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Obstacles to Voting for Citizens Living Abroad

Obstacles to Voting for Citizens Living Abroad

We talk to Liz Blackbourn and Annie Graul from Dems Abroad about what the organization does, the insane obstacles to voting when you are living or studying abroad, and what we can do at home to help.

Then Scott Girard and Jessie Opoien join to give a crash course on the state of Wisconsin Education funding and where we might end up after this year’s budget negotiations.

Why is it so Hard to Vote in Wisconsin When Living Abroad?

Since 2020, absentee voting by mail has gotten a lot of attention and grown in popularity for those who live where they vote. But for a lot of people, they’ve been voting absentee for a while because it’s their only option since they live abroad.  

One group that helps them, or especially helps the Democratic voters living abroad, is Democrats Abroad, whichis the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of  Americans living outside the United States. Democrats Abroad is recognized as a “state” party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is represented on the DNC by eight voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.

The organization has 48 country committees throughout the world, and those country committees keep Americans abroad informed of their rights and help them participate in the U.S. political process. 

We spent the first half hour talking to two members of the Dems Abroad Wisconsin team: Annie Graul who is based in Barcelona, Spain (where it was 7pm) and Liz Blackbourn who lives in China (where it was 2am). 

The biggest takeaway from the conversation: trying to exercise your right to vote as a US citizen while living or studying abroad is either going to be slow or expensive. 

Anyone can request their ballot from or and Courier the FWAB home at

Catch 22: Wisconsin K-12 School Funding vs. Reform

How we should fund schools and how much we should fund schools is a core piece of this year’s budget negotiations.  Our guests for this half hour should know, they wrote an exhaustive piece about it last month for The Cap Times: School funding hangs in balance of Wisconsin budget debate

Capitol Bureau Chief, Jessie Opoien, and K-12 Reporter, Scott Girard, join for a foundational conversation on the history of the ways we have chosen to fund schools in Wisconsin. At one point in the conversation, Scott mentions the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding that had a litany of recommendations, few of which have been adopted or even proposed in the Legislature. 

At its most basic level, the debate over our schools comes down to: one group saying that our schools are suffering because of a lack of spending and another group that’s saying our schools are not up to par so why would we give them more money? We end with Jessie giving her two cents on what the possible negotiating chips might be used and compromises the could be made when it comes to school funding in this year’s budget.

Reminder: There are 29 Days Until Wisconsin’s Spring Election

  • See what’s on your ballot here
  • You can register to vote online until March 15th, at your minicap clerk’s office until March 31st, and in person on April 4th at your polling place. Register or check your registration here.
  • Deadline to request an absentee ballot is March 30th – request yours here.

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