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PCP Application & Handbook

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PCP handbook

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 Democratic Party of Clackamas County  

Precinct Committee Person Handbook
November 2018

This edition of the PCP Handbook is a November 2018 online update of the July 2017 version printed by Owl Tree Press of St. Helens, Oregon, which updated the 2012 printing of the 2006 Edition of the Clackamas County PCP Handbook. That edition is based on an original handbook begun in 2001 by Julie Flaming and Meredith Wood Smith. Use has also been made of handbooks and training materials graciously provided by PCPs from Washington, Lane, Marion, and Linn counties.
Thanks to all who have contributed to development of this manual over the years. 

Introduction .................................................. 4
Why I’m a Democrat
............................................ 5
Precinct Committee Persons
.................................... 6
The Democratic Party Organization
............................. 7
     Democratic Voters
........................................ 7
     County Central Committee (CCC)
........................... 7
     Mission Statement: Democratic Party of Clackamas County (DPCC)
............................................................... 9
     Congressional District Committees
........................ 10
     Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO)
......................... 10
 Democratic National Committee (DNC) .......................... 11
PCPs and House District Leaders ............................... 11
     Why Become a Precinct Committee Person? .................. 11
     How Does a Person Become a PCP? .......................... 11
     What Does a PCP Do?
...................................... 13
     House District Leaders: Roles and Responsibilities
....... 15
Neighborhood Leaders
.......................................... 15
The Essentials of Precinct Work
............................... 16
............................................... 16
     Sample Precinct Map
...................................... 21
     Sample Walk List
......................................... 22
     PCPs and the Voting Process
.............................. 23
     Targeting Voters—VoteBuilder
............................. 24
Other PCP Activities
.......................................... 25
     Reaching Out Through the Media
........................... 25
     Communicating with Officials
............................. 26      House Parties or Coffees ..................................... 27
Additional Information
........................................ 28
     Elections and Oregon State Government
.................... 29
     Grassroots Fundraising: Legal Guidelines
................. 30
     Financial Reporting Forms
................................ 31
     State DPO Caucuses and DPCC Committees
................... 32
     Media Outlets
............................................ 33
................................................. 34

Introduction (pg. 4)

The fact that you are reading this handbook indicates that you have taken an important step in your political life—moving from simply casting a vote to identifying yourself as an activist, as someone who believes we can make our country better and is willing to put time and energy into making that happen.
Whether you’ve been serving the Party for years or have never been politically active, this handbook was developed to help you be successful in your role as Precinct Committee Person.
We’re glad you’re joining us! We hope that this handbook is helpful to you in this important work to help elect officials who will support a just and equitable political order and lead effectively as the United States faces the challenges of the 21st century.
The Democratic Party of Clackamas County

     Clackamas County stretches from Wilsonville and Tualatin in the west to Mt. Hood in the east, and from Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, and Portland in the North to Canby and Mollala in the south. The DPCC is comprised of at least parts of eleven Oregon House Districts: 18, 26, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 48, 51, and 52, as well as Senate Districts 9, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 24. It contains parts of U. S. Congressional House Districts 3 and 5.
Democrats who live in these districts and the precincts within them are represented by Precinct Committee Persons who constitute the county central committee of their party. The county central committee …is the highest party authority in county party matters and may adopt rules or resolutions for any matter of party government within the county which is not controlled by the laws of this state. (ORS 247.031)
The Officers, House District Leaders, and Committee Chairs of the Democratic Party of Clackamas County, with their contact information, are listed on this web site <via links and site search.>. 
Why I’m a Democrat (pg. 5)
  • I believe in the Principles of our Founding Fathers that Make America Great.
  • I believe in FREEDOM: Every American should be free to live and believe as they want.
  • I believe in EQUALITY: Every American should get the same respect and the same fair treatment.
  • I believe in JUSTICE: Every American should be treated the same way under the law.
  • I believe in OPPORTUNITY: Every American should be free to make the best possible life for themselves.
  • I believe in EDUCATION: Every American should have access to good education, from preschool through college.
  • I believe in RIGHTS: Every American’s Constitutional rights are sacred and must never be taken away or limited.
  • I believe in RESPONSIBILITY: Every American has a duty to participate in the life of this great nation, and to deal compassionately with those less fortunate.
  • I believe in INCLUSION: Every American means EVERY AMERICAN, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sex or any other factor.
  • I believe in THE ENVIRONMENT: It is our responsibility to preserve and protect the world’s resources and its natural beauty.
  • I believe in GOOD GOVERNMENT: Its job is to serve and protect all of us.
  • I believe in THE FUTURE: I want to make the world a better place for our children, and their children.
  • I believe in AMERICA: It’s a shining ray of hope and symbol of admiration for people all over the world. We welcome those who want to share in it.
  • I believe in being part of the solution. I want to help preserve the American Dream
Precinct Committee Persons (pg. 6)
The “Real” Power Behind the Party
Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) are the lifeblood of the Democratic Party. For Democrats to lead our country forward, we must all pitch in. You have the power to help rebuild our economy, ensure schools are fully funded, and help establish a fair and just society.
PCPs are the eyes and ears of the Party. You are the difference between winning and losing in close elections. Talking to your neighbors about important local, state, and federal issues is a way of engaging them, supporting your community, and establishing yourself as a local leader. Disengagement and apathy only amplify the corrosive effects of big money interests. Yet even in this age of cynicism, a mobilized, engaged electorate still can have the greatest impact on shaping policy. Your participation is essential to ensure a responsive government that reflects the values of your community.
A Precinct Committee Person is an elected official, part of the foundation of the Democratic Party. A PCP is a voting member of the County Democratic Central Committee and represents his/her precinct in the Democratic Party. An elected PCP is eligible to participate in electing county officers and selecting county representatives to the congressional district and state level.  
This handbook emphasizes campaign activities because, ultimately, electing Democratic candidates is the most important activity we do. Elections are won or lost in the precinct. You can be especially effective in your precinct because it is your neighborhood. You know the people, the schools, and the local issues—and the outcome of elections will directly impact your quality of life.
Key point:
     Never underestimate your power as a Precinct
     Committee Person. You can make a real difference.
Remember that John F. Kennedy won election in
 1960 by an average margin of one vote per precinct!
Democratic Party Organization (pg. 7)
The Democratic Party is the oldest ongoing political party in America. Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party of the United States in 1792 and was elected as the first Democratic President in 1800. From the start, the Democratic Party has stood for freedom and equality for every citizen. The Party was based on the ideal that a person’s ability and potential is not based on social or economic status. Here’s how we’re organized today.

  • Democratic Voters
The Democratic Party of Oregon begins with registered Democratic voters. As of May
2018, Clackamas County had 284,002 registered voters. There were 97,284 Democrats
(34.2%), compared to 82,269 Republicans (29%), 13,002 (4.6%) Independents and 84,816
(29.9%) non-affiliated voters. In May 2018, of Oregon’s 2,678,515 registered voters, 956,279
(35.7%) were Democrats.  
  • County Central Committees  
County central committees, consisting of all PCPs in a county, can adopt a party platform, organize Democrats within the county, and select representatives to the congressional district and state central committees.  

Meetings of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Clackamas County are currently held monthly (except for August and December) at the NW Carpenter’s Union Hall, 276 Warner Milne Rd, Oregon City (see Meetings are open to the public, including all Clackamas County Democrats, with PCPs as voting members. 

Within counties, precincts are grouped according to house district, the areas represented by members of the Oregon House of Representatives. When a house district such as House District 26 crosses county lines, PCPs are organized first by counties, then by house districts. So PCPs residing in HD 26 in Washington County participate in the Washington County Central Committee and those HD 26 PCPs residing in Clackamas County are members of the Clackamas County Central Committee.
The Clackamas County Democratic Central Committee (CCDCC) holds its organizational meeting in November following each general election.  
Democratic Party of Clackamas County    
609 Main Street        
Oregon City, OR 97045    

Democratic Party of Clackamas County
P. O. Box 600
Oregon City, OR 97045
Phone: (503) 635-6651

(Contact form available on Web site.) 
Mission Statement: (pg. 9)
Clackamas County Democrats

Congressional District Committees  (pg. 10)

Members of the Congressional District Committees include at least two delegates from each county within the congressional district and one additional delegate for each 15,000 Democrats within the County and the Congressional District as of the primary election. The CD Committees focus on electing Democratic members of Congress and communicating with them on issues.
At the organizational meeting each Congressional District Committee elects representatives to the standing committees of the State Central Committee. Clackamas County is represented by the 3rd and 5th Congressional Districts.
Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO)   (pg. 10)

The State Central Committee (SCC) is chartered by the National Democratic Party to set the policies and conduct the business of the Democratic Party in Oregon. The SCC is required to meet every three months to conduct official party business.
The State Central Committee is comprised of at least two delegates elected from each county and one additional delegate for each 15,000 registered Democrats within the county as of the date of the primary election.  
Currently, Clackamas County has 8 delegates and 8 alternates to the State Central Committee. They are elected at the county organizational meeting.

State party activities:
1.    Promote Democratic values statewide
2.    Actively work to elect Democratic candidates
3.    Help identify, train, and recruit new activists and candidates
4.    Provide Democratic representation at events, fairs, etc.
5.    Conduct fundraising events
6.    Develop policy positions and resolutions

DPO Chair: <>
Democratic Party of Oregon 232 NE 9th Ave.
Portland, OR 97232
Phone (503) 224-8200
Fax (503) 224-5335

Website: (contains names and contact information for DPO officials and public officials).

Democratic National Committee   (pg. 11)

In 1848, the Democratic Party established the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to be its governing body. The DNC plans the presidential nomination convention that is held every four years; promotes the election of Democratic Party candidates through technical and financial support; and works with national, state, and local party organizations, elected officials, candidates, and constituencies to respond to the needs of the Democratic electorate and the country. The DNC frequently provides strategic support, staff, resources, and training to ensure that Democrats nationwide are involved in their communities. These combined efforts are called the “coordinated campaign.”
The Democratic National Committee is comprised of members elected from each
State. Oregon is currently apportioned three National Committee People in addition to the Chair of the DPO and the Vice-Chair of the opposite sex. DNC members serve four-year terms commencing at the next Democratic National Committee meeting following the General Election in which the President of the United States is elected.
 PCPs and House District Leaders   (pg. 11)
Why Become a Precinct Committee Person?

PCPs are volunteers, usually with busy lives outside of politics. So, what motivates such people to go beyond occasional volunteer activities to work for Democratic Party goals? Activism begins with a desire to build a just community and a government that works for everyone.  
Many PCPs speak of “making a difference” or “doing my share.” Common to many Democrats is a sense of being part of a large community of people, of working together to give ordinary people a voice in making the decisions that affect their lives and shape our society. Most Democrats see themselves as working together for the common good.  

Why did you choose to become a PCP?
What do you wish to accomplish as a PCP?

