By V. Susan Hutchinson
It is no secret that the 2020 elections will be the most important in many years, perhaps even in our lifetime, and if you are fed up and ready to help elect Democrats locally, statewide, and in Washington, DC, you have a great opportunity to get involved.
It’s a process with the clunky name, “Precinct Reorganization,” but it’s when Democrats come together to elect officers from each voting precinct, as well as identify those who want to run as delegates to the county and state Democratic Party conventions. Any Democrat of voting age in Horry County can, and is strongly encouraged to, attend.
This year HCDP will hold precinct reorganization on March 14 when precincts will meet at various Cluster Locations. Everyone planning to attend must know his or her precinct name before the precinct reorganization date so they can be sure they are in the correct location. To verify you are registered to vote, and check your precinct name, go to scvotes.org.
Participants should start arriving at their designated cluster location at 9:30 am. The meeting must start at 10am so be prompt.
Precinct Reorganization is mandated by the South Carolina Democratic Party (SCDP) and is intended to organize Democrats at the grass roots level. The Democratic party communicates with voters to motivate them and relay their needs back to HCDP and, as appropriate, SCDP, through Precinct Officers.
Please note that if you want to be considered as a delegate to the DNC National Convention in 2020 you must vote in the Presidential Primary February 29, attend Precinct Reorganization and be a delegate to both County and State Conventions.
Precinct Reorganization Basics
During Mid-Term and Presidential Election years, every county in South Carolina meets at the same date and time for Precinct Reorganization. The date and time are set by the SCDP with local counties responsible for determining locations. Meeting dates and times must be made public well in advance to encourage participation from every precinct. HCDP will be providing updated information through its e-newsletter and social media channels.
There are 124 precincts in Horry County; however, not all of them are “organized”. A precinct is considered organized when it has elected officers. HCDP strives to have all precincts organized. See Election of Precinct Officers below.
There are three main objectives at Precinct Reorganization: Election of Precinct Officers, Determination of Delegates to County and proposed delegates to State Conventions and Approval of Resolutions Proposals.
This article provides an overview on all of these objectives. Information about conventions can be found by reading The 2020 Horry County and South Carolina State Conventions while details on Resolutions Proposals can be found by reading Horry County Democratic Party (HCDP) Resolutions Proposals.
Election of Precinct Officers
Precinct officers are essential to the Democratic Party, especially the President and Executive Committeeperson. The roles of these officers are listed below. For more details on these, and other officers, click here.
President: the precinct organizer and a local party leader. This position has been called the “soul of the Democratic party”. An effective President can greatly increase the chances of electing Democrats at the local as well as the state and national levels.
Executive Committeeperson: the voting member of the precinct at county Executive Committee (EC) meetings. The EC is the governing body of the county party with the responsibility of ensuring that all legal duties are carried out appropriately. County party updates are presented at these meetings as well as updates from the State EC. HCDP EC meetings are held quarterly at the Justice Center, 1201 3rd Ave, Conway. Meeting dates are posted on the HCDP Event Calendar. Guests can also attend EC meetings, but have no voting power.
Other elected officers may include:
- 1st Vice President – must be of a Race different from the President
- 2nd Vice President – must be a different sex from the President
- 3rd Vice President – must be under the age of 30
- Alternate Executive Committeeperson – represents the precinct in the event the EC is unavailable
- Secretary – keeps minutes of precinct meetings and maintains list of Democrats in the precinct
- Treasurer – oversees any money collected by the precinct and follows all state ethics laws
Any precinct members in attendance at Precinct Reorganization can run to be a delegate to the HCDP County Convention (March 30) and the South Carolina State Convention (May 30). County Convention delegates are elected by their precincts during Precinct Reorganization. Election of those running for State Convention delegate is done at County Convention. Only delegates can vote at County and State Conventions; therefore, delegates at County Convention vote on which delegates will go on to the State Convention.
Each precinct has a pre-determined number of delegates and alternates it can elect for County Convention. These numbers are determined by SCDP and are made available in the precinct packet at Precinct Reorganization.
You don’t have to be a precinct officer, but you must be a County Delegate to run for a delegate seat at State Convention. For more information on Delegates and Alternates click here.
Resolutions are proposals for changes or improvements at the local or state level. Anyone can download and submit an HCDP Resolutions Proposal, which has been revised in 2020. Information on how to complete a resolutions proposal, and deadlines for submission, can be found in the article Horry County Democratic Party (HCDP) Resolutions Proposals.
Any proposals submitted prior to the meeting will be included in the precinct packet of the submitter on the day of precinct reorganization. The precinct then votes to approve or reject the resolution. Blank forms are also provided so a resolution can be drafted for submission and precinct approval on the day of the meeting. Approved resolutions are returned in the precinct packet at the end of the meeting and will be presented at County Convention for review and, potentially, approval by county delegates.
How Precinct Reorganization Works
Precinct Reorganization is intended to last not more than two hours. Lunch will not be provided.
At your cluster location, a photo ID must be presented before you can enter. Any current photo ID required to vote is acceptable. If you do not have the appropriate photo ID you will not be able to enter.
Once admitted to the meeting, you will be directed to the room where your precinct is meeting. Note that some small precincts may be in the same room at separate tables. Each precinct will be provided a packet containing Resolution Forms (blank and any submitted prior to the meeting), a 2020 Precinct Officers sheet, a sheet to list HCDP County Convention delegates elected by your precinct as well as a list of those running as delegates to the South Carolina State Convention. Other information may be included as well.
Precincts will have the responsibility to nominate and elect, at the minimum, a President and Executive Committeeperson and any other officers as needed. The same person can hold both positions for a precinct with few members. The names of each officer will be listed on the 2020 Precinct Officers sheet. Precincts will also elect delegates to HCDP County Convention and review/approve any HCDP Resolutions Proposals.
Once your precinct has elected officers, elected delegates to HCDP County Convention, listed those who are running for South Carolina State Convention delegate and completed any approved Resolutions, all forms are placed back in the precinct packet. You are free to leave once the packet has been turned in to the cluster organizer.
Delegates and alternate delegates to HCDP County Convention will attend on Monday, March 30 at 6 pm. The location is Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 504 Church St (Hwy 501), Conway. Guests are welcome at County and State Conventions.
If you need more information or have questions, contact HCDP at 843-488-4237 or stop by the office at 311c Beaty St, Conway 29526.
Hope to see you all at Precinct Reorganization!