“Here is a proposal for the Koch brothers’ donors on how they can actually change the Republican Party in a way that would favor conservative candidates in the primary elections and the internal Party officer elections – including all the way “up” to the RNC.
The greatest open secret in politics is that the Republican Party apparatus is weakest where it ought to be strongest: at the precinct level.
All RNC member slots are filled. All state committee officer positions are filled. Virtually all county and local district committee officer positions are filled.
But, only about half of the precinct-level positions, which elect, directly, or indirectly, all of these Party officers, are filled. It’s been estimated that the Republican Party has about 400,000 of these precinct-level internal voting positions (called precinct committeeman in most states). It’s been estimated that about 200,000 of these positions are vacant.
And the RNC does not want any one, especially conservatives who want to “do something” politically, to know this. Have you ever received a letter from the RNC asking you to get involved in your party as a voting member of it on your local committee, where you can cast votes for the Party leadership?
Have you ever wanted to be in a position to cast a vote for who is your county chairman? Your state chairman? Has anyone from the Party told you how you can get into that position? Again, have you ever received a letter from the RNC asking you to become a precinct committeeman where you live?
You haven’t, if you get the same letters I receive. The RNC asks for your time, your effort, your money. But they do not ask you to become a voting member of the Party on your local committee. And those letters are proof of that….”
Read the rest of the article here.
GOAL. Strengthen the effectiveness of precinct committeemen.
PROCEEDURE. Train, organize and motivate party members to be effective workers in their precincts.
TRAINING. Hold meetings several times a year to provide training which includes description of duties, powers bestowed on precinct committeeman, and information regarding voting regulations and how to use these regulations to benefit our precinct voters. This includes, but is not limited to, information on how to use absentee ballots, registration of voters and how to get out the vote. Monthly meetings are probably too frequent. Meeting should probably be based on general election dates and primary election dates which means 6 or 8 meetings a year is probably adequate. Meeting months should probably be February, March, July, August, September ,October, November, and December.
ORGANIZE. In the beginning, core members of the meeting will be precinct committeeman and county party officers. Quickly included should be election judges, block captains, and motivated citizens who want to help with elections. This group should offer suggestions on how to fill vacant precincts, block captains, and other work tasks. We can learn from each other on how to make our precincts increase voter turnout.
MOTIVATE. County and state candidates should be speakers who provide the group with their vision of good government and offer encouragement to the group to help reach those goals. Other speakers and special programs can be used as well. County officers can use this contact with precinct committeemen to offer personal encouragement to the precinct committeemen. County office holders should occasionally attend and thank the precinct committeemen for their work and efforts.
The meetings could be started with an evening meal provided by leaders. This would make the meetings more desirable to attend and promote comradery among the precinct committeemen. A meal could be pizza, or maybe cold cut sandwiches with potato salad and drink. This might be done for 3 or 4 dollars per person. Total expenses would be small in the beginning, but would grow if the project is successful. But if the project is successful and we begin to elect county wide offices, the expense would be worth it.
I expect a small group of us would provide the monies to start the project to see if the project is worthwhile.
Danny Hare, Green 1 Precinct Committeeman, Mercer County
By Laurie Bluedorn
You have no doubt heard the expression, “All politics is local.” That may be true in many respects, but it’s certainly true in one way which Republicans have paid little attention to.
Republicans have filled only half of their PC positions throughout the state. It’s PCs who turn out Republican votes at the local level, who elect Republican county chairmen, and who vote for members of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.
If we want to restore honor and accountability to the party at the state level and enable conservative candidates for success in future elections, the answer is within our reach: fill as many Republican PC positions with some real grassroots conservative people.
Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to find information on what a PC is and how to run for that position. Do a search for “precinct committeeman” on the official Illinois Republican web site weareillinois.org — you won’t find any references. If you want to control a party, you need to discourage grassroots participation and keep the power in the hands of a few — and this principle is one which the establishment Illinois Republicans hold dear. It’s called top-down politics.
Duties of a Precinct Committeeman
–A Republican Precinct Committeeman represents the Republican voters of his precinct. He is the liaison between the Republican voters in his neighborhood (precinct) and the county’s Republican Party.
–Get out the vote. “This volunteer position is really what one makes of it. Some do more than others. But the Republican Precinct Committeeman’s job is in essence all about helping to grow the GOP and working to deliver the maximum number of Republican votes from his or her precinct on Election Day. Precinct Committeemen comprise the core of any grassroots effort and no political campaign can be successful without these front line GOP ambassadors.” (taken from Republican News Watch by Doug Ibendahl.
–Republican Precinct Committeemen are to advance the Illinois Republican platform principles of lower taxes, smaller government, fiscal responsibility, individual freedom, strong national defense, and traditional family values.
–Precinct Committeemen are responsible for appointing their party’s election judges and are also able to register voters in their precinct. This will allow people to register to vote without having to drive to the courthouse.
–All the elected PCs of a county make up that county’s Central Committee.
10 ILCS 5/7-8(d): “The county central committee of each political party in each county shall consist of the various township committeemen, precinct committeemen and ward committeemen, if any, of such party in the county.”
For example, Mercer County has a total of 24 precincts. Those 24 elected Precinct Committeemen of Mercer County (if indeed all 24 precincts have people running for PC) are called the Mercer County Central Committee.
The members of this county Central Committee are the only people who are allowed to vote during the County Convention, which is held every two years, 29 days after the March primary. Two important votes happen during a County Convention:
1) election of the County Chairman, and
2) election of the Illinois State Central Committee member (read more on the Illinois State Central Committee. The County Chairman is elected for a two-year term and the Illinois State Central Committee member is elected for a four-year term.
10 ILCS 5/7-9(a): “On the 29th day next succeeding the primary at which committeemen are elected, the county central committee of each political party shall meet within the county and proceed to organize by electing from its own numbers a chairman and either from its own numbers, or otherwise, such other officers as such committee may deem necessary or expedient. Such meeting of the county central committee shall be known as the county convention.”
How to Run for Precinct Committeeman
MEET THE REQUIREMENTS — To run for Precinct Committeeman you must be:
–A registered voter of your precinct.
GET ON THE BALLOT
–Fill out the Precinct Committeeman Primary Petition and print two copies.
–Begin gathering signatures of registered voters IN YOUR PRECINCT beginning on Sept. 1, 2015.
–Meet the signature requirements – Precinct Committeemen require a minimum of 10 signatures. Make sure to get at least 20 signatures to avoid a petition challenge.
–File the following nominating papers (Statement of Candidacy and Loyalty Oath) with your County Clerk (along with your petitions with the 20 signatures) the week of Nov. 23-30, 2015.
Elected vs Appointed Precinct Committeemen
–The County Chair must be a currently elected Precinct Committeeman. Any other county party officers (vice-chair, secretary, treasurer) do not have to be elected PCs. See 10 ILCS 5/7-9 (a) cited above.
–What if there is a vacant precinct — no one runs for Precinct Committeeman in any particular precinct in that year’s primary? The newly elected County Chair (elected at the County Convention) may appoint a Precinct Committeeman for a vacant precinct one day after the County Convention, not before.
10 ILCS 5/7‑9(i): “Except as otherwise provided in this Act, whenever a vacancy exists in the office of precinct committeeman because no one was elected to that office or because the precinct committeeman ceases to reside in the precinct or for any other reason, the chairman of the county central committee of the appropriate political party may fill the vacancy in such office by appointment of a qualified resident of the county and the appointed precinct committeeman shall serve as though elected; however, no such appointment may be made between the general primary election and the 30th day after the general primary election.”
10 ILCS 5/7-8(b): “All precinct committeemen elected under the provisions of this Article shall continue as such committeemen until the date of the primary to be held in the second year after their election.”
An appointed PC serves “as though elected,” so, his term, as well as the elected PC’s term, expires at the date of the next primary. Therefore, an appointed PC cannot be elected as county chairman, vote for county chairman or vote for the SCC unless he is elected at the primary election preceding the county convention.
