By Leigh Learing
Building connections with like-minded voters, and potential voters, throughout Greenville County is a year-round process for the Greenville County Democratic Party.
We should be continually identifying and reaching out to the neighbors in our precinct (or local voting district) who will support the Democratic Party ticket and candidates so that we have an accurate and functional sense of our political muscle. By continually strengthening the foundation of our precinct network, we’re then ready to jump into action whenever need arises and Get Out the Vote efforts during elections are much more efficient and effective.
One way to establish that foundation is through continual recruitment and training of precinct officers. While South Carolina’s Democratic Party precinct officers are elected every even-numbered year at our state mandated “Precinct Reorganization,” the GCDP can still fill holes in its leadership roster as volunteers present themselves. With 151 precincts in Greenville County, there are lots of positions to fill and lots of ways to help.
Officer recruitment takes many forms. Current officers can invite potential new officers to our Precinct Reorganization (the next one is in early 2022) and they can stand for election. Social media and newsletters such as The Bray can advertise the need for new officers. Curious attendees of our monthly breakfast can decide to get more involved in their own precincts.
Why be a precinct leader? Getting plugged into the Party at the precinct level gives you great insight into what’s important to your neighbors. You are the liaison between them and the GCDP. They’ll look to you as a resource for any election questions they may have. Not only can you answer questions about the election process (early voting start dates, absentee ballot requirements, poll locations, etc.), but you can also tell them why our candidates deserve their vote.
Speaking of candidates, precinct development encompasses candidate identification and recruitment as well. You might meet someone in your role as precinct officer who would be a great elected official. You could be the person who nudges them to run, especially if you can show them how strong support is in their own neighborhood.
You don’t have to know everything about your precinct or even the county Party to participate. Ongoing training for precinct officers teaches participants how to phone bank, canvass, register voters, and engage with their neighbors through community events such as HOA meetings, council meetings, etc. You just need to be willing to spread the word that Greenville County does have engaged Democrats who are determined to elect change agents committed to building a more equitable and responsive community, state, and nation.