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Precinct Organizing

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The orientation & handbook
The orientation & handbook
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Precinct Organizing

  1. 1. Starting in your own backyard
  2. 2. What is a “Precinct?” • Also known as ‘Electoral Districts’, ‘Towns’ or ‘Wards’ • All voters have the same ballot and elected officials • Have a set number of voters • Have continuous boundaries
  3. 3. What is a “Precinct?” Smallest administrative electoral unit Nation State District County Precinct
  4. 4. Campaigning and Party Building • Two types of precinct organizing – Campaign precinct organizing – Neighborhood precinct organizing or party building • Different goals & strategies • Both are important
  5. 5. Campaign Precinct Organizing • Short term: June through November of election years • Organized by campaign staff • Focused on winning a particular election • Centered around a candidate Campaign Organizing Strengths 1. Professionally staffed 2. Controlled message 3. Access to campaign resources (media, volunteers, etc)
  6. 6. Neighborhood Precinct Organizing • Long term: Not limited by election calendar • Focused on long range goals • Organized by local volunteers Neighborhood Organizing Strengths 1. Familiarity 2. Continuity 3. Access to community resources
  7. 7. A Mutually Beneficial Partnership Campaigns This • Bring an influx of money helps… and people • Get new people involved locally Neighborhood Precinct Organizations • Create a permanent Which volunteer pool benefits… • Build institutional knowledge about an area
  8. 8. Get Started • Know the players • Know the rules • Know the numbers • Set your goals
  9. 9. Know the Players • Existing precinct leaders • Local party officials • Local elected officials • Active local campaigns • Community leaders
  10. 10. Do the research • Election dates • Important deadlines • Precinct maps and boundaries • Polling locations • Party rules and by-laws
  11. 11. Know the Numbers • Voter registration • Voter turnout • Democratic performance • Other demographic info • Individual voter history
  12. 12. The Voter File • Voter File vs. Voter Roll • Usually available through the county or state party • Contains voter contact info and voting history • More effective if updated frequently
  13. 13. Setting Your Goals • Important first step – Focuses and motivates volunteers – Helps develop strategies, tactics and timelines – Helps gain institutional party support • Potential goals – Increase Democratic voter registration X% – Increase Democratic Performance X% – Get X% of district voters to vote early – Build a community of party activists
  14. 14. Setting Your Goals Goal: Raise the Democratic Performance of my district from 20% to 33% Current Goal Registered Voters 1000 1050 Registered 300 350 Democrats Total precinct 500 600 turnout Total D Turnout 100 200 Democratic 20% 33% performance
  15. 15. Good Advice The only way I know how to organize people is to talk to one person, then talk to another person, then talk to another person… --César Chávez
  16. 16. Making a List First: Relational - Family, Friends, Neighbors • Start close to home — literally • Friends, co-workers, neighbors • Utilize social networks – The best recruiters are current volunteers Primary Motivation: Personal ties to the one asking
  17. 17. Making a List: Second: The Voter File • Contact info & voting history of your precinct • Which strangers on your block vote in every election? • Which ones vote in Democratic Primaries? • Bulk of your list Primary Motivation: Sense of civic or partisan duty
  18. 18. Making a List: Third: Public Displays of Affiliation • Look for signs, stickers, statements • Displays political passions publicly • Caution: It’s easier to wear a button than to act on it Primary Motivation Passion for an issue or candidate
  19. 19. Let’s Get Together • Community is about face time – See each other – See the context – See the plan • Invite your list over – Lit drop invitations to your list – Call to follow up – Informal, intimate, neighborly setting to gather
  20. 20. Delegate! • Invest your team members into the plan Common Precinct Roles • Ask each person for an • Block Captain individual commitment • Data Director • Research Director • People can take on • Early Vote Coordinator multiple roles • Poll Captain • Social Chair • Everyone belongs to a block team
  21. 21. Always Be Recruiting Build volunteer recruitment into all your precinct activities – Canvassing – Socials – Conduct new recruitment drives every 6 months
  22. 22. Keep Them Coming Back • Your team is valuable — Let them know! • Always provide the context for any action • Specific tasks and clear goals • Keep it social, keep it fun Remember what motivated them to come the first time.

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