During three nights in March, 2016, over 70 Americans living in the Tokai region, even coming from as far as Ishikawa, traveled their way to downtown Nagoya to cast their votes in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary held at Shooters.
They were driven to choose the best presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in the American general election later that year. The vote overwhelmingly went for Bernie Sanders who, despite being a relatively obscure candidate at the time, was able to inspire these Americans to make their way to exercise their democratic rights.
The energetic groundswell of Sanders’ supporters over the following months changed the dynamics of the election, delivered a sharp spur to the future internal reform of the party and caused a handful of those voters to re-establish the Tokai Chapter of Democrats Abroad.
The Tokai Chapter Chairperson, Amy Braun, joined because she wants U.S. expats to become more informed and involved. “I was really glad to see so many faces at the postcard-writing event we held over the summer. Our voices matter.” Amy said.
She thinks the Tokai chapter events are “great ways to inform and engage in a casual atmosphere,” and cited the DAJ’s national webinar in January for discussing the Women’s March as an example. She said that “It’s important for people to discuss what’s important to them and to turn their energy into action.”
One of the primary goals of Democrats Abroad is their effort to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) among overseas Americans. Absentee ballots played a decisive role in 2017 and 2018 special elections.
The mid-term congressional elections of November, 2018 will be critical and will likely have more extremely tight races. The helpful website www.votefromabroad.org has information to help Americans navigate the process of absentee ballots and includes details about each state’s rules.
Beyond voting, the most immediate concern that all American expats have during their time abroad are consular services and taxation rules. Democrats Abroad International does active door knocking events in Washington D.C. and has found sympathetic legislators willing to learn more about what it is like to live abroad as an American and how laws greatly affect expats.
For these two issues, Democrats Abroad has even found common ground with Republicans Abroad. Ms. Braun enthusiastically encourages all interested people to attend a DAJ Tokai Chapter monthly get together or a special event to just get to know fellow politically interested people, share concerns or just hang out. These gatherings are not just for U.S. citizens, but are open to anyone who is interested in relaxing over a drink to discuss life and politics.
Ms. Braun recommended the chapter’s Facebook page or Meetup.com group for details of upcoming events, and the Democrats Abroad website for in-depth information regarding the international organization. There are also volunteer opportunities throughout the year for those who wish to participate.
Upcoming DAJ Tokai events include:
April 8 – Annual Hanami picnic in Tsuruma Park 11:00~17:00
May 25-27 – Democrats Abroad Global Meeting in Tokyo
June 23 – Postcard write-in event, venue and time to be announced soon
Democrats Abroad Japan, Tokai
Democrats Abroad Japan, Tokai
Democrats Abroad website:
To register to vote or request your absentee ballot: