PCO Handbook - Introductions

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Grass roots organization is the cornerstone of the Democratic Party. The Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) is the source of that organization. In order to "put people first", there must be a conduit for communication between the individual voter, his/her community, and the government elected to serve them.

As the backbone of the Democratic Party, the PCO forms the foundation of the party structure and is the single most important individual within the party organization. The PCO is instrumental in identifying and recruiting volunteers who will support the party and its candidates. Every candidate depends on the skills of the PCOs within the jurisdiction of the office for which he or she is seeking election. A successful PCO can be a pivotal influence in the election of a candidate or the passage of a crucial measure.

In chosing to become a Precinct Committee Officer, you have chosen to get involved. You have decided to take an active role in your neighborhood, your state and your country. The purpose of this handbook is to explain the Democratic Party structure, and to provide you with ideas and suggestions on how you can become an effective and successful PCO.

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Letter from Paul Berendt, State Democratic Chair


You are the foundation of our Party.

Upon your shoulders as a Precinct Committee Officer rests the entire structure of the Democratic Party. If you prefer the traditional term, you are the ultimate grassroots organizing base for all our activities.

We hope that this Handbook will become a resource as you organize your precinct and develop the foundations of a big victory in your area ... which will contribute to a big victory in the state ... which will lead to a big victory at the national level.

It all begins with you.

By stepping forward to organize your precinct, you have given the most important commitment a Democrat can make. You have taken responsibility for delivering each and every Democratic vote in your precinct on Election Day.

Before you can get those votes to the polls, you have a lot of groundwork to lay. You have to get to know your neighbors, determine if they are Democrats, Republicans, or independent. You must educate the undecided or "swing" voters about the Democratic candidates and the Democratic message.

You must register any Democrat in your precinct that is not currently registered to vote, and you must ask all Democrats who do not have a perfect voting record to become an absentee ballot holder.

It is your responsibility to attend meetings, help your Party and candidates raise money and find volunteers. You must remain up to date on current events, especially as they relate to election issues in your area.

There is so much to do, but do it you must for Democrats to win elections in your district.

We've designed this PCO Handbook to show you how to move beyond the basics of being a Precinct Committee Officer, and to make substantial contributions to our main purpose in politics - electing Democrats.

Thank you for your commitment!


Paul Berendt
State Party Chair

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This document was transcribed for the Web in June, 2003 by Chad Lupkes, a volunteer in Precinct SEA 46-2324
Content is © 1995 by the Washington State Democrats' Chair Organization.
The text of this document was last updated on June 25, 1995
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