Voter Survey For Americans Overseas

The Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) is conducting a survey devised together with the Association of American Residents Overseas (AARO) to be used as a tool to improve voting from overseas.

They will collate all answers, and present the findings to the new Election Assistance Commission in Washington. They will thus be guided to improve the system where improvement is most needed.

They hope to receive hundreds of responses - for which they must count on you! Please use all means to circulate the survey, by e-mail or hardcopy mail.

Click here to load the survey. Thank you for participating! Your answers will help to bring about change.

(Added January 11, 2005)


PROGRAM FOR AN "ELECTABLE" CANDIDATE

American Voices Abroad lists a minimum Platform for Peace

American Voices Abroad(AVA), a coalition of individuals and groups of U.S. citizens living in foreign countries, has set up standards with which to judge an "electable" candidate for the position of President of the United States. The following proposals do not pretend to be all-inclusive, nor to include all of the requirements of individual AVA-members, but are based on and limited by the AVA Mission Statement and Goals, adopted by all its member groups in January, 2004.

A candidate for the office of President of the United States should actively support and obligate himself upon election to attain the following goals.

1. To promote peace, to oppose wars of aggression, and to take direct action toward these ends. This also means:

-- To reject the Bush administration national security strategy of Sept. 2002 which includes the doctrine of preemptive and preventive war and begin a new U.S. Peace Policy.

-- To stop the occupation of Irag and to withdraw U.S. troops immediately ; to support viable self-determination for Iraq; to support multilateral measures to rebuild this country.

-- To maintain negotiation and nonviolence as a basis for foreign policy.

-- To immediately begin a process of massive disarmament of the U.S. armed forces.


2. To promote economic and social justice in U.S. Policy. This also means:

-- To repeal the USA PATRIOT Act, and any other new legislation infringing upon inalienable rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

-- To instigate openness and transparency in the U.S. government.

-- To guarantee free and fair elections in the United States.

-- To address US domestic economic justice issues and to reorient budgetary priorities away from war.

-- To maintain negotiation and nonviolence as a basis for domestic policy.


3. To raise awareness that a fully and accurately informed public is essential to the survival of democracy. This also means:

-- To achieve pluralism and diversity in US society, media, and political debate.


4. To affirm the rights of all people to democratic self-determination and the right to resist injustice and tyranny. This also means:

-- To promote and create new fair trade agreements which foster human development and general prosperity instead of the current system of maximizing exploitation.

-- To recognize the United Nations as the primary forum for international law.

-- To instigate responsible and just US foreign policy with respect for international law.

-- To resolve international conflicts through an international justice system.


American Voices Abroad - www.avaworld.org


BUSH'S LONG ODDS

Democracy Corps issued a report entitled Bush's Long Odds on May 19. It suggests that six months to the election President Bush is not only endangered but now has the odds against him. It claims he is more likely to lose than win and has become "a 47% president at best and in almost every area he is being dragged down by even stronger negative trends." Senator Kerry's standing is slightly improved and he has taken the lead nationally 49 – 47%.

The full report can be read at www.democracycorps.com/reports/analyses/Bushs_Long_Odds.pdf.



The Protests in New York (August 27, 2004)

The Republican National Convention is meeting in New York City from 30 August to 2 September 2004 to officially designate George W. Bush as the Republican candidate for President of the United States (and Dick Cheney as his running mate) in the November 2004 elections. We, Americans living in Paris, feel this is an appropriate occasion for drawing world attention to the disastrous and destructive policies of the Bush/Cheney regime - policies that we have opposed openly and strongly. The Republican National Convention is being held in New York City, in the shadows of "Ground Zero" - the site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001. Since then, the Bush/Cheney administration has ruthessly expoloited the events of September 11th to justify totally immoral and unjustifiable acts of state terrorism on the part of the U.S., including the pre-emptive invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. In New York City, undemocratic measures are being undertaken to limit the ability of protesters to assemble and peacefully express themselves during this important event. We, Americans Against the War - France, members of the international coalition of Americans living abroad, American Voices Abroad, address the following Open Letter to those protesters who are seeking to peacefully exercise their Constitutional right to assemble.

OPEN LETTER IN SOLIDARITY WITH PROTESTERS

IN NEW YORK CITY

ON THE OCCASION OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

We, Americans living abroad, hereby express our support and solidarity with all those who are gathering in New York City on August 29, 2004 to peacefully protest the reckless agenda of the current U.S. administration. Regardless of party or other affiliation, it is the responsibility of all U.S. citizens to make their voices heard against an administration that has jeopardized the principles of civil liberty at home and abused the instruments of international stability abroad. As is painfully clear from abroad, the shabby, sophistic justifications and brutal but ineffective methods of the current administration have exhausted American moral and political authority throughout the world. . We sincerely hope that the protest in New York City and in coordinated demonstrations throughout the rest of the world will be heard by those Americans who are more persuaded by reason and justice than by the rabid ideology of a small minority within their ranks.


Barack Obama Speech at DNC (July 28, 2004)

Barack Obama, an African-American running for a U.S. Senate seat for the State of Illinois, spoke at the Democratic National Convention being held in Boston. Here are some highlights from his speech. With thanks to www.unfutz.blogspot.com:

I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to he self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will he counted — or at least, most of the time.

