Precinct Chair Training, Part 1

Building and Training Your Precinct Team

Prepared by the Precinct Chair Recruitment Committee of the Bexar County Democratic Party

Introduction Building your precinct team
Training your precinct team

Fast forward to Part 2: Using the Voter Activation Network (VAN)
Fast forward to Part 3: Precinct Convention Training

Bexar County precinct statistics
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) Strategy
Why do we use targeting?

The Voter Identification Matrix

The Voter Identification Matrix
  • Don't target for persuation or GOTV:
A.  People who will never vote
B.  People who always vote Republican
C.  People who always vote, and always vote Democratic
  • Do target:
D.  Swing voters who always vote (for persuasion)
E.  Democrats who only vote sometimes (for GOTV)
F.  Swing voters who only vote sometimes (second persuasion)
  • Every voter can be placed on this tic-tac-toe grid.
  • The rows on the left, "always/sometimes/never vote" can be provided by the party database, the Voter Activation Network (VAN).
  • As you canvass your precinct, always ask voters whether they intend to vote.  Record that information.
  • The columns at the top can be provided by VAN in some cases.
  • As you canvass your precinct, always ask voters whether they vote Democratic, or Republican, or for the candidate regardless of the party.  Record that information.

Why we know this will work

Map of battleground states in 2004

The states shown in yellow were "battleground" states in the 2004 presidential election.

With 10 more Democratic votes in every precinct

With ten more votes per precinct, John Kerry would have won New Mexico, Iowa, and Ohio.
Ohio alone would have been enough to win the Presidency.
Imagine how much different the country would have been with Kerry the past 4 years instead of Bush!

With 50 more Democratic votes per precinct

With fifty more votes per precinct, Kerry also would have won in Nevada,
Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia and Florida.

With 100 more votes per precinct

With a hundred more Democratic votes per precinct, he would have won in Arizona,
 Kansas, South Dakota, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

This year, as unpopular as the Republicans have been, we think even Texas can become a Democratic state once again.

The Precinct Chair: a challenging role
  1. Represent the precinct as voting member of the County Executive Committee (CEC)*
  2. Serve the Democratic Party
  3. Provide voters with candidate and party information
  4. Canvass the precinct**
  5. Register new voters
  6. Initiate the precinct convention
  7. Get Out the Vote (GOTV)
*Precinct coordinators do all of the above but cannot vote on the CEC until they complete a Precinct Chair application and are approved by a majority quorum at the monthly CEC meeting.
**VAN accounts are not available for Precinct Coordinators.  However, the party office can assist by providing blockwalking lists.

Building Your Precinct Team

First, get to know your precinct
  • Know your precinct map:   (Put your own precinct number in place of "1001")
  • Know the number of registered voters (from the Bexar County Democratic Party website)
  • Know the number of Democratic Voters (from the BCDP website)
  • Know the number of Republican Voters (from the BCDP website)
  • Estimate the number of unregistered voters
  • Survey your precinct's most important issues
Set a goal for the size of your precinct team
  • Determine the number of voters per team member
  • Determine the number of geographical partitions for your precinct
  • The more team members you have, the less workload that will be on each team member
Determine the number of voters per team member
  • The greater the number of precinct team members, the fewer voters each team member will manage.
Determine the number of geographical partitions for your precinct

1.Precinct map divided into partitions
  • With four team members splitting up the area of responsibility, the precinct becomes much more manageable.
Find your precint team
  • Start at home: recruit your family members.
  • Include friends, neighbors, members of your church.
  • Find recruits at your precinct convention.
  • Include community leaders who live in your precinct.
  • Find members of local Democratic organizations who live in your precinct (
  • Find people through the Voter Activation Network (VAN)
  • Include union members.
  • Find out what contacts the Bexar County Democratic Party (BCDP) office has who live in your precinct.
Precinct team building contact methods
  • Phone
  • E-mail
  • Mail
  • Blockwalking
  • Party or social event invitation
Some local Democratic organizations (For updates, visit
  • Bexar County Tejano Democrats (Charlie Urbina-Jones, chair)
  • Bexar County Texas Democratic Women (Ruth Stewart, president)
  • College Democrats of UTSA (James Gill, president)
  • Democratic Leadership Council (Connie DeLuna, chair)
  • New Era Democrats (Ann FitzGibbons and Robert Wurzbach, co-chairs)
  • Northeast Bexar County Democrats (John Courage, chair)
  • Northwest Democrats (Joyce Dorrycott, chair)
  • Bexar County Young Democrats (Jessica Ramos, president)
  • Southside Democrats (Gina Castañeda, chair)
  • Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio (Roberto Flores and Lynne Armstrong, co-chairs)
  • Trinity University College Democrats (Maxwell Fisher, president)
  • Eastside Democrats  NEW!
Precinct organization
  • Assign geographic areas of the precinct to your team members
Organizational chart for precinct team

Precinct organization by tasks

Keep track of who is on your team

Training Your Precinct Team

Schedule a team training session soon as soon as you can (after the March primary)
Explain the Voter Identification Matrix (see above)
Precinct canvassing
Record the canvassing information
Timeline of precinct chair duties
Candidate signs (starting in August)
Campaign sign laws

How to get campaign signs
Get Out the Vote effort (September and October)
The Precinct Convention (March 2010)
Thank you for working for democracy!