Just like the person who serves on the petty jury — whose vote may be the most important judicial vote there is — if you believe in small “r” republicanism, then the Precinct Committeeman may be the single most important political position in state government.
And it only takes a few signatures.
Written by John Biver
Among conservatives there is a great deal of anger with the current Republican Party leadership in Washington, D.C., and in many state capitals. A lot is being written on this topic by commentators this summer because of the popularity of “outsider” candidates running for the GOP presidential nomination.
In many quarters this anger has turned into rage. This discontent with the Republican Party is not new. Countless people have already left the party, many a decade or more ago. It is clear that the level of frustration is growing, and more than ever we hear talk about the heightened civil war within the GOP, as well as the possibility that the Republican Party would cease to exist as a viable political entity.
Sounds like a great time for a series of articles calling for more conservatives to run for the office of Republican Precinct Committeeman, eh?
Let’s do a little intellectual exercise. With a wave of a magic wand the Republican Party no longer exists. That’s right, let’s pretend the GOP is gone. Dead. Off the stage.
Instead, one or more new or existing parties have vied for chance to fill the new gaping hole in the American political scene, and one has arisen. A new, fresh, clean political party is now in place that is without blemish.
Okay, now what will be needed?
A lot of people. Many very good leaders. An effective structure and organization. A great deal of skill on the part of all new party members to get the job done that parties exist to accomplish.
Party chairman will be needed at all the various levels. Central Committee members will be needed. Candidates for government office will need to carry the party’s banner. Oh, and yes, among many other things, precinct committeemen will be needed. Many thousands of them.
Here’s my question to those out there who have left the party or are threatening to. If you’re not a precinct committeeman now, will you be in this new party? Or will you sit on the sideline and declare that you’re going to wait until this new party proves worthy or your support?
Rather than give you my prediction about what most of you will probably do, let me tell you what will happen: all the rejects and failures and idiots and corrupt people that populated the ranks of party activists of the now defunct Republican Party will be looking for a new party home. And guess what. All of the above will fill out the ranks of the new party because conservatives will return to their former habit of treating American politics like a spectator sport rather than what it is — an arena where participation is both a duty and obligation to fulfill as a citizen.
Okay, let’s close out that exercise. Here’s some good news for you that should help to encourage you to stop waiting for a new, pure party to arise. There are thousands of vacancies to be filled right now in the Republican Party. Those vacancies exist at the level of Republican Precinct Committeeman.
Republican News Watch has tracked a couple of election cycles and tallied up just how many open precinct committeeman posts there are — you can find that web page here.
In both 2010 and 2012 roughly half of the spots were open — fifty percent! Let me assure you, the numbers are similar today heading into the 2016 elections.
If the Republican Party died tomorrow I wouldn’t care a lick because the fact is, whether it’s called the Grand Old Party or the Grand New Party, the work still has to get done — and conservatives will still have to engage in sufficient numbers to steer it in the right direction.
The fact that we’re off course now is the same reason a new party could follow suit: Lack of participation by conservatives.
Let’s paraphrase Patton: political parties are run by people who actually go out and do things.
We’re not done here. More next time.
Up next — Part 4: Running for Republican Precinct: What You Need to Know
Read Part 1 HERE.
Read Part 2 HERE.
Written by John Biver
In our first post we quoted from Fay Voshell’s recent article, “The Little Hand,” words that should stir everyone on the political right into action. Voshell’s post is political writing at its best, and in my view — it is political writing as art. Speaking of art, here are a couple of lines spoken to idle troops during a battle in Shakespeare’s Henry V:
It is no time to discourse. The town is beseeched, and the trumpet call us to the breach, and we talk and, be Chrish [by Christ], do nothing, ’tis shame for us all.
Clearly, human nature hasn’t changed in the last four centuries.
The state of our nation is a cause for shame for politically conservative Christians who are not in the fight. This series of articles is being written to encourage more of you to run for the party office of precinct committeeman. If you absolutely cannot run yourself, then you have a duty to help recruit those who can.
