The filing period began Tuesday and continues through Dec. 9 for people who are interesting in applying to become a precinct chair, touted by Democrats and Republican leaders as the backbone of the political parties.
“They are elected representatives of their precinct. Their basic goal as an arm of the party itself is to reach out to various people in the precinct to register them and keep them informed,” said Phyllis Wolper, Denton County Democratic Party chairwoman.
Sandy Swan, a precinct chairwoman for a couple of years now, said she jumped at the chance to become one of the 51 Democratic Party precinct chairs because of the importance of participation in the voting process.
“It’s the heart of our democracy and I just wanted to make sure that was done,” she said.
Dianne Edmondson, head of the Denton County Republican Party, said party members can file at the September and October executive meetings.
“They are considered to be the political expert in their precinct,” she said. “Their job is to help maximize the vote for Republican candidates in that precinct. We give them all the support and training to be effective.”
The Republican Party currently has 107 chairs out of 145 possible. Edmondson said some of those precincts do not have voters in them and that no one can ever get 145 chairs, but her party will have a great majority of them, as the party is talking daily to possible candidates for vacant precincts.
Kelly Sayre, a fairly new precinct chairman, said there is a lot of phone work and walking involved with the job.
“Each of those precinct chairs will have close to 3,000 to 4,000 voters, and obviously, that is a big job keeping up with them — a lot of walking to canvass the precincts and find out what people are thinking and answer any questions they may have,” Sayre said.
Wolper said that anyone thinking about service as a precinct chair, regardless of party affiliation, should remember they are not alone.
“I highly encourage anyone to consider service to their precinct — to represent their neighbors within the party structure as well as add an element of leadership to a neighborhood group,” she said. “It really is very local: your town, your neighborhood. It is vital to assist your friends and neighbors in being part of the political process.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.