You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish with others. Democrats have shown many times how much ordinary people working together can achieve, even in the face of vast power and wealth. So, whatever you choose to do, remember why you became a PCP and use your time and talents well.

How Does a Person Become a PCP?

Oregon’s election law authorizes each major political party to elect one male and one female precinct committee person per every 500 electors in each precinct (ORS 248.015).

Individuals represent the precinct in which they live or an adjacent precinct within the same county. There are two ways to become a Precinct Committee Person:
    Get Elected
    Get Appointed
Party members may file for election as Vacancies may be filled by appointment by precinct committee persons in the May     the County Party Central Committee Primary Election or may be write-in     between elections (See below for details.) candidates. To be elected a person must have been a registered Democrat since the previous September (180 days).
Frequently asked questions:

Q How do I get elected?
A     Be among the top vote-getters of your gender in the precinct. Your name will be included on the ballot if you file by the published deadline or you may receive write-in votes (at least three are required for election). 

Q How do I file?
A     Filing forms will be made available by the County Elections Office and by the Party. You will need to complete and sign the forms and return them to the County Elections Office by the filing deadline. If you are a current PCP, the county party will provide a form. You do not have to file any paperwork to run as a write-in candidate. Simply write in your name in the Democratic PCP line on your ballot and have friends and family do the same.

Q What difference does it make if I’m elected instead of appointed?
A     Only elected PCPs can vote for county officers (Chair, First Vice-Chair, Second Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) at the organization meeting held every two years. Another difference is that appointed PCPs may be removed by the Central Committee, while elected PCPs can only be recalled by the voters in the precinct from which they were elected.

Q How do I get appointed?
A Go to the website— print the Precinct Committee Person application or complete the form provided on page 34 and submit it to the address indicated.

Q What other requirements are there?
A     A person who has been registered as a member of the Democratic Party for at least 180 days before the primary election may register as a candidate for PCP in the precinct in which s/he lives or an adjacent precinct in the same county. People who have recently changed parties will not be eligible for election until they have met the registration requirement described above. There are special rules for some special cases, such as a person who has recently turned 18 year of age. (See and for more detailed information.)

Q.  What is the term of office for a PCP?
A     An elected PCP serves from the 24th day after the primary election in which he or she was elected until the 24th day after the next primary election. Appointed PCPs serve from the time of their appointment until they can run for election at the next primary election. Q.  What happens if I move during my term as a PCP?
A.  If you move outside of the precinct to which you were elected, you will need to apply to the Central Committee of the county in which you reside to be appointed as a PCP in your new precinct.
What Does a PCP Do?   (pg. 13)
The amount of time and level of participation PCPs can provide to the Democratic Party will vary due to personal circumstances.

Every PCP should be familiar with the various ways that a PCP can be of help to the Party. Part of the responsibility of a PCP is to be a proactive supporter of Democratic activities, selecting those that are appropriate to his or her circumstances, talents and preferences. Attending the monthly meetings of the Central Committee is one of the best ways to remain in touch with what is happening in Clackamas County politics. PCPs who are informed about DPCC activities and events will be in the best position to find ways to contribute positively to achieving Democratic Party goals. 

PCPs may choose among many opportunities to make their contribution to the Party and to politics in our communities.  Some activities, however, are critical to the success of the Party and are generally core PCP responsibilities.
As a PCP, you will choose among activities such as the following:
1.    Work in your precinct
The most important contribution you can make as a PCP is to work in your precinct to support Democratic candidates and causes:  
•    Get to know Democrats in your area and invite them to participate in Democratic Party activities.
•    Canvass your precinct to persuade voters to vote for Democratic candidates and ballot measures.  
•    Help get out the vote in your precinct by becoming a Neighborhood Leader.
2.    Participate in Democratic Party activities
     The Party is powered by volunteers. By participating in meetings and other Party activities, you make the Party strong and become knowledgeable about the candidates and issues.
•    Assist the county Party in recruiting volunteers and new party activists.
•    Participate in Party committees or as an officer.
•    Stay informed by attending Central Committee meetings; by following events in newspapers, online, and on TV; by keeping up with information on the county web site, and by joining email lists such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. related to your elected Democratic representatives. (See p. 33 below for specific information about possible sources of information.)
•    Work with others in your House district to build the party in your area.
•    Participate in Party-sponsored activities such as workshops, fundraisers, county fairs, and outreach booths.
•    Volunteer to staff the county office.
•    Attend State Central Committee meetings, participating in informational workshops and meetings of caucus groups (p. 32).
3.    Support Democratic candidates and ballot measures
     When all is said and done, the Party exists to influence public policy through election of candidates and passage or defeat of ballot measures. Participation in candidate elections and ballot measures campaigns is an important way PCPs can contribute.
•    Volunteer to make phone calls or canvass for candidates or issues.
•    Contribute or help raise money for Democratic candidates.
•    Host a house party to support a candidate.
•    Write letters to the editor or articles for the DPCC web site, join online chats, post comments or blogs (see p. 34 for further information on places where you might participate).
•    Volunteer to help a campaign.
4.    Be Active in the community
•    Attend public meetings sponsored by your local school board, parent-teacher association, city council, or county commission to stay informed and provide input on public policy and legislation.
•    Communicate with elected officials. (Real letters from “real people” count.)
•    Run for office. Don’t let seats on school boards; water boards; conservation districts; or regional, county, or city agencies go uncontested.
•    Be a voice for truth. Never has it been easier or more important to participate in public discussion of issues.
5.    Stay informed
•    Attend public hearings, town halls and meetings that discuss the issues of the day.
•    Use news sources of your choice to keep up with important issues and events.
•    Be familiar with various positions on major issues. Understanding the perspective of others is essential to being able to persuade them.
6.    Join a DPCC committee or a state-wide caucus (see p. 32).
House District Leaders: Roles and Responsibilities (pg. 15)
The PCPs in each house district select one or two House District Leaders (HDLs) to provide leadership and coordination in building and training a local organization of PCPs and Neighborhood Leaders (NLs) to support efforts to get out the vote and win elections. HDLs should:
•    Help connect local Democrats with campaigns and support candidates
•    Recruit new PCPs and coordinate with the Neighborhood Leader Program
•    Identify, vet and recruit candidates for office  
•    Organize gatherings and events to build the local organization and inform local PCPs and NLs about issues and common concerns
•    Get to know local Democrats and encourage them to get involved in monthly meetings of the Clackamas County Democratic Central Committee
•    Plan activities and provide information and materials needed by volunteers  
•    Attend monthly Executive Committee and Central Committee meetings  
•    Provide a model of ways to build the Democratic Party and spread Democratic values
Neighborhood Leaders
(pg. 15)
Neighborhood Leaders (NLs) are volunteers who agree to reach out to 35 or more households in their neighborhood, encouraging Democrats to vote and reporting their contacts online. PCPs may be Neighborhood Leaders, but many NLs have a more limited commitment—to help see that Democrats are informed voters who turn in their ballots. They distribute slate cards to provide information on Democratic candidates and encourage those who have not yet voted to do so.  
The Neighborhood Leader Program is designed to help grassroots Democrats respond effectively to the challenge presented by wealthy donors who use their wealth to dominate the electoral process. Neighbor-to-neighbor contact is the best way to build trust and encourage Democrats to vote. An administrative team provides lists of voters to NLs and manages data regarding voter turnout. To become a Neighborhood Leader or find additional information, click “Contact Us/Volunteer/Neighborhood Leader” on this web site.  
The Essentials of Precinct Work (pg. 16)
Political campaigns produce a complex flurry of activities—fundraising, commercials, debates, rallies and speeches, and many, many more. However, in the end, elections come down to individual voters casting ballots. PCPs and NLs are the instruments through which the Party reaches out to individual voters. They are the hands and feet of the Party; their personal contact with voters can help win elections. PCPs and NLs can reach their neighbors directly, person-toperson. They gather information to help shape effective strategies and also put those strategies into effective action, over the telephone and at the doors, persuading voters and helping make sure that voters likely to support Democratic candidates actually vote. You may find yourself canvassing as part of a campaign that organizes the materials, assigns territories, provides a script, and collects results. Alternatively, you may canvass your own precinct or neighborhood on behalf of all Democratic candidates.

Canvassing  (pg. 16)

Canvassing involves going through an area (on foot or by telephone) talking to voters about candidates or issues, usually guided by a walk list, which is a list of registered voters in the area, organized by street and house number and often limited to Democrats, reliable voters, etc. The selection of voters for the walk list is an example of targeting, usually created using the computerized voter database, VoteBuilder (VAN), which is described on p. 24.

Canvassing is the most effective direct voter contact tool. For PCPs, canvassing helps build familiarity and trust, get information directly to the voters, find potential activists and supporters, and assess the political mood of a precinct. Canvassing is effective because it is in-person contact, a two-way dialogue in which the PCP’s presence on the doorstep is a powerful endorsement of the candidate or issue being discussed.  
Most PCPs spend at least some time canvassing, recognizing that it is a high priority activity. However, for some people, canvassing is impossible for one reason or another. Some people are not physically able to go door-to-door.

A few people are extremely uncomfortable knocking on doors and talking to strangers. Keeping in mind that few people really like knocking on doors, PCPs who really can’t do it should look for other ways to help reach voters, whether it is making phone calls, entering data, helping with organizational tasks, or finding other activities that support the overall effort of reaching voters.
The Neighborhood Leader Program offers a convenient framework for highly effective canvassing. Neighborhood Leaders accept responsibility to keep in touch with a list about 35 Democratic households in their neighborhood. During election periods they contact the people on their list and encourage them to vote. Often, distributing slate cards informing those on their list of candidates and measures endorsed by the Democratic Party can provide a valuable service to their neighbors, since it is difficult for many people to know enough about “down-ballot” candidates to make choices with confidence.  

Goals for Precinct Canvassing
•    To support Democratic candidates and issues by providing information and personal endorsements.
•    To encourage Democrats and other supporters to turn in their ballots (i.e., “Get Out the Vote” or GOTV)
•    To recruit volunteers who are willing to donate their time and efforts on behalf of the Democratic Party and its candidates and issues
•    To develop lists of supporters for campaigns and fundraising efforts

Timing of the Canvass

It’s never too early to start canvassing your precinct. An off-election year is a perfect time to become acquainted with your neighbors, so that by the time election year rolls around, you will know your voters, and they will be able to rely on you for information about the upcoming elections. The best time to call on a household is on a Saturday or after supper in the evening. Make sure not to go too late in the evening.
Things to Understand BEFORE You Start
Most Oregonians highly value the right of each person to his or her own opinions and respond courteously to those engaging in political discourse—as long as the person knocking on their door respects their right to their own political views, including their right keep their opinions private. You may be surprised at how many people express appreciation that you took the time to make contact.
The right of individuals to seek out their neighbors to exchange views about public issues is “core political speech,” long recognized by the Supreme Court as an essential part of our right to free speech in the First Amendment. Political speech is different from commercial speech, or “soliciting,” which may be restricted by local ordinance.
However, the rights of homeowners and businesses to privacy may limit where political speech may occur. A request from the property owner (or his/her representative) to leave the property should be obeyed promptly and courteously, and posted “no trespassing” signs must be observed.  

