General Guidelines, Sponsored by the Political Education Division, Republican National Committee

The duty of the precinct leader (precinct comitteeman/woman or precinct chairman) is to identify Republican and Republican-leaning voters within the precinct, persuade the undecided and make sure all Republican votes are cast at the polls on Election Day

Elections are won at the local level by acquiring one vote at a time. Therefore, the precinct leader is probably the most important volunteer political activist in the Party.


  1. Identify and register all Republicans in the precinct
  2. Canvass the precinct to identify all favorable voters.
  3. Recruit and train volunteers to help do the job.
  4. Organize the precinct by blocks.
  5. Distribute literature and information on Republican candidates, election procedures and election laws.
  6. Hold a precinct caucus.
  7. Provide for ballot security on Election Day.
  8. Serve as the Republican Party's year-round liaison in the precinct.


The precinct card file is the most valuable and essential tool used by a precinct leader.

It is the tool used by the poll watchers at the polls, so it must contain a card for every voter listed on the computer printout of registered voters in the precinct. It provides a list of favorable voters. It provides important information for registration canvass, volunteers, block workers, poll watchers, absentee ballot requests, [advance ballot applications], and get-out-the-vote projects.

To set up a file card, the precinct leader will need a precinct map, latest precinct printout of registered voters, file cards, absentee ballot applications [advance ballot applications], knowledge of registration locations.


With the help of volunteer block workers, walk or drive past every residence in the precinct and write down all of the residence addresses on the precinct map. Doing this first is very important. Because should information from the precinct printout be entered on the file cards first, then the most important targets may be overlooked - that is - unregistered voters who are Republicans and Unaffiliated voters who lean Republican.

Enter each address at the top of a separate file card.

Enter the precinct number in the upper right-hand corner of each card.

Write the name and address of each person listed on the printout.

After each name on each card indicate "Registered" and show party affiliation (if the state registers by party) like this:

R for Republican
D for Democrat
U for Unaffiliated

In the upper right hand corner of each card, enter the telephone number for that residence. It may be necessary to look these up.

Arrange the cards in any sequence most convenient. For example, put all the cards with even numbered addresses on each street behind one divider, all the cards with odd numbered addresses on each street behind another divider; then put the various divisions in alphabetical order by street name.

A second set of cards alphabetized by name is useful for poll watchers and the Get-Out-The-Vote effort.

Each time the county elections department issues a new voter registration precinct printout, update the card file.

The purpose of a canvass is to find and register all unregistered Republicans in the precinct, to find registered Unaffiliates who lean Republican, to recruit more volunteers to help with precinct work, to locate favorable voters who request absentee ballots, to complete the card file.

Equipment needed to accomplish the above includes precinct card file, a supply of blank cars, absentee ballot applications, [advance ballot applications], and volunteers to work each block.

Telephone the persons on the cards who are registered Republican. Ask if there are other Republicans in the household who are not registered. If there are, offer information on how to register to vote and deadline for registration. Ask if anyone there will need an absentee ballot. If so, explain the application process. Try to recruit them as volunteers.


  1. Thank all people who have helped organize the precinct. Thank them verbally and in writing. Give their names to candidates who may also wish to add their appreciation.
  2. See to it that volunteers are invited to victory celebrations.
  3. Critique the precinct organization and make notes for improvement for future elections.
  4. The precinct leader continues to participate in county party activities. Keep in touch with block workers and voters in the precinct, as they will be needed in future elections.

The Republican National Committee's Precinct Leaders Handbook offers a more detailed accounting of the duties of the precinct leaders, including sample telephone conversations and the poll watchers program. The handbook costs $4 and may be obtained from the Republican National Committee, Political Education Division, 310 First St., SE, Washington, D.C., 20003.

Note: There is no date on the above document, and I would guess that it is rather old. The address above may also be outdated. I would suggest calling the State Party Office for your Party to inquire about how to obtain further information.