Precinct Delegates Q & A

What is a precinct?
The precinct is the smallest political unit in the country. As you know, the precinct is where elections are won and lost. It is your neighborhood. You know the people and you know what issues are most important to them.

What is a Precinct Delegate?
The role of a precinct delegate is one of the most important yet least understood of any elected office. It is the active precinct delegate who wins elections for the Democratic Party.

Precinct delegates are elected directly by the voters of each local voting precinct to serve as a “bridge” between voters and the Democratic organization itself. As a precinct delegate, you represent the Democratic Party in your neighborhood and you represent your neighborhood at Democratic Party meetings. As a Precinct Delegate, you should:

  • Vote at Democratic Party State, County, and Congressional District conventions.
  • Help Democrats get registered to vote.
  • Take information on issues and candidates to the voters in your precinct.
  • Identify other Democrats, and recruit new party members.
  • Help turn out the Democratic vote in your neighborhood on Election Day.
  • Keep Democratic leaders informed about the issues that concern voters.
     

How do Precinct Delegates get elected?
Precinct delegates are elected in the August Democratic Primary (August 2 in 2016). Only Democratic voters will choose Democratic precinct delegates by selecting a Democratic Party ballot. Republicans choose their precinct delegates by voting a Republican Party ballot.

Each precinct is allotted a number of precinct delegates based on past Democratic voting strength. Your district or county chair will be able to tell you how many delegate positions have been allocated to your precinct.

Precinct delegate candidates file an Affidavit of Identity for ballot access.  Your Affidavit of Identity must be notarized.

Candidates for precinct delegate must file their affidavit of identity form with their county clerk by mail or in person. The filing deadline for precinct delegate candidates falls on the thirteenth Tuesday prior to the August primary (4:00 pm May 3rd in 2016). A precinct delegate can now be elected with just one vote. (Formerly a precinct delegate needed a three-vote minimum.)  

Careful Review of Filings Urged: It is important to carefully review your precinct delegate filing to confirm that the filer has accurately identified his or her precinct of residence on the Affidavit of Identity form. Precinct delegate candidates who do not accurately identify their precinct of residence on the form will not be processed. Such errors can be corrected by the filer through the submission of a notarized statement anytime prior to the precinct delegate filing deadline. 

What are their responsibilities?

They are the campaign leaders for the Democratic Party in their precincts. After the primary, those elected will be officially notified by the county clerk by mail. The notification will include the time and place of the district or county Democratic convention.
Precinct delegates should take their official notification to the district or county convention to register with the convention credentials committee.

District or county conventions will elect delegates to the state convention. These conventions may also debate or adopt resolutions for recommendation to the state convention’s platform committee.

The state convention will debate and adopt a platform, nominate candidates for Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Supreme Court Justices, State Board or Education, and university boards.

Checklist to Become a Precinct Delegate:

  • Obtain a precinct map from the county, city, or township clerk’s office.
  • Find out the number of Democratic precinct delegate vacancies in your precinct.
  • File your Affidavit of Identity with your county clerk.
  • Find out how many candidates have filed for precinct delegate in your precinct.
  • Your Affidavit of Identity must be notarized.
  • If you have opposition, contact your neighbors, friends, and family that reside in your precinct and ask for their support.