Democrats Abroad

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Democrats Abroad
Democrats Abroad logo.png
Founded1964; 56 years ago (1964)
AffiliationDemocratic Party
Office location430 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, D.C., U.S. 20003
CountryUnited States

Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the Democratic Party for United States citizens living permanently or temporarily abroad. The organization is given state-level recognition by the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats Abroad currently has members in more than 190 countries, with more than 41 organized country committees.[1] There are committees in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. These committees are formally represented by the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA). Some countries with particularly large concentrations of Democratic expatriates even have local chapters. Young Democrats Abroad represents Democrats Abroad in the functions of the Young Democrats of America.

Voting from abroad[edit]

One of the prime functions of Democrats Abroad is to assist U.S. citizens abroad in voter registration. To this end, it has created the website which overseas Americans (Democrats and non-members alike) can use to register to vote. Since Presidents and members of Congress are elected by state, Americans abroad vote in the state in which they have most recently lived, each of which has its own registration and voting procedures.

The website asks voters which state they last lived in and then starts a wizard specific to their state that asks for the information necessary to comply with the election laws of that state. After all the information has been supplied, a PDF is created, which the voter can then print, sign, and mail to the address provided (or sometimes fax, or scan and attach to email). Online voter registration is offered in Arizona (2002),[2] Washington (2008)[3] and 29 other states as of June 2016 [4]

Several weeks before the election, the Board of Elections or County Registrar (states use various names) sends the voter an absentee ballot which the voter then fills out and sends back in order to cast his or her vote.


In addition to helping Americans living overseas to register to vote, Democrats Abroad engages in many other activities, mostly on a per country or per locality basis. Among other things, Democrats Abroad:

  • Provides help where there are problems with absentee ballots
  • Organizes lectures, debates, and other events on political topics, often with guest speakers
  • Strengthens contact between American ambassadors and consuls and overseas Americans
  • Lobbies Congress on expatriate issues (e.g. citizenship for children born abroad etc.)
  • Represents Americans abroad in the Democratic National Committee
  • Raises funds for the Democratic Party
  • Runs a website containing news for Americans abroad


Democrats Abroad has eight officers. All of them are elected.[5] Officers include:

  • International Chair – Julia Bryan
  • International Vice Chair – Alexander Montgomery
  • International Treasurer – Lissette Wright
  • International Secretary – Jeffrey Cheng
  • International Counsel – Joe Smallhoover
  • Regional Vice Chair for the Americas – Kathy Rothschild
  • Regional Vice Chair for Asia/Pacific – Kat Allikian
  • Regional Vice Chair for Europe, Middle East and Africa – Will Bakker

Democrats Abroad is represented on the Democratic National Committee by eight members. The International Chair and Vice Chair are ex-officio members of the DNC.

Various country committees of Democrats Abroad have local caucuses representing groups such as Young Democrats, minorities, women, and the LGBT community.


Democrats Abroad was started with two small committees in London and Paris after Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the 1964 U.S. presidential election. Its original leaders, Toby Hyde and Al Davidson, raised funds and formed committees, and pushed for state-level recognition of Democrats Abroad. DNC Chairman John Bailey allowed Democrats Abroad to send nine non-voting representatives to the Democratic National Convention in 1972; in 1976, the group was granted the status of a state committee, with voting delegates in the Convention.

Over the years, Democrats Abroad has worked for securing the full citizenship rights for Americans living abroad. In particular, the group worked for overseas voting rights issues, supporting the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act in 1986, and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. Democrats Abroad switched the method of determining convention delegates from a primary to an open caucus in 1992. In 2008, Democrats Abroad switched back to a primary process. Former President Jimmy Carter is the current and first ever honorary chair of Democrats Abroad.[6]


Democrats Abroad sends a delegation to the Democratic National Convention every four years and has done so since 1976. Democrats Abroad holds a global primary awarding delegates to the convention.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Press". Democrats Abroad. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  2. ^ EZ Voter Registration: Arizona's online voter registration system
  3. ^ "Register to Vote in Washington State".
  4. ^ Legislatures, National Conference of State. "Online Voter Registration". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Executive Officers". Democrats Abroad. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  6. ^ Archived July 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]