A Precinct Committee Officer, or PCO, is the name for an office in the U.S. state of Washington that organizes a voting precinct for a political party. The PCO is one of the most grass-roots offices available. The PCO brings to the party organizations the concerns of the voters, and of the neighborhood. Conversely, the PCO provides a link between the voter and the legislative district and county organizations, disseminating information and providing assistance where needed to the voters of the precinct. In other states, this position is often called Precinct Captain.
Eligibility and Term
A person wishing to run for PCO on the Primary Ballot must file his or her declaration of candidacy with their county auditor for a specific party. The candidate need not be aregistered member of the party he or she is running for, but must live in that precinct. By State law (RCW 29A.80.51) to be declared elected, the separate party candidates for these offices must receive at least 10% of the number of votes cast for the candidate of his/her party that received the greatest number of votes in that precinct. PCOs are elected for two-year terms commencing first day of December following the primary.
An individual may be appointed to be the PCO in their precinct during the election season if there is nobody already serving. The Chair of the County Central Committee makes that appointment. In counties where the population is greater than 1 million, currently only King County, the Chair of the Legislative District must make a recommendation to the County Chair, usually by having the members of their district organization vote to “elect” the PCO.
An individual may also be appointed to be the “Acting” PCO in a precinct where they do not reside. Their first responsibility is to find someone within that precinct who is willing to be appointed to the role and then run in the next Primary election.
- Informing their precinct of their party’s candidates
- Registering new voters
- Identifying party members
- Recommending poll workers
- “Get out the vote” campaigns
- Holding/leading a precinct caucus every spring of a presidential election year
- Attending legislative district party meetings