How to Canvass Your Precinct

Canvassing requires preparation, walking your precinct, and closing out the canvass.

Preparing to Canvass:

When a campaign or Party organization organizes a canvass, materials for the canvass will be prepared and organized for you.

If you are preparing the canvass yourself, you will need to complete some or all of the following steps.   
1.    Understand the purpose and the targets of the canvass (people you want to talk to).
2.    Develop a script (what you want to say, including the questions you want to ask) for your conversation with the voters and a way to record answers.
3.    Develop a walk list of the voters you wish to speak to. This is often done using VoteBuilder (see p. 24).  A Party officer or a House District Leader will be able to help you with this. If you are part of an organized canvass, you will be provided with a walk list.
4.    Wear clothing appropriate to the weather and gather the other materials you will need for the canvass, including:
•    Clipboard
•    Walk list and precinct map (see examples on the following pages)
•    Script  
•    Campaign literature
•    Canvass cards (if you are recording information about voters on cards)
•    Volunteer recruitment forms
•    Pencils, pens, paper, plastic bags, rubber bands
•    Clackamas County Democrats business cards (for voters who want to contact the office)
•    Flashlight (if canvassing will continue after dark)
•    Water
Walking Your Precinct

The day of the canvass, before starting, review the script thoroughly so you do not need to refer to it while talking to voters. Practicing delivery of the script will help you identify places where you stumble or that you find awkward, and give you a chance to correct these problems.  

Review the walk list and decide where you’ll start and the first few blocks or streets you’ll work.  Some PCPs start with their immediate neighbors to get some experience and build their confidence. For those accustomed to using “Smart Phones,” Mini-VAN is available to access your walk list. Check with your House District Leader for Information.

Now it’s time to get out there and start knocking on doors:

•    Examine your walk list—address, person’s name and voting history, and the party affiliation of different household members—as you approach the house.
•    Introduce yourself as a Democratic Party Precinct Person or Neighborhood Leader as soon as the door is opened. Immediately explain what you are doing with enthusiasm and with a smile. This will help you develop rapport and obtain honest, forthright information.
•    Determine to whom you are speaking, and if the person is not on your list, ask to speak to a person on your walk list. Note new residents on your walk list.
•    Work through the script, noting on the walk list the answers to your questions and any additional information of value the voter provides.  You may need to vary from the script, but try to return to it when you can to get the answers you’re seeking.
•    After you’ve completed the script, if the household is Democratic and if you still have the person’s attention, ask if everyone in the household is registered to vote. Ask if anyone in the household is seventeen years old and unregistered. Say thank you, and move on quickly to the next address on the list.
Some suggestions for successful canvassing:
•    On your walk list, be sure to write down peoples’ concerns and relevant information you gather (such as “hostile voter,” or “seems eager to volunteer”). Follow through on all requests for help. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you will find out and get back the person. Then do so!
•    Avoid arguments. Arguments do little to change minds and they waste valuable time. Your most effective response is to move along, courteously and quickly, remembering that you represent the Democratic Party.
•    Never go into a house. If there is an emergency, get the resident to call for help.
•    If no one is home, leave the material at the door. Write, “Sorry I missed you” on the front of the handout. Never put literature in a mailbox—it is a federal offense.  
•    Always smile. A smile will work wonders with people you meet. Be sincere and friendly even if you are tired. Always thank people for their time and attention.
•    While you are canvassing, you will meet people who want to participate in the Democratic Party as PCPs or Neighborhood Leaders. Make a note of such interest and pass it along to your district leader or county chair. Give the person a copy of the PCP or NL application or direct him/her to the “Volunteer” link on the DPCC home page at
Useful Tips for canvassing your own precinct
•    You will want to canvass your precinct repeatedly over time; this will make your job much easier. Try to make the first contact in your precinct by a personal visit, which is much more friendly than a phone call. If, after a number of attempts, you cannot make direct contact, then use the telephone and follow up later with a personal visit or a personal letter. In some rural districts, you will need to make first contact by mail.
•    As you canvass, be alert to people whose level of interest might make them appropriate recruits for the Neighborhood Leader program. Turn the contact information over to your HDL for follow-up. 

Closing out the Canvass:

You’ve done a lot of work canvassing your precinct. Now it’s time to make sure you’ve gotten the full value of your work:
•    Review the walk list to confirm that the canvass is complete, that you didn’t accidentally skip a house or street, and that, if you said you’d return to a door, you’ve done so.
•    Make sure all information has been recorded on the walk sheet.
•    Make a list of tasks remaining or information that needs special attention, e.g., people who have asked for yard signs or who may be interested in being a Neighborhood Leader.
•    If you’ve canvassed in your precinct, create or update a file of voter information – it’s very useful to know who’s friendly and supportive, who is a strong supporter of certain candidates, etc.
•    Return materials promptly to the canvass coordinator, your House District Leader, or enter the information in the Neighborhood Leader database, depending on the purpose of your canvass.
If you’re canvassing over a few days, reviewing the list and updating your notes on a daily basis improves the quality of your results.  
More on Scripts

