Committee Spotlight: Democratic Party Committee Abroad
If someone you never met and never spoke to was recruiting votes for your candidate across the globe, you would want to know about it, right? Well, that’s exactly what the dedicated volunteer leaders of Democrats Abroad do every day.
Believing passionately in the right of all Americans to vote in U.S. elections, Democrats Abroad organizes to find, register, and turn out U.S. citizens currently living outside the U.S. Run entirely by volunteers, their outreach and organizing approach requires scrappy and savvy techniques—techniques made even more impressive when you consider that they’re coordinating with team members living thousands of miles away.
We talk with Carmelan Polce, global issues advocacy coordinator for Democrats Abroad, to learn about their amazing work and what you can do as an organizer to make their work even more effective, and thus more helpful to you. Their strategic efforts to find, educate, and advocate for voters all around the world deserve a shout/read out spotlight of their work below.
Democratic Party Committee Abroad (Democrats Abroad)
To help Americans living abroad to vote in U.S. elections by informing them of their voting rights and educating them about the process; to advocate for the rights of Americans living abroad; and to encourage Americans abroad to vote for Democrats in their home states.
Democrats Abroad uses a network of passionate and committed volunteer leaders to find, educate, and advocate for Americans living in other countries. Once Democrats Abroad finds members, they educate them about the issue advocacy they do on behalf of Americans living outside the U.S., encourage them to vote blue, and recruit them to become volunteer leaders in their current country.
Though many volunteers will go years without seeing each other, members gather globally every two years in Washington, D.C. to conduct their business meeting and lead a congressional door knock advocating for Americans living abroad. This meeting and the issues advocacy work that accompanies it, help strengthen the bond volunteers have with the Democrats Abroad purpose and mission, helping to encourage commitment, leadership, and collaboration from those that make their work possible.
Focus on Organizing:
Democrats Abroad relies heavily on committed volunteer leaders to organize their outreach efforts across the globe. No organizers use the principle “find people where they are” quite as strategically and effectively as Democrats Abroad volunteers.
Volunteers find Americans by setting up tables outside of English language bookstores, by joining July 4th parties (including one with 5,000 attendees in Singapore), by visiting U.S. universities’ alumni gatherings, by heading to pubs broadcasting important U.S. sports events, and by attending any American clubs, gatherings, and speeches across the world.
When they find an American interested in voting (most are, even if they hadn’t been actively figuring out how to do so), they share a postcard, bookmark, or handout with their voting website on it: www.VoteFromAbroad.Org. This website, one of Democrats Abroad’s most essential tools, is a fast, easy, non-partisan online registration tool that allows voters to fill out their state-specific form and provides instructions for properly requesting and returning a ballot. Once a voter completes their registration, the site offers Democrats a chance to become a member of Democrats Abroad.
Like all organizers, Democrats Abroad volunteers phone bank leading up to elections in the U.S.—encouraging voters to take the necessary steps to vote. Similar to border states in national elections, Democrats Abroad uses the countries where they have a strong organization to reach out to voters in their country and in others with less of an established structure.
Democrats Abroad volunteers work hard every day to organize Americans living abroad across the globe. Everything you do, they do, with the added challenge of living in drastically different time zones from their fellow team members.
But more importantly, without you having to do anything, Democrats Abroad volunteers are finding votes for your candidates. With your help, they can find even more.
The Federal Election Commission, which exists to manage voter information across all states, requires states to inform them about the number of ballots requested and returned from abroad. If your campaign or your state party liaises directly with your state’s Secretary of State who collects this information, you can coordinate with Democrats Abroad to tell them where your voters are—enabling you to work hand-in-hand finding and turning out your voters.
Democrats Abroad exists to find Democratic votes, which in turn helps your campaign win. When you coordinate with them, it’s a win-win situation for both of you.