Explaining the Indiana political machine at a local level

Explaining the Indiana political machine at a local level

Disclaimer: I wrote this in 2012!

Note, the filing deadline has passed to file for this position as a Republican in 2016.


Given the anger that a lot of voters have with what’s going on in our political world, I decided to write this to help, Hoosiers in particular, figure out where to start.

The smallest local office for which one can run is called a precinct committeeman/woman. The physical location of where you go to vote is your precinct (aka polling location). Each precinct has a set boundary and each precinct has either an elected or appointed committeman assigned to it. Most often, these offices go unfilled so the party chairman appoints people to them. Thus, this becomes the first step where voters shirk their responsibility for holding their party accountable.

What does a precinct committeeman do? He/she is responsible for getting out the vote for their party on election day. They recruit poll workers to work their precinct on election day. They are the face of the party for their neighbors. You should know them all as well as possible!

Republicans file for precinct committeemen in Presidential election years. Democrats file for precinct committeemen in off years (mid-term for President). You simply pick up a candidate form at the voter registration office and file to run for that office. In most cases, the deadline is VERY EARLY in the year of the political primary process.

Once you file the form (CAN-37), if no one else files to run – CONGRATULATIONS! You are now a precinct committeeman/woman! You will not be on the ballot. So long as you don’t (openly) support a third party or opposite party candidate, you cannot easily be removed from this office. In short, you’d have to be impeached.

If someone runs against you, you will have to campaign for your spot as any candidate does. Ask your county voter registration office for your precinct’s “walking list”. Print some flyers about why people should support you and go door to door or make some phone calls to the voters who tend to vote for your party in the primary. (This information is on the walking list.)

If you did not file to run, but know your party chairman, you can always ask to fill one of these spots. As I said, most often these go unfilled. When you are appointed to this spot, you serve at the whims of the chairman. Therefore he/she can UNappoint you at anytime, for anything.

Why does this matter? The precinct committeemen are the ones who vote for your county party chairman. If you are elected by your precinct, you can decide on your conscience. If you are appointed, if the chairman feels you may not be 100% loyal, he can unappoint you prior to the meeting where the election for chairman happens. If not enough people file to run for this position, obviously the current chairman fills the spots with his/her supporters and it’s a pat on the back type of election for who heads your county!

The county chairmen elect the STATE party leadership. Any guesses who elects the National party leadership?

Don’t like the direction of your country? Step up to be a public servant in a small position that may seem like a thankless office, but liberty (and future generations) will thank you!

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