What exactly is a precinct committeeman? It is the person who presents the big political picture to Americans at street level.
The political arena is mostly a mystery to regular Americans. The role and operation of the political parties is even less well known. It’s easy to see the election campaigns and read the news stories about candidates and office holders. It’s not as easy to see the actual workings of the machine behind it. While many dramatic portrayals on television and in film do a fine job over all, most of the finer details get left out.
To start at the important beginning, let’s define what a political party is — here’s as good a definition as any:
A political party is an organization of people which seeks to achieve goals common to its members through the acquisition and exercise of political power.
Note — that’s not the definition of a think tank or issue advocacy organization or talk radio show or political website or what goes on via social media. The acquisition and exercise of political power is the purview of political parties.
If you’re not currently helping to fight the battle inside a political party, you are on the outside of where political power is aquired and exercised.
Political party structures vary by state and locality, and here’s a general outline going from top down. There exists the National Party — in the case of the GOP, it’s the Republican National Committee, made up of members from each of the states.
In Illinois there is a statewide committee, called the Central Committee, which is made up of members elected within Illinois congressional districts by the votes of precinct committeemen at county conventions.
County-level parties have their own committees, and township and ward level parties typically are governed by a board, elected by the township or ward precinct committeemen.
One important variant should be noted before going any further. In Cook County there are no elected precinct committeemen, but rather precinct captains that are appointed by the township or ward chairman who is elected by Republican voters on the GOP primary ballot in even-numbered years.
Have you got that memorized? Just kidding. But it’s a good idea to understand the basic structure.
Okay, now… What is a precinct committeeman?
Let me quote from the single best article on the web answering that question — it can be found here at Republican News Watch (RNW), which is based in Chicago. The site contains a wealth of information, and you would be wise to make use of the resources found there. RNW is the work of Doug Ibendahl and Cathy Santos, two long-time party veterans.
Here’s just an excerpt:
What is a Republican Precinct Committeeman?
A Republican Precinct Committeeman represents the GOP voters of his or her precinct at the County Republican Party level.
But most importantly, a Republican Precinct Committeeman is the face of the GOP within the precinct. In many cases, a Republican Precinct Committeeman might be the only party official a voter ever meets in person.
This volunteer position is really what one makes of it. Some do more than others. But the Republican Precinct Committeeman’s job is in essence all about helping to grow the GOP and working to deliver the maximum number of Republican votes from his or her precinct on Election Day. Precinct Committeemen comprise the core of any grassroots effort and no political campaign can be successful without these front line GOP ambassadors.
The principle means of doing the job is just an extension of what most people already do – talking to the neighbors.
By becoming a Republican Precinct Committeeman you can take a leadership role in advancing the Republican Platform principles of lower taxes, smaller government, fiscal responsibility, individual freedom, strong national defense, and traditional family values.
Be sure to click here to read the entire article, as well as answers to important questions such as these in their Frequently Asked Questions section:
When is the next election for Republican Precinct Committeemen? And how do I get on the ballot?
What are the legal requirements?
Are all Republican Precinct Committeemen elected?
Is the County Chairman required to appoint Republican Precinct Committeemen to the vacant precincts in his or her county?
I submitted a request to my County Chairman seeking to be appointed as Republican Precinct Committeeman for a vacant precinct, but have not received a response even after multiple follow-up attempts. What can I do?
Up next — Part 3: More reasons why you should run for precinct committeeman.
Read Part 1 HERE.
Written by John Biver
“…For many years some of us have been calling on everyone on the political right to stop being citizens in name only. We need a “troop surge,” we said, and we need to realize that involving ourselves in the work of “We the People” government is our duty, our obligation – it’s not an option.
The barriers to political participation are numerous. “I hate politics.” “I don’t have time for politics.” “I’ve got better things to do.” “It’s not my job.”
Hating politics is not an excuse for not participating in self-government, and few people I know have a lot of free time. All around us are the economic and cultural consequences of conservatives shunning political participation. And if you think it’s not your job, please go back to school and learn those opening words of the U.S. Constitution: “We the People.”
