What is a PCO?
The backbone of our local political organizations are our volunteer neighborhood organizers, our “Precinct Committee Officers” (PCOs). The neighborhood they serve (their “precinct”) may include just one apartment complex, a few city blocks or (in more rural areas) a small watershed. The voters in each precinct are voting on the same candidates and issues. The PCOs share information about candidates and ballot measures with their neighbors, and also share their neighbor’s thoughts with local elected representatives and political organizations. PCO candidates file for office during May and, if more than one candidate files, are elected by their precinct’s voters during the August primary.
PCOs are unpaid volunteers, but they automatically receive free membership in the Democratic Party organizations in their legislative district and county. Democratic party PCOs elect the Chairs and officers of their local organizations, vote to decide which issues their organizations support (or oppose), and vote to endorse candidates. Even more critically, whenever a state legislator retires before the end of their term the PCOs of that district select the replacement. Many currently-serving state representatives and senators were first elected by the PCOs of their district to fill a vacant seat.
Our local Democratic Party meetings offer fantastic opportunities to interview candidates, question elected representatives, and debate critical issues facing our community. Once decisions are reached, the PCOs are the volunteers who contact Democratic voters in their neighborhood to explain which specific candidates and issues are supported (or opposed) by the local Democratic party organization.
It’s not surprising that many elected representatives- including Senator Patty Murray!- started as PCOs. If you’re considering running for elected office then serving as a PCO offers you “on the job” training in canvassing and listening to voters in your community, and an excellent opportunity to work with and learn from Democrats who are also passionate about local politics.
A Call to Mobilize!
Democracy works when we show up. Do you believe in a government of, by and for the people? Do you want to elect representatives who will bring your issues and voice to the table? Run for PCO, join our local organizations, meet the candidates, debate the issues, and work with us to win elections!
2022 Filing Information for Precinct Committee Officers:
Online Tutorial for Filing as a PCO:
2022 Filing Information for Precinct Committee Officers Resources:
King County Democrats is in the process of adding a searchable list of vacant and staffed precincts to our website.
King County Elections has the following resources available :
- “Find My Districts” mapping application
- 2022 Filing Information for Precinct Committee Officer (Complete candidate Manual for PCOs)
- How to file as a PCO candidate (1-page handout about filing)
- “How toFile” video
Online candidate filing runs from May 16, 2022 9:00am continuously through May 20, 2022, 4pm. King County Elections will accept mailed candidate forms as of May 2nd (forms received before May 2nd will be returned to the candidate). King County accepts forms delivered in person from 8:30am through 4:30 pm, May 16th through May 20th.
New this year! A 17-year-old who will turn 18 by or before the August primary can file to run for PCO! The candidate must be a registered voter in the precinct and be at least 18 years old by August 2, 2022.
If you would like to learn more please reach out us at: firstname.lastname@example.org