Becoming A Precinct Officer
Table of Contents
Letter from State Party….…...……………………………………………..3
Duties of Precinct Officers ……………………………………………….. 4
Duties of Democratic Delegates …………………………………………..6
Contacting Democrats in Your Precinct ………………………………... 7
Precinct Organizing Checklist …………………………………………... 9
Organizing a House Party for Your Precinct …………………………..10
Local Media Outreach …………………………………………………....11
Utah State Democratic Party Contacts …………………………………12
County Party Contact ……………………………………………………..14
Convention Season Dates ………………………………………………..14
Dear Utah Democrat:
Become a Precinct Chair or Delegate!
Often people think precinct officers and delegates are not critically important positions within the Utah Democratic Party. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially as our party begins the process of restoring a Democratic majority in Utah. By becoming a precinct chair, vice-chair, secretary/treasurer or delegate you will be on the front lines as we take back Utah street by street, precinct by precinct.
The next election cycle is critical to Utah’s future. Our state faces numerous challenges including enhancing educational opportunities for our children, sustainable economic development that leaves no one behind, and improving healthcare coverage for all Utahns. Only the Democratic Party stands ready to face these challenges with viable solutions.
People willing to serve at the precinct level as either an officer or delegate will play a bigger role in the party than perhaps at any other time in our history. The Utah Democratic Party and county Democratic Parties are organizing to activate Democrats in every community across the state with house parties, door to door campaigns, phone banking and extensive get out the vote efforts. You as a precinct officer or delegate will have the opportunity to help activate your community like never before.
Thank you for your willingness to get involved to make a real difference.
I and the entire Utah Democratic Party Executive Committee and staff look forward to working with you.
Duties of Precinct Officers
Precinct Chairs are members of the County Party Central Committee, which is the policy making body of the County Party. As Chair you are expected to attend County Central Committee meetings.
Submit names of persons willing to serve as Election Judges, giving preference to active Democrats.
Locate Democrats in your precinct. Recruit people for volunteer work like passing out candidate literature door to door, placing lawn signs on their property, phone banking, and getting people to the polls on election day. You will be asked to organize these efforts in your precinct.
Notify your county party and the state party of meetings and events in your area so this information can be shared with other Democrats. These may include a house party you or someone else in your precinct is hosting, a local community council meeting, or town hall meetings held by local office holders.
Assist with other duties as requested by County Party Officers.
Be prepared to host the next Precinct Caucus or find someone that will.
Precinct Vice Chair:
Precinct Vice - Chairs are members of the County Party Central Committee, which is the policy making body of the County Party. As Vice Chair you are expected to attend County Central Committee meetings.
Assist the Precinct Chair in their duties.
In the absence of the Chair, assume the duties of the Chair. If the Chair should give up the position, then the Vice - Chair shall become Chair.
Precinct Secretary/Treasurer: (May be separate positions)
Keep a list of all Democrats in your precinct.
Inform other Democrats in your precinct who are interested in Party meetings/events and encourage them to attend.
Help the Chair and Vice – Chair in their responsibility to organize Democrats in your precinct.
While it is unusual, precincts may raise funds for the support of the Party and its candidates. Examples of things you may wish to raise funds for include, but are not limited to:
• Sending mail notifying other Democrats in your precinct of Party events;
• Paying for distribution of candidate flyers in your precinct;
• Getting a list of all the registered Democrats in your precinct from the County Clerk (should be available from state or county party).
5. To prevent having to fulfill legal reporting requirements yourself, we strongly recommend you ask your County Party Treasurer to manage the funds for you and handle the reporting tasks. The County Party Treasurer could deposit the funds for your precinct and cut checks for disbursements as your precinct requires.
6. If your precinct wishes to maintain funds on its own, please know there are legal requirements that will have to be met. Please contact the State Party at (801)328-1212 for advice.
Duties of Democratic Delegates
Responsibilities of County/State Delegates:
The Delegates elected by a particular precinct represent that precinct. These Delegates are expected to attend and vote at all County Conventions, and give prompt notice to the Precinct Chair, Legislative Chair or County Chair if unable to fulfill these duties. The Delegate(s) shall also assist the Precinct Officers with party organizing at the precinct and legislative district level.
At County convention (with the exception of Salt Lake County) local Delegates will select State Party Delegates to represent their County at the State conventions. In the case of Salt Lake County all County delegates are automatically considered State Delegates.
At their respective conventions Delegates will vote on potential party nominees and on any resolutions/platform amendments offered in accordance with their respective County Party’s rules.
In odd year conventions Delegates will select their local party leadership at their respective County conventions. State Delegates will select state party leadership at the State Democratic Party’s odd year convention.
Contacting Democrats in Your Precinct
All Democratic Precinct Chairs are asked to organize their precinct using other Precinct Officers, Delegates and other Democrats willing to assist. This includes contacting all Democrats within the Precinct at least twice prior to election day during election years and at least once during off years. Precinct Chairs should also be prepared to do Get Out The Vote (GOTV) work on election day to ensure all Democrats within their precinct get to the polls.
