BEING A PRECINCT COMMITTEE OFFICER
Many people who have been Republicans all their lives still have questions about how the Republican Party functions. Here are some answers.
What is a Precinct?
Each county is divided into precincts. They are the same for both Republicans and Democrats. San Juan County has 19 precincts. Each precinct may send one Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) for each party.
How are PCOs elected?
Each precinct formally elects a PCO every two years on the same ballot as congressmen. They also go through the same primary process.
If a PCO candidate runs unopposed in the Primary then they are determined “elected.” If a precinct is left vacant the chairman of the party may appoint one. An appointed PCO has all the same rights, but may not vote in the reorganization meeting held every two years to elect officers (see below). There are often vacancies.
Why are there PCOs?
A PCO chairs his precinct caucus at the presidential election. A presidential caucus sends representatives to the county convention, followed by state and national conventions. The national convention selects the presidential candidate for the party. There is more to it than that, but the PCO plays a crucial role. The PCO is also a member of the Central Committee.
What is the Central Committee?
The PCOs make up the SJC Central Committee of the Republican Party (SJCCCRP). The Central Committee meets regularly to decide on everything the county party does. At its most basic level, PCOs are people who work together to plan and carry out conservative goals. They have great latitude in determining what those goals are. The central committee must authorize all expenditures.
The central committee elects an “Executive Board” to lead the party every two years. This consists of a Chairman, Vicechair, Treasurer, State Committeeman, and State Committeewoman. The chairman appoints a secretary who is also a member of the Executive Board.
Here are some things that the Executive Board and the Central Committee may do together or by separating into smaller committees:
- Distribute candidate information to voters by doorbelling, mailers, and email
- Maintain and update the list of registered voters and send out mailers
- Plan Precinct Caucuses
- Formulate policy, recruit party candidates, and recruit volunteers
- Plan and hold fund-raising events to help carry out the mission of the party
- Endorse candidates assist various campaigns,
- Maintain bylaws to govern the party organization
- Work with the state Republican party as needed, the State Committeeman/woman help coordinate this
A strong and effective party looks to its PCOs to perform at least the above tasks.
These duties may take a minimum of ten hours per year, and more in election years.