When a canvass is organized by a specific campaign, often canvassers are supplied with a “script,” or suggested sequence of questions and comments. In some cases, there may be specific questions the campaign would like you to ask. Just follow the instructions you are  given. Generally, it is more effective to use the script as a guide (for your own words) rather  than reading directly from the page.
Sample Precinct Map: Pct. 33 Gladstone Glen Echo (pg. 21)

Sample Walk List (pg. 22)
Phone Banks
     A phone bank is an organized series of telephone calls asking questions or delivering a message to targeted voters. Candidates or campaigns organized around ballot issues will generally provide canvassers with access to phones and a script to guide the conversation. The technology of phone banking is rapidly evolving and may involve using your personal phone,  traditional telephones installed in a phone banking area, or mobile phones handed out by a campaign (usually at a specified phone banking space and scheduled time). In addition, phone banking may be done from computers by dialing a specific number and then following the directions on the screen.  
     Phone banking is quicker but less effective than knocking on doors. It is especially important in get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts when supporters (identified through canvassing) who have not yet voted are called on a daily basis until they have turned in their ballots. GOTV efforts are extremely important in getting a full turnout of a candidate’s supporters. An effective GOTV campaign may well be the difference between victory and defeat.

PCPs and the Voting Process (pg. 23)

Voter Registration

Voter registration is accomplished as part of the process of getting a driver’s license unless the citizen opts out. However, PCPs may encounter voters who have problems with their registration related to changes in name, residence, party registration, age, lost ballots, etc. Most voting issues can be handled online by the voter. Issues such as a change in signature must be handled in person at the county elections office. It is always useful to have the phone number and address of the Clackamas County Elections Office available when talking to voters:

Clackamas County Elections
1710 Red Soils Court, Suite 100
Oregon City, OR 97045
Phone: 503-655-8510

Vote by mail

All Oregonians receive their ballots by mail and may return them by mail, by dropping them off at a designated collection site, or by dropping them off at the Elections Desk of the County Clerk’s Office. Voters with problems such as not receiving a ballot can either call the Elections Office or visit the office in person. 

Some potential voters have lost touch with the voting process, possibly because their signature is no longer valid or because they have dropped off the voter roll after not voting for several elections. PCPs can play an important role in making sure all voters have the opportunity to vote by helping people who need assistance in overcoming obstacles to voting.
A person may establish an unofficial ballot collection site in order to offer to return ballots for other voters by prominently displaying a sign in at least 50-point bold type that states “NOT AN OFFICIAL BALLOT DROP SITE.” (ORS 260.695(14). Ballots collected from another person must be delivered to an official ballot drop site or mailed “not later than 2 days after receiving the ballot, or so that it is received by Election Day, whichever is sooner.” (ORS 254.470) In or near an official elections facility, no one but official elections personnel may assist voters, ask how a person intends to vote, or attempt to examine a ballot. (ORS 260.695(6) Signing another person’s ballot--even a spouse--is a Class C felony. (ORS 260.715(1) See for further information on elections law.

It is important to remind voters that ballots must be received at the Elections Office or at an official drop site by the stated deadline. Thus, ballots submitted within a few days of election day should be put directly in a ballot box rather than in the mail. Voters may call 1-866-ORE-VOTES to check whether a ballot was received. (update: Oregon "MyVote" allows lookups in multiple languages - this is the english link which offers menus to other languages: )

Anyone registered to vote in Oregon may request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are available by written request 45 days before an election and contain specific information about ballot submission deadlines and requirements.

See additional information on p. 29.

Targeting Voters—Vote Builder (pg. 24)

Targeting voters is the process of selecting the voters to be contacted during a canvass, phone bank, or other activity.

Key targets for persuasion include undecided voters who always vote and supporters who cannot be counted on to cast their ballots. Targeting identifies voters who are likely to support Democratic candidates. Some voters are obvious supporters and regular voters. Others are clearly hostile to Democratic candidates. Still others vote occasionally or rarely. Through phone banks or door-to-door canvassing, PCPs can help identify those voters likely to support Democratic candidates and make sure they vote. 


VoteBuilder (VAN) is a database maintained by the DPO that contains registered voters’ names, addresses, phone numbers (in many cases), political party affiliation, frequency of voting, and information gathered through reports of canvassers. PCPs can gain access to information from VoteBuilder through their HDLs and can use it to identify the political characteristics of their neighborhood. House District Leaders can provide walk lists for PCPs and Neighborhood Leaders as appropriate. PCPs use VoteBuilder to organize their canvassing and, through information collected during canvassing, can provide House District Leaders and campaigns with contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers that increase the value of VoteBuilder as an information source.
Other PCP Activities (pg. 25)
Reaching Out Through the Media

It has never been easier or more important for individuals to participate in public discussion of the issues of the day. We encourage Democrats to communicate their opinions to the media through letters to the editor, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, online comments or polls, etc.--whatever venues are most appropriate to their interests. In addition, daily reading of online news sources and sharing important articles with one’s mailing list or Facebook followers offers yet another way of influencing the flow of information.
The “stories” of individuals have the capacity to put a human face on issues, connecting them with peoples’ lives. Participating in the public dialogue begins with being an informed and thoughtful reader and listener. Writing for the sites and publications that interest you is an extension of your door-to-door canvassing that can reach far beyond the borders of your precinct.  
Writing public commentary—some suggestions

As a member of the community, you have a natural credibility with your audience. Remember that your arguments and tactics–the reasonableness and courtesy of your conduct as a discussant–reflect on the positions you support.

