What is a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO)?
A Precinct Committee Officer is the elected official that represents the voters of a precinct within a major political party in the State of Washington. By state law, the PCO is the highest elected party official. Candidates must run for the office representing a party. Each precinct elects one PCO for each major political party during the primary election held in even years. Once elected, they serve two-year terms. In December following the election, the political party structure and leadership is literally organized by the newly elected PCOs. They form the party central committee, which is like a board of directors.
What should a PCO do?
The primary job of the PCO is to attend and participate in the organization meeting in the December following their election. Their secondary responsibility is to host the precinct caucus, a mini-convention in every neighborhood that holds the power to choose the party Nominee for President. In recent years, that secondary responsibility has generally been lost to Republican party leadership.
What is a Precinct?
A precinct is the smallest geographical “neighborhood,” on the political map. All voters in a precinct are in the same city, same legislative district, and same congressional district. A precinct must be physically contiguous and contain less than 1,500 voters. Washington State’s precincts, in 2012, averaged 455 registered voters each although they can be as small as a single building in Seattle or an entire town in more rural areas.
Why haven't I seen the PCO on my ballot or in my voter guide before?
The vast majority of PCO seats go unfilled. Only a few thousand have candidates file and only a few hundred are contested across the state. Due to cost saving measures passed in 2012, uncontested PCO races do not appear on the ballot. PCO is also not considered a public office, so it does not appear in the local voter guide.
Which parties have PCOs?
There are currently two political parties legally defined as “major” in Washington State: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. In 2000, the Libertarian Party attained major party status in Washington, but lost it in the 2004 election.
I am currently the PCO for my precinct, do I need to take any action?
Yes! Your current term expires this year. Incumbent Precinct Committee Officers are not automatically up for re-election. You must complete a Declaration of Candidacy every even year if you wish to continue to hold the office.
Why is PCO Revolution involved?
We are a group of loosely affiliated political activists, with sad experience in the Republican Party. We don’t agree on all the issues, but we know, by experience, that the “GOP” is being manipulated by its current Establishment leadership to silence the voice of the grassroots. We are working together to ensure fair, transparent elections and a political party structure that obeys the grassroots rather than a top leadership that uses their contributions to thwart their goals.
Who is the Establishment?
The Establishment is defined by The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable as “A group in a society exercising power and influence over matters of policy or taste, and seen as resisting change.”
The Establishment is defined not by time of service or length with an organization, it is defined by a culture and way of doing things. The primary concern of the Republican Establishment is the preservation and accumulation of their own power, not winning elections to advance the political philosophy continually expressed in Republican Platforms when adopted by open debate and majority vote. This Establishment control of our elections is largely responsible for the oppressive government, economic decay, and rigged political system we suffer through today.
Are there any other similar organizations?
Yes! There is also the PCOLiberty Alliance in Clark County. There is no affiliation between the two groups.
Who is behind PCO Revolution?
Everyone involved in our group is both a registered voter in the State of Washington and an incumbent PCO or candidate for PCO. There is no secret campaign office in Florida and we haven’t received any out of state donations. We are local, grassroots political activists trying to make a difference.
That didn't answer my question. Why are you hiding?
Unfortunately, the current Republican Party leadership has a history of retaliating against anyone who exposes the truth about them. In the past they have taken actions including, but not limited to: withholding meeting locations, denying admission or voting rights to duly elected delegates, confiscating balloting material, shutting down meetings, and vicious slanders. For example, the 37th district was once forced to relocate a meeting outside after the party's preselected chairperson failed to be elected as the chairperson for the meeting. The same thing the King County Republican Party claims about unions applies here: “Considering [their] long history of collusion and intimidation tactics, fearing the consequences of publicly speaking out against leaders is an all too sad reality of ... membership.” To avoid further targeted retaliation, we'd rather not publish a list of our leadership at this time.
Don't you have to report your campaign finances?
Our actions are protected by the First amendment to the United States constitution and Article 1 Section 5 of the Washington State constitution. Please see RCW 42.17A.200 for the state law explicitly exempting our campaign: “The provisions of this chapter relating to the financing of election campaigns shall apply in all election campaigns other than (1) for precinct committee officer;” For more information, please contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: PCO Revolution, PO BOX 391, Seattle, WA 98111.