS, MO, NC, OK, SC, UT, VA

You can also call or even send postcards. Even if you do not vote in these states, you can still voice your support.

3. Download and print this petition form to help us collect signatures.

Ask Americans (and only Americans) to sign our petition endorsing the Equal Rights Amendment. Once you have your signatures, send a scan or very clear photo of all pages to ERA@democratsabroad.org. We will send these to state legislature leaders to show our support. 

4. Post your support on social media (and share with us, too)

Create a sign and take a photo in support. Include that you are an American and note where you live. Post on social media and share with us! Find more details, hashtags and guidance here.

Want to make an even BIGGER impact? Post and send a short 45 second video. Check out tips and a sample vid here.

5. Watch Legalize Equality

Get a group together to watch this 30 minute documentary about the Equal Rights Amendment and why it's critical that we ratify it now, or watch on your own. You'll need to RSVP at the link to get free access to watch from anywhere.
                

Former resident or voter from 
AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, LA, MS, MO, NC, OK, SC, UT or VA?
There's more you can do!

1. Pen a letter to the editor / op-ed

If you are voter in one of the states listed above or a former resident, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to solicit local awareness and support in the states where the ERA has still not been ratified (listed above).

You can find out how to submit your letter on the newspaper's website. Here is the SF Chronicle submission page, for example.

Try to keep your comments as non-partisan as possible, and use your letter to call upon citizens and state legislatures to support the ERA. Briefly share your unique perspective as a former resident of [city] now living in [country]. Consider including:

- 85% of all nations have equal rights in their constitutions. Include a comment about where you currently live.
- Women need protection under the constitution since laws supporting equal rights can be changed
- If you are not a woman, explain why you still support the ERA. Try to keep your comments as non-partisan as possible

2. Contact local city councils

If you have contacts with any city council members, or have friends that know city council members, please request that the city council member propose a resolution in support of the Equal Rights Amendment.

WHY THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT MATTERS

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Tiny Action: Share Your Voting Experience

As a proud resister, we know that you did everything you could to make sure your vote was counted, and you helped others vote too!

Our members voted at a rate 8x higher than in previous midterms. That’s turning out to be the biggest increase of any American voting bloc this year, and it’s all thanks to you.

While voting from abroad is easy for thousands of Americans outside the US, for many others, it’s not quite so seamless.

This week’s #TinyAction: Let us know about your voting experience and encourage other Americans abroad to do the same.

1. Complete our short Voter Protection Survey here.

2. Spread the word so we can hear from as many Americans abroad as possible.

Share on Facebook - http://bit.ly/DASurvey_FB
Share on Twitter - http://bit.ly/DASurvey_TW
Share via email - http://cli.re/6EoV28
Copy/Paste this link to share elsewhere - http://bit.ly/DASurveyShare

 

WHY IT MATTERS

In order for us to do everything we can to make it easier for all Americans to vote from abroad, we need to understand your 2018 voting experience — what problems you encountered, what worked well, and even if you weren’t able to vote.

We also need to hear from as many people as possible to get a clear picture of the state of overseas voting. That means reaching out beyond our members and volunteers. We won’t ask about political affiliation, and we won’t use any personal information for purposes outside this survey, so please share with all Americans you know and tell them how important it is that we hear about their experience.

MORE INFO

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Tiny Action: Nobody is Above the Law

After a big election season, Dems Abroad Tiny Actions are back! If you’re not already receiving our weekly Tiny Actions, sign up here.

We knew weeks ago that Trump was planning to fire Jeff Sessions after the elections. We didn’t know he’d barely wait for polling stations to close before taking the biggest step yet in interfering with the special counsel investigation.

We won’t wait either.

This week’s Tiny Action: Tell Congress that no one is above the law.


1. Take a picture of yourself with our “Nobody is above the law” poster and email it to info@democratsabroad.org by Sunday, Nov 11.

Democrats_Abroad_NobodyIsAboveTheLaw_Example.jpg
(Download Poster Version 1, Poster Version 2) 

Using the pictures you send us, we’ll create posters to present to the DC offices of the top Senate and House Judiciary Committee Members. We all can’t protest in person, but we can make sure Congress knows that we expect our leaders to protect the Mueller investigation and hold Trump accountable. 

Consider posting your pic to your House Rep and Senators in Congress on social media, too. #ProtectMueller

2. Check with your local Democrats Abroad chapter to see if there is an in-person event you can join.

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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:

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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

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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

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