What is a Precinct Chair?
A Precinct Chair is the most important leadership role in the Denton County Republican Party. Simply put, a Precinct Chair is the central manager for the smallest unit in the party. As the only elected official in the precinct, they have roles and responsibilities in, and to, the party. They also have a lot of fun and meet a lot of people! Precinct Chairs are boots on the ground that have day to day interaction with the voters in their area. Each County is divided into precincts; there are currently 179 precincts in Denton County!
1. What are the responsibilities of a Precinct Chair?
- Getting people in your precinct involved:
It’s almost always easier to do work with two or more people as opposed to doing things by yourself. This is particularly important as a Precinct Chair. Your main job as a Precinct Chair is to get as many voters in your precinct to vote for Republicans in elections. The best way for people to take action is by being invested in the election. Get people involved in the following areas where they have the most interest. They are volunteers and volunteers usually start with something small and then make a larger commitment as they are more
invested in something. So get them involved in any part of working your precinct
that you can. And don’t forget to ask them to help. Most people will help with something small. Get them involved and then the most committed will keep asking for more things to help with.
- Identifying voters
Get to know voters in your precinct. Be the first to welcome new neighbors and let them know you are their Republican Precinct Chairman—this can be a good way to start a conversation which can determine their political leanings. Learn who your consistent Republican voters are so you can count on their support. Learn who is a “swing voter” or who does not usually vote, so that you might persuade them to vote Republican. Also, know who the Democrats are, so that you can make relationships and have conversations which might switch their views, or so that you can leave them alone when it comes to Republican Party politics. You can request lists of voters from the DCRP Headquarters or utilize “GOP Data Center” to help you with this process. Identifying voters and recording this information is also called “canvassing.”
- Getting people in your precinct involved:
- Registering voters
Always be ready to register a Republican to vote by becoming a Deputy Voter Registrar (DVR). DVRs take a short training course and an oath from the county Voter Registrar and are then allowed to accept a completed voter registration application card from a new voter and take it to the Voter Registrar. Contact your local Voter Registrar for more information.
- Informing voters
You need to be the political leader in your neighborhood. Keep in touch with Republicans in your area and let them know of current political events, issues, upcoming elections, and opportunities for involvement with the local party, clubs or campaigns. Distribute campaign literature, bumper stickers and yard signs to decorate your precinct.
- Turning out voters
All the prior steps mentioned lead up to this one! Once you have identified your voters, registered them to vote, and kept them politically informed, it’s time to make all of that count- get them to the polls to vote Republican! The most common activities that remind voters to vote are walking door-to-door (“block walking”) and making phone calls (“phone banking”). Assist those needing to vote early by mail (contact your County Clerk for help). Offer to
accompany neighbors to their polling place or drive people that need a ride. Efforts to turn out voters are often referred to as “Get-Out-The-Vote” efforts or “GOTV.”
- Registering voters
2. Attend the monthly County Executive Committee meeting (CEC).
As a Republican Precinct Chair you’re entitled to a vote at the CEC meeting that meets the 3rd Thursday of the month except for November and December (November is our Annual Volunteer Banquet.) The County Executive Committee is made up of the County Chairman and all the Precinct Chairmen in the county. As the representative of your precinct, you should make every effort to attend each meeting. Your presence counts towards a quorum enabling official
business to be conducted. On those occasions you are not able to attend, you should have someone there who will collect any handouts and take notes for you. However, such a substitute is prohibited from voting as your proxy (Sec. 171.026).
3. Be involved in your local elections.
As Precinct Chairman, you have responsibilities in your local elections. In addition to maximizing the Republican vote, ways to be involved include:
Primary Election—Campaigning. There is nothing in the Election Code or RPT Rules prohibiting a Precinct Chair from getting involved in contested primary races or nonpartisan local elections. Be sure to check you County Executive Committee Bylawsto see if there is a provision that prohibits you from endorsing or becoming involved in contested primary races. You should become knowledgeable about your local situation before publicly taking sides in a contested primary race. Contested races sometimes create hard feelings or damage relationships. Becoming involved in a campaign may include going door-to-door (“block walking”), making phone calls (“phone banking”) or handing out campaign material for a candidate.
Primary Election—Working at the Polls. In Primary Elections, County Chairmen (with approval of the County Executive Committee) appoint Election Judges for each precinct in the county, and the Election Judges appoint clerks to assist them. Some County Chairmen require that their Precinct Chairs fill these positions as it can be difficult to recruit all the volunteers it takes to setup, run, and tear down the polling places on Election Day. Working the polls is also a great way to ensure ballot integrity for our Party and to get to know voters in your area. Note, however, that duties involved in closing the polls, completing the paperwork, and delivering the ballot box to the central counting station sometimes will conflict with the Precinct Chairman’s duty to run the Precinct Convention (see “Convention Activity” below). This should be considered by the County Executive Committee when making arrangements for Election Day.
General Election—Campaigning. Precinct Chairs should be eager to assist Republican candidates in any way possible. Becoming involved in a campaign may include going door-to-door (“block walking”), making phone calls (“phone banking”) or handing out campaign material for a candidate. It is particularly important for Precinct Chairs to be involved in these efforts as you know your precinct better than anyone.
General Election—Working at the Polls. In every precinct where our Republican candidate for Governor in a gubernatorial election wins, we are eligible to have a Republican Election Judge in the following General Election. Precincts where our candidate for Governor came in second are entitled to have a Republican as Alternate Judge. Your serving as Judge or Alternate Judge is very important to our Party’s ballot integrity and reduces the need to recruit ballot integrity volunteers. This is further incentive to get-out-the-vote! Names for Election Judges must be submitted by the County Chairman to the Commissioner’s Court the summer preceding the general election; remind them to submit your name!
4. Be involved in conventions.
As Precinct Chairman, you have responsibilities in the convention process. These include:
Precinct Convention. The Election Code designates the Precinct Chairman as temporary chair of the precinct convention (Sec. 174.025). If the Precinct Chair is unable to serve in this capacity, another eligible convention participant may take on the role (Sec. 174.025(b)). Instruction packets on running your precinct convention are provided by RPT prior to the convention. Also see Texas Election Code Chapter 174, Subchapter B.
SD/County Convention. Precinct Chairmen are encouraged to not only participate in their Senatorial District/County Convention (you must be elected at your precinct convention), but to volunteer to serve on one of the temporary convention committees (contact your County Chairman or Temporary District Convention Chairman who make these appointments).
State Convention. As grassroots leaders, a Precinct Chairman should try to get elected as a delegate to the State Convention at their Senatorial District/County Convention (you do NOT have to be a delegate at the SD/County Convention, but it often helps!). If you are interested in serving on a temporary convention committee, contact your SREC member who makes recommendations to the state chairman for appointments.
We’re all in this together
The important thing to remember about being a Precinct Chair is that you are not alone. Information, voting lists, supplies, etc. are available at the Denton County Republican Party Headquarters. Our more experienced Precinct Chairs are always there to assist you. There are also Area Leaders that provide help and leadership.
Precinct Chairs must be a resident of that precinct in order to qualify for a place on the ballot. Precinct Chairs are elected in the Republican Primary. If unopposed, they do not appear on the ballot, but are considered elected that day. If more than one person files for Precinct Chair, the voters of that precinct decide.
Want to be a Precinct Chair? Please fill out the application here when the filing period begins to be appointed.