I went to a Grassroots 101 session with the Dallas County Democratic Party, and they had some excellent info. If you get the chance to hit a local party meeting, I seriously encourage you to do it.
Don’t have time for the full article? Just read this:
- Local, local, local. The efforts to reach officials in Washington and in state capitals are important. Efforts at the local level are at least as important.
- Voting efforts will change the country. And local efforts – at the precinct and county level – is where we’ll make a difference, in voter registration, accessibility to polls, and more.
- Get in touch with your county Democratic party. Attend one of their events. Throw your weight behind the movement. They’ll have a place for you.
First things first…
I don’t know how much of this is Texas specific, so bear that in mind.
This part was wonderful: Usually the year after a presidential election is kind of an “off year” for the parties, but this year they’ve been inundated with calls and emails saying “This is outrageous, how do I get involved?” This makes me happy.
Disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything the Dems say and do, but then, I don’t agree with everything ANY group does. I’m putting my support with the Democrats because we’re largely aligned in purpose and philosophy, and because I believe they’re the best chance we have of putting the country back together.
Quick overview of Democratic party
The purpose of the party is to coordinate campaigns, fundraise, run events, negotiate polling locations, make polls accessible, etc.
- At the top is the Democratic National Committee.
- Under that are the state parties, like the Texas Democratic Party. They’re the governing body for the county parties.
- The county parties are your local contact for voting efforts and more. The Dallas County Democratic Party has the county executive committee (which include precinct chairs and committees), the voting body, staff, interns, and volunteers.
Country political territories
A precinct is the lowest division of territory for a state and county. Dallas county, for example, has 797 precincts. Precincts stay the same; they’re not redistricted all the time. Each precinct should have a precinct chair, but you can’t always get one. The precinct chair organizes the precinct, gets to know the people there, and try to increase voter turnout for their party.
There are several types of districts, like congressional districts (which allow us to vote for a representative in the House). The US has 435 congressional districts.
Each state, of course, has a number of counties. (Texas has 254.) Each county should have a Democratic and a Republican party local to it, but not all of them do. (But I bet the state party would be happy to help you start one at the county level!) Again, the county parties are your local contact for voting efforts.
“Operation Blue is a new project centered around voter registration, getting out the vote in the May 6 Municipal Election, sending out vote-by-mail applications and following up with those voters to make sure they’ve received their ballots, and resisting “President” Trump and the Texas GOP.” – Operation Blue
This is definitely Texas-centric, but again…the principles of getting out the vote, of getting people used to voting now, apply to the whole country.
The important points are: voter registration, block walks, vote by mail phone banks, and resistance.
There were more speakers that talked about running grassroots efforts, being involved in resistance groups, and more.
One of the biggest notes I pulled out of the event was this note from an Indivisible speaker (paraphrased):
Want to oppose Devos? Get involved in your school board! They control the money.
Do you oppose immigration raids? Go to the local police department and county sherriff. Tell them not to detain immigrants.
I’ll say it one more time: find your county party and hit up a meeting! Get involved at the local level.