Precinct Committee Officers, or PCO’s, serve as the grass-roots link between voters in their precincts and the political party organizations.
The PCO brings to the party organizations the concerns of the voters, and of the neighborhood. The PCO also provides a link between the voter and the legislative district and county organizations, providing information and assistance where needed to the voters of the precinct and encourage voter participation.
The county or state central committee determines the specific duties and responsibilities
Do you have complaints about how the Republican Party establishment is run? Are you tired of the party being more interested in electing moderate or liberty Republicans “In Name Only” (RINOs) just because they have an R beside their name, rather than promoting conservative legislation or following the platform? Republican and Democratic Party officials in the state of Washington are elected by PCOs, who in turn are elected by voters in their precinct. Most people do not know what a PCO is, and even fewer people run. In most precincts, PCO candidates run unopposed (often asked to run by the establishment party officials). In many districts, NO ONE runs for a PCO position. This is a way that JUST BY SHOWING UP you could make a big difference in party politics.
What Can a PCO do to effect change?
1. Select Republican and Democratic Party Leadership. The PCOs of the county elect the leadership of the county Republican or Democratic Party just after the general election in November during the “Reorganization meetings” for each county. In turn, the top officials of each county elect the state Republican Party leadership. If we have enough PCO’s elected in at least 20 counties in the state, like the grassroots did in Spokane county in 2008, the grassroots will then have a loud voice in holding Republicans accountable for only paying lip service to the platform, and elect real limited government proponents to the national committee.
2. Select replacement candidates. Under Washington state law, the PCO plays a vital part in selecting replacements for retiring public officials. When an elected official from one party steps down before the next election and that person’s constituents reside in one county, the PCOs of that county (comprising the County Central Committee) select the interim replacement. Often, to control who has an advantage in taking over a seat, the party establishment will coax the state official into retiring a little early so that a hand-picked candidate can replace him or her so that that person has the advantage of incumbency in the next election. If we elect principled grassroots PCOs, we can insure that principled candidates are selected and prevent RINOs from gaining the advantage of incumbency.
3. Get an extra voice on Presidential elections. PCOs get an automatic bid to the county caucuses to select the Presidential candidates in 2012. They also get to be chair of the precinct caucuses to ensure a fair selection process. By getting liberty-minded PCOs in office, we can better insure that good presidential candidates (i.e. not John McCain) are represented in the Washington state caucus delegate selection process.
Responsibilities of a PCO:
The most important responsibility is to show up at the reorganization meeting and vote in candidates that will truly represent the grassroots. In fact, the establishment two years ago was known to call up people and tell them just to put their name on the ballot so conservatives did not get elected. Many of these did not even show up to the reorganization meeting. Also, you should show up to the presidential caucuses to help select the nominee. While a lot of PCOs only do these above-mentioned responsibilities, if you really want to make a difference in restoring power to the grassroots, we would encourage you to (1) canvas members of your constituents to see what they think on various issues, (2) help campaign for like-minded candidates of your party, (3) encourage conservatives to register and turn-out on election day, and (4) help monitor elections in your county auditor’s office. These are technically things all PCOs should be doing, but few actually participate in. Getting involved in these activities, whether one is a PCO or not, effects change at the grassroots level. People power DOES make a difference, when people get involved. PCOs that are active are also much more likely to be re-elected.
How do I become a PCO?
1. Fill out a PCO form identifying your precinct and the party you want to represent and return to a grassroots organizer, who will turn it in to the county auditor’s office. Click here to locate your precinct.
2. If you are running opposed for the August 17th election and want to insure your chances of winning, hand out fliers in your neighborhood supporting yourself, and a panel of like-minded candidates.
3. Hold an initiative event in your neighborhood to be identified as someone making a difference.