Here are some suggestions for effective persuasive writing:
•    Ask yourself why you are writing the letter or comment. Why is this issue so important? How does the issue impact your community? Why should your reader and other people in the community care about it?
•    Personalize the issue to make it real. How will the actions being proposed affect real lives? Tell a story.
•    Be concise and make a single clear point. Expect that it will take several drafts with thoughtful editing to write something that communicates effectively.
•    Avoid ranting and personal attacks. Think of your reader. Why is this issue important to your audience? Appeal to shared interests and values.
•    Have your facts straight. Make sure you can back up any examples you use, because if credibility is questioned, the message is lost.
•    Most sites and publications put limits on the length of contributions. Stay within the guidelines of the specific publication or site to which you will submit your comments.
•    Give positive alternatives when calling attention to problems or criticizing Republican policies.
•    Show a clear contrast whenever possible between the Republican and the Democratic policies and highlight a Democratic solution.
•    Use common, everyday language that is neither academic nor bureaucratic. “Budget cuts” in Medicare programs, not “reductions in future growth.”
•    Get feedback before you send. Frank criticism from someone whose opinion you respect will only help you be a more effective writer.

Dealing with the media

While we encourage Democrats to communicate their opinions to the media, only Democratic Party officers are authorized to speak for the Democratic Party. In your interactions with the media on an issue, candidate, or situation, you may identify yourself as a Democrat, a Democratic PCP, or a citizen, but you must not represent yourself as speaking for the Party unless specifically authorized to do so by the appropriate authority such as the county chair..

Some tips for dealing effectively with the media:
•    Often “fellow citizen” is the most effective identifier you can use—especially in a political climate in which one of the top three political groups is “NonAffiliated.”
•    Assume that anything you say can be used by a reporter unless you specifically ask to speak “off the record.”
•    Remember that many reporters have their own agenda. You can control your message by being brief and focused. Avoid a rambling discussion with any reporter.
•    Focus on your point and a few reasons why you take that position.

Communicating with Officials (pg. 26)

Finding contact information

A complete list of current Democratic elected officials with a biographical sketch and contact information is available at: Just click on an official’s name.

Additional information on state and federal officials can be found at,,,

The State of Oregon official Web site has quick access to many aspects of state government and many topics of current interest:

Information on legislation and legislative activities is available at

Comprehensive information for contacting elected officials and agencies of the federal government is available at:

Nearly all elected and many appointed officials maintain home pages and have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. If you know the name you want, you can go directly to that person’s home page and click “contact” on the menu.

Tips for communicating with officials
•    Choose your preferred medium of communication. Letters, emails, and phone calls are all processed according to issue and counted by staff.
•    Address one issue per communication. Refer to legislative issues by the title and number of the bill. Be clear about the issue(s) that concern you.
•    Imagine a reader who will process your communication in a few seconds or at most a few minutes. Be brief and to the point.
•    Specify whether or not you are a constituent when contacting an elected official. Elected officials usually respond only to letters from constituents.
•    Remember that personal letters are more persuasive than form letters or petitions. Use personal information where possible. How will the legislation you are discussing impact you or those you know?
•    Be courteous and remember that staying out of the “nut-case” category is essential to making an effective point.
•    Remember that writing too often can make your voice less effective than occasional letters focusing on a few issues—those you care most about and can discuss with relevant arguments.
•    Send copies of letters and other communications you have written to the following address so that the Clackamas County Democratic Party can track contacts with various outlets and officials and follow interest in various issues:

House Parties or Coffees (pg. 27)

Not everyone is able to host a house party or informal coffee. However, candidates deeply appreciate those who can provide hospitality that gives the candidate an opportunity to “meet and greet” potential supporters. Usually the host invites guests and provides food, while the candidate’s staff handles fundraising—and sometimes invitations. Social events without a candidate present can be used to build solidarity among volunteers around an event such as a televised speech.  
Choose your guest list carefully. Guests should generally have a positive attitude toward the purpose of the event. However, such events offer an opportunity to bring together a diverse and interesting group of people who share common political interests. Your guests will enjoy each other and appreciate the chance to meet political figures in person.
Additional Information (pg. 28)
PCPs represent the Democratic Party. Being a valuable resource for voters and for the party requires being knowledgeable about information related to elections and activities. The following pages are provided as reference material related to essential aspects of voting and elections and to various activities you may undertake as a PCP. 

Information is provided on the following topics:
•    Elections and Oregon State Government
•    Guidelines for Grassroots Fundraising
•    Financial reporting forms
•    State DPO Caucuses and CCDP Committees
•    Media Outlets
•    Application for Precinct Committee Person
•    Glossary

Elections and Oregon State Government (pg. 29)

Elections are complex processes with detailed rules establishing the timing of filing as a candidate, registering to vote, mailing ballots, and so forth. Because votes in Oregon are cast by mail or drop-off at ballot collection sites, Oregon has no “voting day” as such with lines of people waiting to vote, but rather a deadline for returning ballots. Ballots must be put in an official drop box or taken to the elections desk at the County Clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on the official election day. In fall, 2016, election day (the day ballots are due) is November 8, with voter registration open until October 18 and ballots mailed October 21.

