Written by Doug Ibendahl
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.
Many people begin their political involvement by becoming a Precinct Committeeman. It’s the perfect place to get started for anyone interested in building a better Republican Party and advancing our GOP’s values. And many Republicans have remained Precinct Committeemen even years later after being elected to higher public office. For example, it’s not uncommon to find U.S. Congressmen who are also Precinct Committeemen. They maybe more than anyone appreciate the Precinct Committeeman’s role.
In all counties other than Cook, Republican Precinct Committeemen are elected to a two-year term in all even-year Primary Elections.
Republican Precinct Committeeman is an all-volunteer position.
Frequently Asked Questions:
We have tried to include the most commonly asked questions about the role of a Republican Precinct Committeeman. If you have a question that is not included in this section, just write to us.
When is the next election for Republican Precinct Committeemen? And how do I get on the ballot?
Your next opportunity to run for Precinct Committeeman is in the 2016 Primary Election. The period to gather petition signatures is September 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015 (last day to file petitions). We have all the information on how to get on the ballot, including the required forms online here.
What are the legal requirements?
You must be a United States citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a registered voter of the precinct.
Do all 102 Illinois counties have elected Republican Precinct Committeemen?
No. But it’s only one county that doesn’t. By Illinois law, Cook County does not elect Precinct Committeemen (from either Party). In theory, GOP Township Committeemen and GOP Ward Committeemen in Cook can appoint Precinct Committeemen (or “Captains” as they are sometimes called in Cook), but very few do on the Republican side.
Are all Republican Precinct Committeemen elected?
No. Republican Precinct Committeemen can also be appointed if no one ran in the Primary, or if an elected Precinct Committeeman vacates the spot for any reason. For information on how to be appointed to the office of Republican Precinct Committeeman, go to the Republican Precinct Project.
Is the County Chairman required to appoint Republican Precinct Committeemen to the vacant precincts in his or her county?
No. Such appointments are at the County Chairman’s discretion. However, County Chairmen certainly have the legal authority to appoint, and a good County Chairman recognizes that it’s in everyone’s best interest to have as many good Precinct Committeemen on the ground as possible.
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?
Contact Doug Ibendahl at email@example.com or by phone at (312) 648-0061.
How do I find out what precinct I’m registered in?
If you have a voter registration card, your precinct is listed there. Or you can look up your voter registration information via the Illinois Board of Elections here.
How do I know if my precinct is currently vacant?
If you have a Republican Precinct Committeeman, hopefully you hear from that person at least occasionally. But if you vote Republican and you’ve never been contacted, then your Precinct Committeeman either isn’t the greatest, or you very possibly don’t have one at all. Get in touch with your County Chairman to find out for certain. Contact information for your County Chairman can be found here. If you still have questions or problems, you can email Doug Ibendahl at firstname.lastname@example.org – be sure to include your name, contact information, and your county.
Is there any time when a Republican Precinct Committeeman can’t be appointed?
Yes. According to Illinois law, no appointment for Precinct Committeemen may be made between the Primary Election and the 30th day after the Primary Election. This one month “blackout period” is simply to deter any game playing that might occur in advance of the GOP county conventions held once every two years, in the month after the Primary Election. This “blackout period” has already expired for this year and it won’t come up again until immediately after the 2016 Primary Election.
Do Republican Precinct Committeemen play a role in choosing the County Chairman?
Yes. Every two years, the first duty of the newly elected Republican Precinct Committeemen is to elect the Chairman of your County Republican Party. Each elected Precinct Committeeman is a member of the County GOP’s Central Committee. Like a board of directors, this County Central Committee has the exclusive power to pick its Chairman.
What is the time commitment?
This volunteer position is really what you want to make of it. Some Precinct Committeemen are more active than others. And everyone understands that people get busy with work and family responsibilities. You can commit as much or as little time as you’re willing and able. However, ideally you should be willing to spend at least a few hours each month, with the most crucial time obviously being election season.
This article was originally published at RepublicanNewsWatch.com.