It is the goal of the Republican Party to organize all of the 91 Precincts in Beaufort County. We do that every other year at the March Precinct Reorganization.
To understand the Precinct, Precinct Reorganization, and the Precinct Committee, it is necessary to understand the organizational structure of the Republican Party.
Here are the basics:
The Three Levels of Republican Party Organization
National Republican Party
The State Republican Party
The County Republican Party
The Beaufort County Republican Party receives no funding from the National or the State Parties.
As a matter of reciprocity, the Beaufort County Party provides no funds to the State or National Parties.
Funds we raise here stay here.
The Beaufort County Republican Party Consists of:
A slate of officers who perform the day to day operation of the party under the direction and authority of The Beaufort County Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee:
The Executive Committee can be thought of as a large Board of Directors. It is made up of Executive Committeemen and women elected by the Precinct Committees of each organized Precinct.
First – What is a precinct?
A Precinct is an area with boundaries established by the Board of Elections encompassing adjoining neighborhoods each with approximately 1,500 registered voters.
The Precinct is designed to facilitate voting.
There are 92 precincts in Beaufort County. One Precinct is county wide for purpose of conducting In Person Absentee Voting leaving 91 with residents and voters to be organized.
Precinct Organization and the Precinct Committee
A Precinct is much more than a polling place. The precinct is the basic fundamental unit of the Republican Party.
It is the goal of the Republican Party to organize a Precinct Committee in each precinct.
To that end the Beaufort County Republican Party holds Precinct Organization or Reorganization meetings every two years in March (in non-general election or odd numbered years) at various locations to give Republicans at large the opportunity to join and organize a Precinct Committee.
It is important to note that Organization meetings are conducted in compliance with South Carolina Law and Republican Party Rules.
It is at the Precinct Reorganization meeting where organized precincts elect their Precinct Committee officers and their Precinct Delegates and where precincts not previously organized form new Precinct Committees and elect their Precinct officers and delegates.
Any precinct resident who is a registered voter believing in the principles of the Republican Party and intending generally to support its candidates is welcome to participate in the Precinct reorganization meeting and become a Precinct Committee member of his or her Precinct.
To participate, you must be a registered voter in Beaufort County.
Here is how Precinct Reorganization works.
At the Precinct Organizing Meeting, People from each Precinct will meet separately by Precinct to elect Precinct Committee Officers and Delegates.
These officers are:
Precinct President – Chairs all Precinct Committee meetings
One or more Vice Presidents – to act in the absence of the Precinct President
A secretary – to sign and deliver forms package to State Party
An Executive Committeeman – to represent the Precinct and the Precinct Committee at the County Executive Committee Meetings.
- Note: The Executive Committeeman is the only officer of the Precinct who can cast a vote at County Executive Committee meetings. If for any reason he or she is unable to attend, a proxy should be selected.
Delegates and Alternates – to the County Convention in April.
- Note: The number of delegates and alternates is determined by State Party according to formula based on the number of voters in prior elections. A precinct may have as few as 5 or 6 delegates and alternates or it may have dozens.
During the 2016 primary season there was a great deal of confusion about the delegate selection process for the Republican National Convention. Even the pundits and media had little understanding of the process. They got it wrong and spread a lot of misinformation.
Delegate selection begins at the Precinct. There is no other way to become a delegate to the County, Stare, or National Conventions other than to first be elected as a delegate by your Precinct Committee.
The Duty of the Delegates of the Precinct Committee
The Delegates elected at the Reorganization meeting represent the Precinct and are voting delegates at the County Convention held in April following the March Reorganization.
At the County Convention the Precinct Delegates elect the Party Chairman, the Vice Chairman and elect from among the Precinct Delegates the Delegates to the State Republican Convention held in May after the County Convention.
They also vote on other issues brought before the County Convention.
You should note that if you every wanted to be a Delegate or participate in the selection of Delegates to either the State Republican Convention or the Republican National Convention you must first be elected as a Delegate of your Precinct at the Reorganization meeting. There is no other way to be a Delegate. Period. The Delegate selection process starts at the Precinct and nowhere else.
- Note: A person selected as the precinct delegate does not have to be present at the Precinct Reorganization meeting.
There is no limit to the number of people who can be on a Precinct Committee.
- Note: If you are interested and attend the Reorganization meeting and it turns out that you are the only one from your precinct to show up, you can elect yourself to the all of the officer positions and be a delegate.
More about the Precinct Committee
Delegate selection is not the only function of the Republican Precinct Committee.
Why become a Precinct Committee member?
Being a Precinct Committee member is the easiest and the best way to become involved in Republican politics.
The Precinct Committee provides you and your neighbors an opportunity to get together with others of like mind. The Republican Party provides the structure and the resources to organize your precinct so that you and your neighbors have a real voice in Party politics.
What does a Precinct Committee do?
A Precinct Committee can do as much or as little as the committee members wish.
There are no required actions for the Committee other than what has been covered.
And that is a really big problem and a very big missed opportunity.
The error we have made in the past is that in election years we have rushed to revived the Precinct Committees in time to choose delegates and then forgotten those people until the next election only to discover that some have moved away or lost interest.
The really important functions and the potential of the Republican Precinct Committee occur after the election and continues through to the next election.
We elect our representative and send them off with our best wishes. It is then that we need to stay active, watch what they do, and hold their feet to the fire.
The Precinct Committee provides a unique opportunity to do that.
We should think of the Precinct Committee as a neighborhood Republican Club with the ability to amplify your voice so that you can be heard. The precinct Committee is a group of Republican neighbors that get together periodically in a members living room, patio, or local restaurant for lunch, dinner, or cocktails to talk politics.
The group might ask a legislative representative, school board member or County Councilman, or County or City official to talk face to face and have a meaningful discussion about whatever concerns the Committee members might have.
You might ask who cares what you think. Well, no one if you don’t voice your concerns through a constructive channel. The Republican Precinct Committee provides that channel.
You will find that when politicians talk to large groups, some people are reluctant to ask questions especially if they might be controversial. However, in a small group of a half dozen or a dozen people in a living room or patio a real dialog is possible.
The Precinct Committee can provide a real opportunity to learn and a real opportunity to make your views known by the people that count. That won’t happen if you don’t get involved.
All of your local representatives from town council to state and even federal offices are eager, believe it or not, to meet with your Committee in your living room.
Your elected and appointed officials from County Treasurer to District Solicitor (prosecutor) would welcome the opportunity to talk to your Committee. They want you to know what they are doing and you have an opportunity to tell them what you think and what you expect.
Now, more than ever we need to get organized and we need to become active.
The 2016 election gave us Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and a Republican in the oval office. We were rescued from the specter of a President Hillary Clinton. And the country changed direction. We cannot rest on our laurels or the gains of 2016 may be lost.
It is time for all of us to get involved.