A Message to 8th District GOP Officers January 15, 2020
Roles and Responsibilities of Precinct Committeepersons
The roles and responsibilities of precinct committeemen and vice-precinct committeemen haven’t changed for over 150 years! In fact, it was Abraham Lincoln, our nations’ 16th president, who outlined in simple terms what we need to do to be successful in our elections. Those four main duties remain the same today.
To have successful elections:
o Divide the county into small districts and appoint a committee
o Make a list of people who will vote with you
o Talk to these voters
o Turn out ALL favorable voters to the polls on Election Day
There are different ways to accomplish each of these goals, so feel free to be creative along the way. For instance, although there was no internet in President Lincoln’s day, he would undoubtedly be an advocate for using it in order to win elections. The use of computers, websites, social media, and other interactive technology is a MUST today.
But DON’T FORGET…personal contact is still a very important part of any campaign. Writing a note or giving someone a call goes much further than sending an email. Additionally, as an elected or appointed precinct committeeman, you not only have a responsibility to the big picture of electing Republican candidates, but also to your friends and neighbors. Below is listed some of your responsibilities that go beyond Lincoln’s list.
Register New Voters: Set a goal for your precinct and increase it each year. Precincts are constantly changing; keep up to date.
Turn Out the Republican Vote on Election Day: Don’t forget the independents that usually vote with the Republican Party. There may also be some coalition groups that are favorable to the Republican Party.
Recruit and Train Volunteers: The more people who are involved in the process, the more likely they will vote and spread the Republican message. Happy volunteers usually bring in about five extra votes. Unhappy volunteers can lose you five votes. Volunteers expect you to be organized and ready for their services as scheduled. Give them definite things to do, feed them, and thank them.
Be the Local Advocate for the Republican Party: Be sure you are always prepared with the Republican message and able to answer any question the people in your precinct may ask (if they ask something you can’t answer, get the answer and get back to them).
Fill Your Precinct Election Boards: Elections can be lost by placing the wrong people in your local election boards. The people filling these positions must be knowledgeable in election law and know the latest rules and regulations. They must be familiar with who can be in the polls, how challenges are made, informed on provisional ballots, understand the requirements for voter ID, know the rules regarding watchers and pollbook holders, and how to detect voter fraud and report it. Be sure these people are trained by your local Republican Party. County clerks are responsible for training both political parties and may not talk about things that are critical to our Party. Be sure your folks understand what is expected from the Republican board members.
Update and Correct the Voter Name List: It is important that this information be updated to reflect an accurate listing of all voters in your precinct. Work with your county chairman to update this list based on their preferred method of list maintenance. Add newly registered voters along with their information, delete any persons who have moved or passed away, add telephone numbers/email addresses/changed addresses to the list, make note of people who will need a ride to the polling place, and make note of confined voters.
Be Involved in the Local Party’s Activities: As a precinct committeeman or vice-precinct committeeman, you need to be visible at Party functions. Attend Lincoln Day Dinners, work the fair booth, and help organize your local volunteers at parades and festivals.
Be Knowledgeable About the Election Law and State Party Rules: There are many code citations that relate to the activities of precinct committeemen and vice-precinct committeemen. These code citations give insight as to who is eligible to vote in a caucus, the dates precinct committeemen are elected, and the date for declaring a candidacy for committeeman. The IRSC Rules also have a complete section regarding the election, appointment, challenging, and removing precinct committeemen and vice-precinct committeemen.
Elect the Leadership of Your Local Party: Every four years you are responsible for electing the four county officers who will provide leadership for your local party. These people should possess leadership qualities, special skills, and creative minds. A whole set of tools for Precinct Committeepersons will be available at the 2020 Indiana Republican “Congress of Counties.” You can still register to attend at www.indiana.gop.