It's a tiny political office that most anybody can run for. PCOs are like local representatives of Democracy, for your neighborhood. They serve for two year terms, and help administer and steer Democracy at a hyper-local level, within your voter precinct.
Precincts are small-ish divisions of land, usually encompassing a few hundred voters. Because of differences in population density, precincts are much smaller in the cities compared to more rural areas. Washington has 7,354 of 'em, here's what they all look like together:
Becoming a PCO means one of those precincts is your turf! And it's your job to get voters in your precinct engaged and participating in democracy. But you'll get some help — your local Democratic Party can set you up for success with training and materials, and you can appoint neighbors to help you out and share the work load, too.
Being a PCO also comes with a few special privileges. It's a fairly small commitment, with a huge impact on your local community, by boosting voter turnout, keeping your neighbors engaged with legislative happenings in Olympia, and making their voices heard.
Looking to learn more about how to be an effective PCO? Check out the Washington Democratic PCO Handbook for more information.
Glad you asked — here's five great reasons to file for PCO:
We often talk about the need for our elected officials to represent us, and that holds true at all levels. Not everybody can run for President, the highest level, but anybody can sign up to be a leader in their neighborhood.
When more people participate in the process — and when our elected officials at all levels truly reflect the will of the people — the people win.
PCOs are the voting body of your local Democratic Party organization, at both a county and legislative district level. Among other things, this means that PCOs elect the officials of many local Democratic organizations, including:
Additionally, PCOs vote to fill vacancies in partisan offices. For example, if a state legislator suddenly resigns, passes away, etc., it's the PCOs who get together to elect and appoint their successor!
This one of the bigger responsibilities of being a PCO, and it only happens once every four years.
PCOs are the de-facto chairs of Washington's Presidential Precinct caucuses. (But don't worry, you can even hand off this duty to someone else if public speaking isn't your favorite thing!)
Historically, less than half of precincts even have a PCO, so your odds of running unopposed and winning are pretty high. (And if someone does run against you, you get your name printed on the official voting ballot! You're famous!)
Just fill out a form to declare yourself, and you're in the running.
As PCO, your voter precinct is your dominion. These can be as small as a few city blocks in urban areas, or much larger out in rural areas. Get a lay of your land with this precinct lookup:
Only 53 days to go!
You will need to get your declaration in during Filing Week — not any sooner, and not any later. Sign up for a reminder and we will notify you once it's time to file!
Your best move right now is to signup for reminders, and we'll notify you once filing week gets here — on Monday, Wednesday, then one last call on Friday.
File your candidacy online
You will file online with your county elections department. We'll have links for filing online with each county, right here once filing week arrives. (And, if you sign up for a reminder, we'll send you a personal link right to your mailbox!) — the whole thing takes five minutes.
Once you file, you are in the running! And one of two things happens from here:
If someone does run against you, then it's the voters in your precinct who will be voting for you. In order to win, you'll need to make your case on why you're the best fit from the job. But historically speaking, it's more likely you'll run unopposed and win the thing.
Awesome of you to join the troops! You are doing your part in making sure elected officers reflect the will of the people.
We are just getting started, but already we have 3 PCO candidates committed to filing, and we want to fill this map up:
With your help, we can do it. Are you ready to join? Sign up for a reminder so you can add your precinct to the map!
Also, please share FileForPCO with your friends so we can fill up the map!