Do you know who uses none of the above excuses to avoid political action? The people that want to fundamentally transform the United States. The people who work out their psychological problems through activism and public policy….
You’re busy. I get it. You hate politics. I understand. The Republican Party disgusts you. I hope you realize you’re not alone in that sentiment….
Plato wrote in his Republic that “if a man will not himself hold office and rule,” “the chief penalty is to be governed by someone worse.”
…I’m not sure if Plato had political party “offices” in mind, but he might as well have. Political reform is necessary before we’ll ever see all the much needed policy reforms.
The question then becomes, “Are you telling me that one little precinct committeeman makes a darn bit of difference?”
Yes, I am. Just like every GI had a role to play on D-Day. No one is asking you to go it alone. On the contrary, your help will also be needed to form up a squad, then a platoon — and don’t stop there. Lead, or help find the leaders who can then tend to the companies and battalions (etc.) that will be required.
“What is a precinct committeeman, anyway?”
Glad you asked. Let’s start getting into that next time.
Read the entire article here.
“The most powerful office in the world is NOT the president of the United States,” says a popular pamphlet some say was penned by conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly as far back as the late 80s. While the President of the United States is the most powerful man (or woman) in the world, being a precinct committeeman can make huge differences in the way things are. And it is one that isn’t so difficult to win. Read the rest of the article here.
My name is Danny Lee Hare. You elected me to the post of Republican Precinct Committeeman for Greene 1 Precinct. Politics is not an activity that I aspire to. Also I do not have the personality to easily perform this job. I have always been a quiet guy and some would say a wallflower.
So why am I here? It was the summer of 2013 that I decided I had reached a fork in the road. I could continue to live my life quietly as I have done in the past, or I could become active trying to do something that will benefit my world. I chose the latter. I will be 80 years old next August. In the past several years I have contemplated the future of my descendants, and I am not happy with what I see. I see government becoming more intrusive in the daily lives of our citizens. The government is completely out of control with its spending. We have been printing $85 billion every month for many months, and we continue to borrow an additional $1 trillion every year. The people who must pay this bill are my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren. This is grossly unfair to them. I grew up in a nation that allowed individuals to achieve their dreams, and I took advantage of that and tried to be all that I could be and was successful. Government has now changed that and has tended to become a force that picks winners and losers. I believe this intervention is wrong and should be stopped. Locally there are some important issues which you should become aware of, and I will expound on these in future letters. The purpose of this letter is to keep our members informed about politics and events in our community which you may find useful.
I know that we can have little impact on events that happen nationally, however I think we can have a meaningful impact on local government. As I have talked with some of my friends and neighbors during the last several months I have discovered that I am not alone. Many of them are of the opinion that America is heading in the wrong direction. We can correct this by voting for candidates who are dedicated to getting our nation and local governments back on track. So, my job is to help people in my precinct to be informed and vote for candidates who represent our values.
Precinct committeemen have several duties to fulfill. They should help individuals register to vote. We can help individuals obtain absentee ballots and vote early if they choose. We must select our party’s election judges and poll watchers and see that they are trained to do their job. We can help people to get to the polls on election day. I will try to answer questions that anyone has about government. In the coming week I will attend training that will educate me on how to perform these duties. I will be in touch with the voters in my precinct later this summer.
I will send out another letter asking for volunteers to be election judges and poll watchers. Training will follow and our party will provide support required for successful execution of these duties. At the moment, I am in need of someone to volunteer or to work as a paid computer operator to prepare mailing label files. I need someone to enter addresses into a mailing label program which will create mailing labels for my mailings. If you know of someone who would be willing to do this, please contact me.
In the meantime, I encourage you not to give up. I am certain there are many people who think like me and you. If we band together we can accomplish many good things. It is a noble endeavor that we try to make a better world for our children and grandchildren. Let’s do it together.
Danny L. Hare
Greene 1 Precinct Committeeman