In mid-August, the U.S. Democratic Party held its first-ever virtual national convention to choose Joe Biden as its presidential nominee. John Baumlin, national chair of Democrats Abroad Japan, was Asia-Pacific’s sole elected delegate for the event, where he had a chance to observe speeches and conversations across state lines. Baumlin, 31, is a technologist, activist and project manager who is closely tied to U.S. politics. With less than two months to go before Election Day, he is kicking into high gear to ensure that Americans living abroad can vote safely and effectively. In an election year defined by social distancing, global mail delays and threats levied at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), his work is cut out for him.

1. How long have you been living in Japan? I've been living in Japan for about six years now. I moved here shortly after graduating college in 2012, after the recession, when new graduates had a hard time finding work. Moving to Japan really helped me establish myself.

2. Did your upbringing inform your political views? I grew up in Lacey Township, New Jersey, just a few minutes away from the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. Part of the reason I got involved in politics was growing up right next to that power plant and seeing (former Gov.) Chris Christie refusing to implement new cooling rods, and seeing all the dead fish shore up along the river due to the heat.