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Who is a Precinct Committee Officer?
The office of Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) is an elected official and the position is authorized by state law. Each precinct in the state is allowed two, one Republican and one Democrat. I don't know how third parties handle this. People run for this office by first filing with the County Auditor to run in the Primary. Write in ballots are accepted. See the rules for write in Candidates on the Auditor's website. Click HERE.
According to the Democratic Party (and probably state law) to be elected the candidate must get at least 10% of the votes cast for the most popular candidate of that party in that precinct during the primary election on August 19th. In general Bob Heath got the most votes of any Democrat so that usually means that you would have to get at least 10% of his total for your precinct. Thus if he got 51 votes in your precinct you would have to get at least 6 votes to have more than 10% of his total. The election of PCO's was held earlier this summer during the state primary on August 19, 2008.
PCO's take office following the November general election during even years and their first activity is the Reorganization meeting. Their term of office ends after the general election of the even year after they are elected. There is no automatic carryover from one session to the next. They must be re-elected or re-appointed if they wish to continue in office.
The only people who can vote for the state recognized officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, State Committee man, and State Committee woman) are elected PCO's.
According to the county vote totals the Democratic elected PCO's are: (they all had sufficient votes)
- North Lake - Bryan Bremner
- Republic #2 - Janine Summy
- Republic #3 - Jean Bremner Booher
- Republic #4 - Ronald L. Bacon
- St Peters Creek - Carolyn Jiles (Kisa)
- Storm King - Michael Sternberg
- Curlew Kai - Melissa Rose (Appointed)
- Curlew - Joe Abraham (Appointed)
- Malo - Denise Zipperer (Appointed)
Recently the State Chair, Dwight Pelz, suggested that while only the elected PCO's have a formal vote, they should carefully listen to other good Democrats if they have strong feelings about officers and attend the reorganization meeting.
Note: It is not necessary that only elected PCO's can be elected to be state recognized officers. I would strongly suggest that anyone who is elected to any office become a PCO, the elected chair can appoint them as a PCO.
Duties of a Precinct Committee Officer
A PCO is the link between the County, State, and National Democratic (and Republican) party and the people in the precinct. They assist the party in identifying Democrats and in mobilizing voters. While individual candidates for office will run their own campaigns, the PCO's should assist in these campaigns.
The State Party, in cooperation with the National Democratic Party, provides a computer data base (VoteBuilder) which provides access to the voter rolls in each county. Each PCO is authorized to have an account to use VoteBuilder. This is a very useful tool and it is still under development so it is constantly improving. It can be used to make voter lists, walking lists, calling lists, check on likely party preference and it can be used to store local information on voters for later access. Every time I learn something about a Democrat (phone no., email, cell phone, etc.) I save it in VoteBuilder. I never have to have separate mailing lists, calling lists, email lists, etc.
At the county level the PCO's form the County Central Committee. The Committee organizes events, collects money for events and candidates, works to get candidates for office, and works with the state and legislative district party organizations. Election observers are usually PCO's. The County Auditor will hold a training session for observers before the next partisan election and several PCO's will need to attend this.
At the legislative district level PCO's elect the officers. LD organizations generally work with County Central Committees but any PCO can attend meetings.
PCO's elect State Committee members who run the State party at state meetings. The State party sponsors numerous training and business meetings during the year which PCO's may attend.