Become a Precinct Committee Person (PCP)
“The precinct committee persons of the county shall constitute the county central committee of their party. The county central committee of each major political party is the highest party authority in county party matters and may adopt rules or resolutions for any matter of party government within the county which is not controlled by the laws of this state.”
You may remember that during the 2016 primaries, there was a lot of attention on local political parties and how they work. There was talk about the rules and procedures that were followed by parties at the local level, and many people grew more curious as to how those procedures came about.
In the state of Oregon, there is a representative position known as the Precinct Committee Person (PCP). The PCP is a large driving force in the organization of local parties. Precinct Committee Persons (or PCPs) are the entry-level officials of the Democratic Party of Oregon. They represent the people that live within their precinct to their county Democratic Party.
Each PCP is a voting member of the Central Committee in their county party, and the Central Committee in each county is authorized to make all decisions relating to its county party. As a Marion County Democrat PCP, you will be voting on official Party business such as candidate endorsements, Party resolutions, as well as electing county Party leadership and Platform Convention delegates.
A precinct is the smallest political unit in the country; it cannot be divided by a legislative, congressional, or supervisorial boundary. A PCP is a representative of the party within the precinct in which he or she resides (a PCP may also serve an adjacent precinct).
PCPs represent their neighbors while they debate and vote on the issues that come before the Central Committee. These issues may include resolutions, rule changes, platform planks and legislative agenda priorities. All PCPs may vote to elect the people that will, and in turn, represent them as members of the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Oregon. Elected PCPs may also vote to elect the officers of the Marion County Democrats at our biennial reorganizational meeting (in November of even years). Appointed PCPs are not allowed to vote during the reorganizational meeting.
Oregon’s election law authorizes one PCP for every 250 voters from each major political party for every precinct, depending on the size of the precinct. There is one PCP for every 250 voters, with a minimum of 2 PCPs per precinct. Party members may file for election as PCPs in May primary elections or may run as write-in candidates. Vacancies may be filled by appointment between elections at Central Committee Meetings.
At important times, each Marion County Democrats PCP should contact the voters in their assigned precinct, by phone or door to door. They should establish a personal relationship with the voters in their precinct, provide these voters with information on the Democratic Party and its candidates, and provide the Party and candidates with feedback from the voters.
Eligibility: To be eligible for the office of PCP, you must have a current, active voter registration in the State of Oregon, and you must have been a registered Democrat for at least 180 days in any state (with exceptions for voters who are applying within 180 days of their 18th birthday). The Marion County Elections Office will review and certify the eligibility of all persons seeking the role of PCP.
Elected PCPs and Appointed PCPs: There are two ways to become a PCP—election and appointment. Please note that elected PCPs have more rights than appointed PCPs: Only elected PCPs may vote to elect the officers of the Marion County Democrats during our Organizational Meeting in November of even years.
1. To be elected, you must file a candidacy online form (SEL-105) with the Secretary of State in advance of the May election in even-numbered years. (Note: Write-in candidacies are also possible for those who missed the SEL-105 submission deadline to appear on the May ballot). If you missed the deadline you will need to fill out the write-in candidacy online form (SEL-105D). The laws regarding write-in candidacies for PCP have changed in recent years. If you have more questions, you can contact our local Marion County Elections Office if a write-in PCP campaign is something you are considering.
2. PCPs can also be appointed outside of the even-year May elections. To be appointed, you can use one of the following options:
No. Any Democrat can volunteer for the Marion County Democrats. Many of our volunteers do not feel the need to participate in the Central Committee and instead contribute to the party by working on our committees, in our office, or on political campaigns. Learn more about other ways to get involved.