What is a Precinct Delegate and Why Do They Matter?

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

Precinct delegates are elected officials of the Democratic Party who represent the neighborhoods where they live. Precinct delegates are often important leaders and organizers in our local clubs, caucuses, districts, county parties and the MDP. They are the grassroots organizers who build and maintain relationships with their voters, ensure residents are aware of the issues affecting them, and rally them to turn out during election season. Ultimately, it is the active precinct delegate who wins elections for the Democratic Party. But in order to succeed in their jobs, they need resources and support from our party. As MDP chair, I will help our precinct delegates do their job. This includes training them, empowering them as local organizers, and providing infrastructure such as VAN lists or access, messaging and literature. I know how to tackle this challenge because I’ve been a precinct delegate since 2010 and I canvass my precinct every election cycle. But that’s not enough. We need to engage with our precincts in the off year and not just for a few months before elections. And we need tools and guidance from the MDP to keep our delegates prepared for and excited about the work they do.

In Northville and the 11th Congressional District we have actively recruited precinct delegates. Every cycle, Susan Nichols and others travel throughout the district to notarize the required forms so that precinct delegates appear on the ballot. Last year, I organized precinct delegate training throughout Western Wayne County, and activists including Michael Siegrist, Kate Shishkovsky, Sommer Foster, Kelly Breen and Trevor Tutro-Anderson trained 200 people. It was a group effort and it shows how much we can accomplish when we collaborate!

We’ve also supported our Northville and 11th District delegates by providing comprehensive information. I wrote and distributed the Democratic Precinct Delegate Handbook that provides a complete picture of a precinct delegate’s role and strategies for working effectively within a precinct. The handbook is available digitally here:

This is what I was able to accomplish locally with limited resources, and at the local level, we devoted resources to organizing our precinct delegates and succeeded in flipping several seats in the midterms. Think of what we could achieve if we took these grassroots strategies to the state level!

You may hear campaigns or party organizers say that precinct delegates won’t work for them. We can’t just call on them a few months before the election. We can’t expect precinct delegates to work without understanding their job. We must let them know they are an important part of the Democratic Party, we must train them, we must value them, and we must give them a seat at the table all year long.

I love the Democratic Party, but I love it enough to know we must do more to win in 2019 and 2020. And helping our precinct delegates do their job is a priority for me.

I’m asking for you to vote for me for MDP Chair because United we are Democrats – and united we can win.

- Lisa

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