Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the United States Democratic Party for expatriates, representing Democrats that are citizens of the U.S. but live outside the United States. The organization is given state-level recognition by the Democratic National Committee, and because of this is sometimes referred to as the 51st state. Democrats Abroad are represented on the DNC by eight members. The current chair of Democrats Abroad is Rachelle Jailer-Valladares.
Democrats Abroad currently has 60 committees, with 32 full status and 28 committees in formation. There are chapters in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. These committees are formally represented by the Democratic Party Committee Abroad. 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.
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 1975, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act in 1986, and the Federal Emergency Write-In Ballot. Democrats Abroad switched the method of determining convention delegates from a primary to an open caucus in 1992.
In the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, Democrats Abroad decided to hold their global convention in Edinburgh, Scotland (ahead of Toronto and Amsterdam, other cities considered). Local caucuses were held from February 6 to February 9, country caucuses from February 20 to February 23, and regional caucuses on March 27. At the global convention on March 28, the results were:
22 delegates and two alternates went to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
"Campaigns Look Overseas For Votes." Associated Press: May 17, 2004
Campbell, Blake. "Democrats gathering 'to put US back on track'." The Standard: February 9, 2004.
Cover-Messenger, Jonathan. "The other caucus: Democrats Abroad." Democratic Underground: February 6, 2004.
Cox, Christopher. "Some Dems go extra miles to beat Bush." Boston Herald: July 29, 2004.
Higham, Will. "Don't get angry, get even." Progress: January/February 2004.
LaBelle, G.G. "Americans around world play role in DNC." Associated Press: July 27, 2004.
Nelson, Fraser. "Democratic battle coming to Scotland." The Scotsman: February 11, 2004. Informational
Associated Press profile of 2004 delegates. Includes names and country of residence.
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