York Township Democratic Organization

Precinct Committee

Each precinct may have one precinct committee person from each party. The official name for this position is "precinct committeeman," but many have justifiably objected to this term on the grounds that it is gender-biased; some of the most effective precinct committee members are women.

Committee members are elected in the primary elections held during the winter of even-numbered years. You must live in a precinct in order to run in that precinct. In precincts in which no one is elected, the chair of the county party, usually with the advice and consent of the township party chair, may appoint someone to serve until the next primary; such appointees need not live in their precincts.

Responsibilities

The precinct committee representative is the main liaison and relationship builder between the Party and the voters in that precinct. This means convincing voters to go to the polls and support good Democratic candidates, and listening to their concerns so that they can be conveyed to candidates and Party leaders.

Precinct committee persons also have certain other duties. They elect the leadership of the county and township party organizations, may appoint Democratic election judges, and may (after proper training) register voters.

The precinct committee person is vital in getting local Democrats elected to office. In 2002, candidate Tom Berry ran against Congressman Henry Hyde, and lost in every precinct. In 2004, Christine Cegelis very nearly defeated Hyde, getting close enough to force him into retirement. What made the difference? One factor was the dedicated volunteers Cegelis had in selected precincts; she won every precinct in which she had such a volunteer.

For a current list of Democratic Precinct Committee members in York Township click here.

Becoming a Committee Member

First, you need to know your precinct. Check your voter registration card, or look here. Enter your address on the form, not the address of the place where you vote, which may not be in your precinct.

Then check the above committee list to see if there is already a committee person from your precinct. If there isn't, contact us about volunteering. You can be appointed to fill the vacancy until the next even-year primary, at which time we will assist you in getting on the ballot.

If there is an existing committee member in your precinct, you have a few options. You can get on the ballot for the next election to run against that person, but we would only recommend doing this if you feel that the current person isn't doing an effective job. Alternatively, you can be appointed to "loop," i.e. work a different precinct that doesn't have an elected committee member, or you can volunteer to assist the current committee person in your own precinct, thus doubling his or her effectiveness. This last option won't allow you to vote for party leadership, appoint election judges, etc., but you will still be doing the important work of helping to elect Democrats.

Training Material

The county party has a manual for precinct committee members, and sometimes offers training sessions.

Operation: Turn DuPage Blue is another source of training for precinct committee workers; contact them through their site if interested.

The Quick 'n Clean Foundation has a wealth of good material. Of particular interest are the manuals on Building Dynamic Precinct Organizations.

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