Apply for an Absentee Ballot, today!
If you live in Yonkers, Riverdale, North Bronx, Tuckahoe, Scarsdale, Pelham Manor, Mamaroneck, Harrison, Rye, along the Hudson River or anywhere in this map and are qualified to vote in the upcoming Democratic Primary, don’t forget to vote for our great friend and a champion of human rights in US Congress, Eliot Engel.
If you don’t live there or cannot vote in the Democratic primary, tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, or relatives who may qualify so they can vote for Eliot Engel.
As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for 30 years, and now as its Chair, Engel has supported our cause of freedom and democracy, our fight against Serbian oppression in Kosova, our cause for human rights for Albanian minorities in the Balkans, our cause of democracy in Albania.
Engel will bring back to Washington DC his wealth of experience and his unassailable record as a great representative of his district and of New York. He is great for our Albanian-American community, great for his district, great for New York, and great for America.
He has spent his life supporting us, now it is our chance to support him.
Don’t dismiss this fight. Vote! And if you can’t vote, pass the message to someone who can. We need all hands-on deck, this time around.
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Here is only a partial list of examples from Engel’s work that the Albanian-American community should know and appreciate:
Congressman Engel is founder and recurring leader of the Albanian Issues Caucus in US Congress, the most powerful political tool we ever had in Washington DC, from the time of Noli an Konitza.
From early on, he became an open supporter of Kosova’s independence, often a lone voice in recognizing it as the only acceptable solution. He was among the first to greet Ibrahim Rugova in Washington DC, in 1991 and formed with him a life-long friendship. With his colleagues, he played a direct role in securing the first federal fund dedicated specifically for Kosova. The amount was 5 million dollars, but the value was priceless. It established officially the American engagement in Kosova.
In 1994, he chaired the first hearing, specifically dedicated to the issue of Kosova, in the House of Foreign Affairs Committee and partnered with Congressman Ben Gilman to press the Clinton Administration to more strongly support Kosova against Milosevic’s repression.
He traveled to Kosova in April 1993 and returned there again in July 1996, to inaugurate the opening of a USIA office in Kosova, popularly known the “American Office”. This was his project and it took years of lobbying and hard work.
He raised the American flag in Prishtina, in July 1996, and lifted the spirit of the people of Kosova in a time when many Albanians felt they had been left in the mercy of Milosevic after the excluding Dayton Agreement. I’ve heard Congressman Engel say many times that he considered this the first ‘US embassy’ in Kosova.
With his caucus colleagues, he pressed the Clinton Administration to condition the outer wall of sanctions on Belgrade upon the situation in Kosova. He worked hard to prevent the administration from designating the KLA as a terrorist organization, dealing a major blow to the Serbian propaganda and lobbying efforts.
The input by Congressman Engel was crucial, during in the process in which the Clinton Administration explored the alternatives to halt the ethnic cleansing in Kosova and strongly supported the military intervention in 1999. He led his colleagues in major debates and resolutions in the US Congress about the war.
After the liberation of Kosova, he joined us, in the first organized group of Albanian-Americans who entered the free but badly destroyed Kosova. We hugged and we cried as we entered the border for the first time, only a few weeks after the Serbian/Yugoslavian army had been defeated by NATO.
Since then, Engel has traveled to the Balkans almost every year and continued his work in the next decade by pressing the Bush Administration to recognize the independence of Kosova. And since independence, he has pressed country after country to recognize the young republic and to support Kosova’s bid to join international institutions, including the IMF, World Bank, FIFA, etc. He is still lobbying on our behalf with Interpol and UNESCO.
Following Kosova’s independence, he battled with another US government agency, the Millennium Challenge Program to secure the country’s right to compete for sizable amounts of assistance. In the last few years, Kosova was awarded $50 million to improve energy delivery and government transparency. And if all goes well, that number could well increase by tens of millions.
Nor is his work limited to Kosova. As the founder of the Albanian Issues Caucus, he dealt immediately with problems of the nascent democracy in Albania. He helped with the establishment of the Albanian American Enterprising Fund and has worked closely with every Albanian government in the last 27 years.
He lobbied hard for Albania to become a member or NATO and was personally invited by President W. Bush for the signing ceremony in Washington DC.
He has traveled frequently to Albania, as an election observer, or in fact-finding missions, and has met with all the political leaders of the country over the years.
Engel lobbied for President Sali Berisha to be invited to the White House in 1995 as well as for US assistance to Albania during and after 1997. In the middle of the crisis in 1997, as Albania was descending into civil war, he traveled to represent the United States in the negotiations led by former Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and helped achieve the political compromise that saved Albania. He worked afterwards to guarantee that the borders and the integrity of Albania would remain untouched.
Congressman Engel has worked over the years with Albanians of Montenegro and has visited Ulqin and Tuz. He has worked with their community leaders. He has been several times to (now) North Macedonia, where he has developed important working relationships with several Albanian leaders and helped press for greater Albanian involvement in the government through implementation of the Ohrid Agreement.
In his first day, as the new chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee, he met with a group of Albanian-Americans from North Macedonia and Montenegro, to discuss their views and political aspirations.
In July 2019, on his way to Prishtina, he stopped in Presheva Valley, to meet leaders of the Albanian community in Serbia. Long overlooked and often forgotten, he asked the community to explain their concerns and expectations over about their political future.
No one, ever, in the long history of the Albanian nation, has been so deeply involved, for so long and with this rate of success.
If you can’t travel to a voting center because of COVID-19, the state will send you an absentee ballot.
The deadline to ask for one is June 16.
Fill the application form and it will come to your home by mail.
When you fill the absentee ballot application, check “temporary illness or physical disability” as the reason they are requesting an absentee ballot. (Pursuant to Executive Order 202.15 issued April 9, 2020).
You don’t have much time. The deadline is on Monday.
You can find the application form here, https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/AbsenteeBallot-English.pdf
Download and fill the application, then email it here: [email protected] for the Westchester County Election Board or here: [email protected] for the Bronx Country Election Board. (You can also fax them.)
If you’re confused by the application form, let me know and I will help you.