During election years, we request all Precinct Chairs arrange to have every Democrat in their precinct contacted in June/July and again following Labor Day. During June and July it is essential initial contact be made to determine which Democrats within your precinct are willing to volunteer for one or more Democratic candidates running in your area. Opportunities to help include placing a lawn sign on their property, phone banking, going door to door for candidates, or making a financial contribution.
An example of a conversation you might have during June/July with a Democrat in your precinct follows:
“Hello, may I speak with (Democrat’s name)?
My name is ______________________ and I serve as your (Precinct Chair, other officer, or delegate) in our precinct.
I am calling to let you know we have a number of fine Democrats running for office this year. They include (list of some Democrats running in various races). These individuals need our help to get elected.
There are several things you can do to help. Would you be willing to place a lawn sign in your yard, go door to door, host a house party or phone bank for any or all of these candidates?”
If yes: “Thank you so much for your help. I or someone from their campaign(s) will be in touch soon to get the appropriate materials to you.
Remember to vote Democrat in November and to tell your neighbors and friends to do the same!”
An example of a conversation you might have following Labor Day follows:
“Hello, may I speak with (Democrat’s name)?
My name is __________________ and I contacted you as your (Precinct Chair, officer, or delegate) a couple of months ago regarding all the fine Democratic candidates we have running this year.
I am calling now to ask your help as we continue to get the word out in our precinct about these candidates and to prepare for election day. Would you be willing to help us phone bank, go door to door or do Get Out The Vote work on election day?”
If yes: “Thank you so much. I will sign you up for (whatever they are willing to do). We appreciate your support and together we will make a huge difference for Democrats in November.”
If no: “We remind you to vote Democrat this November. If you have any questions about any of the candidates or change your mind about helping out, please call (provide your phone number or local party HQ contact information).”
Precinct Organizing Checklist
As you organize your precinct, you will need to have the following information at your fingertips in order to answer questions and provide people with the tools they will need to effectively organize at the precinct level.
✔ Voter registration and absentee ballot forms (available at the County Clerk’s office
In order to qualify to vote in Utah a person must:
1. Be a citizen of the United States
2. Have resided in Utah at least 30 days immediately before the next election.
3. Be at least 18 years old on or before the next election.
4. First time voters must include a copy of a valid photo identification or proof of residence (or present it at the polls).
✔ A list of all registered voters in your precinct. This will be provided with the Precinct Chair’s packet following the March 13, 2012 mass meeting along with a map of your precinct. Precinct Chair’s/officers should use this information to develop walk and phone lists.
✔ By Labor Day or shortly thereafter you should know the polling place for your Precinct, though changes to polling place locations can change through October. Contact your County Clerk for this information and make sure this information is handy when you or others are calling Democrats in your precinct.
✔ Obtain campaign materials from each of the Democratic candidates on the ballot in your area. A complete list of candidates and their contact information will be available on the State Party website or in your precinct packet.
✔ Know the number for State Party HQ (801-328-1212) and the contact information for your local County Party (should be provided by your local party in the Precinct Chair’s packet distributed at mass meetings). County party contact information is also available online at www.utahdemocrats.org.
Organizing a House Party for Your Precinct
House parties are an excellent way to bring Democrats together as well as introduce your neighbors to Democrats in your precinct. These events provide people a way to gather in a fun, social setting while learning more about Democrats and what we stand for.
Here are some tips for organizing a house party in your precinct.
✥ Develop a guest list. Have each precinct officer and delegate create a list of people they know within your precinct. Include voters and non-voters, Democrats, unaffiliated voters and even Republicans that may be open to our message.
✥ Gather handouts from the State and County Parties. These may include recent newsletters, candidate information (include municipal, school board and other non-partisan races if held during an odd year), and information printed from various Democratic websites (include information from websites that may be of interest in your area such as labor websites, environmental groups, or other community groups whose message resonates within your local area).
✥ Decide what will be provided at the house party and how you will provide it. For example, you or someone within your precinct may be willing to host the party and provide refreshments. Alternatively, you may wish to have a potluck style event where people provide their own food to share.
✥ Will fundraising be a part of the event? You may wish to hold a house party for a particular candidate or for your County Party. If so, make sure people understand all checks should be made out to the candidate, County Party or State Party depending on who you are raising funds for. Also, please see our financial compliance packet at www.utahdemocrats.org.
✥ Consider whether you want to have a theme for your house party. Suggestions include: Meet the candidate(s) night, protect Social Security, protect open space, or some other local, state or national issue you think would resonate in your precinct.
Local Media Outreach
It has been said letters to the editor are among the most read items of the newspaper. If Democrats in your precinct want to get a message out about a particular issue or candidate, writing a letter to the editor is one of the best ways to make it happen.
Below is a guide to a number of state and local papers. We encourage precincts to organize letter writing campaigns regarding issues facing local communities in Utah. Make sure you keep your letters relatively short and provide your name, address and daytime phone number for verification purposes.
➣ The Wasatch Wave
675 West 100 South, Heber City, UT 84032
Fax: (435)654-5085 www.wasatchwave.com