By Richard Gooding
Understanding Your Precinct
Every legislative district is subdivided into precincts. Precincts are the smallest administrative unit in the state. PCs are the representatives of their party for the constituents in their precinct.
Now that you are a PC one of the first questions you might have is what are the characteristics of the constituents in my precinct? How many are Democrats? How many are Independents? What was the voter turnout in my precinct? What were the election results?
To help you answer these and many other questions about your precinct, AZ Blue 2020 has created Precinct Snapshots for every precinct in the state. In addition to giving you information about the voting behavior of people in your precinct, it includes (1) the names and contact information of other PCs in your precinct and (2) the names and contact information for your LD Chair and State Representatives. A precinct within LD 28 has been randomly selected and included as an example.
How to us this information?
While it’s great to have this information, the more important question is how to use it to help turn Arizona blue. Here are some tips in using the information in each section.
Every precinct is allotted one PC for roughly every 125 voters registered with a party. This section of the Snapshot shows you how many slots are available for Democratic PCs and how many are open in your precinct. One of the biggest challenges we face in building a ground game is recruiting and training more PCs. Most precincts have empty slots and some precincts have no PCs at all.
If you have empty PC slots in your precinct, one of your roles is to recruit other like-minded people in your precinct to become PCs. There are several approaches to doing that which we will cover in future BluePrint blogs. The more PC slots you fill, the more effective each of you can be in communicating with your Democratic neighbors and getting out the vote.
If this section includes the names of other PCs, you should contact them to introduce yourself and arrange a time to meet. If you build a PC team in your precinct, you can support one another, share ideas and divvy up the work. When you get together, you should develop a plan and divide up your turf to minimize any duplication of effort.
Voter Registration, Turnout and Voting Results
This section shows the number of registered voters in each party today and at the time of the last two elections. It does not include third parties. “Other” represents people who are not registered with any party. Typically referred to as Independents. It also shows you the turnout rate for the last two elections by party. The election results show what percent of the vote the Democratic candidate received of the total vote in the precinct. The data for every precinct will look different but here are some things you should think about.
What percent of the registered voters are Democrats?
Are you in a predominately blue, red or purple precinct? Two things can happen here. If most of the people in your neighborhood are Democrats, they may become complacent and not turn out to vote. On the other hand, if the precinct is predominately Republican, your constituents may feel their vote really doesn’t count. As a PC, the message you need to carry to your constituents is that every vote counts, maybe not at the precinct or LD level, but at the state and national level. Hillary Clinton lost Michigan in 2016 by an average of one vote per precinct!
What percent of Democrats turn out to vote?
If you compare the 2016 Presidential election with the 2014 mid-term election, you will typically see a significant drop off in the mid-term election. Across the state the turnout for Presidential elections is around 85% while the turnout for mid-term elections is typically 48%. Turnout is the way Democrats can win in 2018.
Again, each PC has about 125 Democratic constituents. If the PC did nothing in their neighborhood, approximately 60 of those Democrats would vote in 2018 and the other 65 would stay home. However, suppose over the next fifteen months the PC builds an ongoing relationship with their 125 constituents, meeting or calling them a few times, inviting them to coffees with the candidates, sharing information on issues, etc. What impact is that likely to have on turnout? Will ten of the 65 non-voters mail in their ballot? Maybe twenty? Those twenty additional votes would result in a 64% turnout rate, enough to turn this state blue in 2018.
How do I get my precinct snapshot?
If you’d like a Precinct Snapshot for your precinct, email firstname.lastname@example.org your LD number and precinct name and we will get one to you.
Once you get it, establish a voter turnout goal for your precinct and develop a plan to turn out those stay-at-home voters. You are the ground game and Democratic voter turnout is the key to success in 2018.