By Laura Haight and Regina Waldrep
We live in communities, neighborhoods, towns, and when we vote, we vote in our communities with our neighbors. Those communities are the heart of political activism and organizing. For the GCDP, they are called precincts.
“All politics is local” is a phrase most closely associated with the 47th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tip O’Neil (1977 to 1987). Precincts are the grassroots of a political party and comprise the voters that shape it from the bottom up. The more robust and better organized at a local level it is, the more representative a party is at a national level. Precincts comprise delegates and party representatives and help develop the party platform. From coast to coast, all voters are organized and mobilized on a local precinct level first.
Every two years as codified in South Carolina election law, Democrats come together to elect new leadership and discuss and approve resolutions about our values and goals that we hope will be reflected in the state and national party platforms.
This year, reorganization takes place on Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to noon, and you are invited – encouraged – to attend. It’s an important part of our efforts to elect more Democrats up and down the ballot and, eventually, turn SC blue again.
Whether you are elected as a precinct officer or just come to learn more about what the GCDP is about, your active engagement is integral to our success.
If you’re wondering what a precinct officer does, here’s a quick rundown:
Precinct organizers in Greenville County knock on doors, share information about candidates, legislation, and events, welcome and register new voters, and ask neighbors to vote. Currently in Greenville County, there are 151 precincts and nearly 250 precinct officers.
In 2017, the GCDP developed an approach to organize, educate, and mobilize precincts. Precincts were divided into clusters, a small group of geographically contiguous precincts. A cluster leader oversees each cluster and is a liaison to party leadership. Precinct cluster leaders and individual precinct officers work together to recruit volunteers, knock on doors, and get voters to the polls. The primary goal is to connect with voters to let them know that the GCDP is active. We want all local Democrats to know that there is a place at the table for them.
In addition, GCDP’s precinct leaders regularly come together to organize, plan, volunteer, and support each other. Currently, precinct networking lunches and coffees take place throughout the county. Volunteers are further connected through social media and meet to collaborate.Learn more about precincts in Greenville County and about this year’s reorganization on our website.