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans — Democrats, Republicans, Independents — I say to you tonight: we have more work to do.

[...]

A while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, six-two or six-three, clear-eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week. As I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us? I thought of more than 900 service men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or with nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

Now let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America — there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

Tonight, if you feel the same energy I do, the same urgency I do, the same passion I do, the same hopefulness I do — if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president, and John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president, and this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come. Thank you and God bless you.



VOTER REGISTRATION

To Vote or Not To Vote is not an option for citizens come November 2004. The 2000 election proved without a doubt that every vote counts ---- including every single absentee ballot from overseas citizens --- and that candidates are not interchangeable. See that your vote gets counted both in the popular vote and for the Electoral College in your voting state.

CAST YOUR VOTE. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED.

The following sites will guide you through the procedure:

www.USAbroad.org - News for the citizen abroad

www.overseasvote.com - Exact detailed information on how to vote from abroad

www.avaworld.org - American Voices Abroad world website answers all FAQ on absentee voting

www.fvap.gov - The Federal Voting Assistance Program offers complete information on how to vote from abroad for military and civilian citizens

www.lwv.org – The League of Women Voters website

www.congress.org – A tool to guide all voters through the issues and the candidates


Important Information on Contributing to the U.S. Election Campaign from Abroad

Update from June 25th, 2004

U.S. federal law prohibits non-U.S. citizens, as well as companies, from contributing in cash or in-kind to U.S. election campaigns. A monetary or in-kind donation, i.e., a donation of one's professional time and skills by any foreign national is a violation of campaign finance laws. It is illegal to solicit, knowingly or unknowingly, a contribution of any kind from a foreign national. Violations of this law are severely punished (fines and possible imprisonment) and can have grave political consequences to the 2004 General Election campaign. The word and spirit of the U.S. Election law dictates that only U.S. citizens (or green card holders) contribute to the U.S. Electoral process.

This information has been passed on by the Democratic National Committee.


VOTE DEMOCRAT SAYS BELGIUM-BASED REPUBLICAN

3 June 2004 BRUSSELS

The former leader of the Belgian branch of the US Republican Party on Thursday urged fellow party members to bite the bullet and vote for the Democrats in this year's presidential elections. In an exclusive interview with Expatica, Christian de Fouloy said that Republicans should not vote to re-elect the current President because George W Bush had lied to the American people about links between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terror movement. "I decided that I could no longer stand up for what this administration was standing for," he said. De Fouloy is so angry with the current Republican President that he is setting up a group called 'Republicans for Kerry Europe. The organization has the express aim of persuading Expat Republicans based in Europe to vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry this November, De Fouloy explained. The move has drawn sharp criticism from Bush loyalists, but De Fouloy insisted his conscience was clear. "I feel what I'm doing is patriotic, it's for our country," he said.


TELL AN AMERICAN TO VOTE

Challenge your U.S. friends to vote in the November election! Give them a nudge and a gentle reminder that every vote counts and pass around the message provided at www.tellanamericantovote.com. Click the language you feel most comfortable with. Don´t know any American but someone you know does? Send it around!




ABSENTEE BALLOTS

Both Parties Reaching for Votes from Abroad Absentee Ballots Crucial in Election by Brain Whitmore in the Boston Globe describes how both political parties are paying unprecedented attention to the millions of Americans living abroad. Since many analysts predict an election as close as the Gore Bush finish in 2000, the consensus is that overseas votes could be decisive especially in the swing states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Gore led in Florida by 202 votes before absentee ballots were counted. Bush ultimately was credited with a plus of 537 votes after the Supreme Court blocked a statewide recount. The trouble with overseas voters is that they are difficult to track down and very expensive to poll according to officials from both parties. They have also been reluctant to vote because of the extra steps required to cast a ballot from abroad. Although Republicans have long claimed a 3-to-1 advantage in overseas voters, little is known about the party affiliation and voting history of present day overseas voters. Estimates by the Federal Voting Assistance Program which is run by the Department of Defense show a turnout by nongovernment American civilians abroad in the past four Federal elections at between 31 and 38 percent. Military turnout ranged from 64 to 69 percent and government-employed civilians placed at 64 to 79%. The article quotes Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, based in Washington, D.C. "We are likely to experience a higher voter turnout, partly due to mobilization and partly due to the high stakes. This may be one of the critical elections in American history. The country has not been as polarized as it is now since Vietnam." Indeed membership in Democrats Abroad has doubled since the beginning of the year and it reports a significant increase in voter registration.

Link to Boston Globe Article


ROCK THE VOTE

Rock the Vote presented a nationwide tour with musician Paul Van Dyk and included his public service announcement of voter empowerment to the legions of electronic music fans across the country. Van Dyk who grew up under East Germany's communist regime said he was excited to be part of the Rock the Vote campaign 2004. "Since I grew up behind the Iron Curtain I know what it's like to live without the option to vote. The freedom to make a choice is the basic principle of our democratic world." The Website www.rockthevote.com includes a report entitled A New Military Draft? It's on Everyone's lips. And it directly affects YOU.


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