Special elections have their own schedules, published online by the Secretary of State.
PCPs and voters can find an election calendar posted on both the Secretary of State’s election homepage and on the Elections Division page of the Clackamas County Clerk

The Secretary of State’s Elections Division site contains:
•    Voter registration information and online forms
•    Publications and forms
•    Link to ORESTAR—information related to elections in Oregon
•    Election dates for upcoming elections
•    Filing dates
•    Information for candidates
•    Information on election procedures
•    Information on past elections, registration data, etc.
•    Oregon Blue Book  (information on many aspects of Oregon government)
•    Maps: House, Senate, Congressional Districts  
Clackamas County Elections homepage: contains:
•    Voter Registration information and online forms
•    Voter’s pamphlet
•    Election calendar
•    Ballot drop sites
•    Absentee ballot information and request form
•    List of elected officials
•    Election results
•    Filing forms and other forms for candidates
•    District and precinct maps
•    Political sign jurisdictions

Call 503-655-8510 to find out whether you are properly registered to vote.  (Or look your status up here:

Assistance for Voters
Voters may receive assistance to register, vote, or return their ballots. They may call the county elections office or 1-866-ORE VOTE to receive assistance or may request assistance from a caretaker or person of their choice. Neither employers nor union officials may assist voters, according to Oregon law.
Grassroots Fundraising: Legal Guidelines (pg. 30)

Generally, fundraising is carried out by campaigns and much is done online. However, some PCPs may wish to participate in grassroots fundraising or may be asked questions about rules related to political contributions.
The Federal Election Commission maintains a Web site with updated information for voters at
Limits on individual contributions in federal races (rev. Feb. 2011):
•    $2,500 for each election for each candidate. (Primaries, runoffs, and general elections are separate elections.)
•    $5,000 to any one PAC per calendar year
•    $10,000 to a State or local party committee per calendar year
•    $30,800 to a national party committee per calendar year
•    $117,000 total in any two-year period, $46,200 to candidates and $70,800 to PACs
•    No more than $100 can be given in cash to any political committee, no more than $50 anonymously
Actions prohibited by federal election law:
•    Contributions by foreign nationals
•    Contributions by federal government contractors
•    Contributions in the name of another
•    Contributions beyond legal limits
Many questions about federal election law are answered at the following Federal Election Commission site:
Financial Reporting Forms (pg 31)

Clackamas County Democratic Central Committee

Address (street, city, state, zip):
Date of purchase:
Vendor or payee name:
Description and purpose of purchase—be explicit:   
Are receipts showing amount and description of items purchase attached?    
Amount of purchase:
I certify that the information provided above is true and accurate __________________________  
        Total : $ __________
reimbursement requested:     $ _________

Treasurer only:
Date submitted:____________ Total approved: $__________  Okay to pay (initials, date): _______
Clackamas County Democratic Central Committee IN-KIND CONTRIBUTION FORM

Note: the In-Kind form in this document was out of date. The electronic form linked above or this PDF are updated for use in 2020:

State DPO Caucuses (open to all Oregon Democrats) (pg. 32)
•    AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander)
•    Black
•    Disability Justice
•    Education
•    Elections Integrity
•    Environmental
•    Gun Owners
•    Healthcare
•    Labor
•    Latino
•    Native American
•    Rural
•    Small Business
•    Stonewall (LGBTQ)
•    Veterans
•    Women’s
•    Young Democrats of Oregon
For further information:
DPCC Committees (open to Clackamas Democrats & PCPs)
    Events and Facilities Committee     Program Committee
    Campaign Committee     Rules Committee
    Communications Committee     Justice Committee
    Finance-Fundraising Committee     Youth Action Committee
Neighborhood Leader Program Committee     Labor Committee Platform and Resolutions Committee    

(website list w. contacts is here: )
Media Outlets (pg. 33)
A current list of local Clackamas County newspapers can be found at:

The following online information and discussion sites (and many others) carry blogs, commentary, and have lively discussions of issues of interest to many Democrats:
  • Huffington Post:
  • Daily Kos:
  • Bernie Sanders movement:,
  • Politico:
  • People for the American Way:
  •          Progressive Change Campaign Committee:
  • Real Clear Politics:
  • Blue Oregon:
  • Slate:
  • Alternet:
  • MoveOn.Org:
  • Five Thirty Eight: http://
  • Nation of Change: http:// Online access to television stations in Portland can be found at:
  • KPOJ online:
  • KATU TV:
  • KGW TV:
  • KOIN TV:
  • KOPB:
  • KPTV (FOX):
In addition to the above sites, nearly all online news sources allow registered users to comment on articles and issues of the day. Many individual news people maintain pages on Facebook and Twitter that welcome comments. Adding your perspective to the responses to the news that you read or watch can help shape the direction of public opinion, especially if your response is timely and relevant.     

Glossary (pg. 34)
  • CCDCC     Clackamas County Democratic Central Committee, consisting of all PCPs, is the governing body of the county party
  • Cutting turf     Dividing an area into “walk lists” to be assigned to canvassers
  • DNC     Democratic National Committee
  • DPO     Democratic Party of Oregon
  • GOTV     Get out the vote—a phone campaign aimed at voters who have received ballots but have not yet voted
  • Grassroots     individual voters and local organizations that are the foundation of the political process at the precinct level
  • House District Leader     An elected official providing leadership and support for PCPs in carrying out Democratic Party goals in an Oregon House District.
  • HDLs are members of the County Executive Committee.  
  • Neighborhood Leader (NL)    A volunteer who agrees to take responsibility for contacting a list of Democrats, encouraging them to vote and reporting result. NLP the 'Neighborhood Leader Program' and, in some cases, used as slang for the Neighborhood Leader Database hosed at
  • Precinct     The basic electoral district
  • PCPs     Precinct Committee Persons  
  • Primary election     An election to narrow down a pool of candidates to the finalists who will compete in a second election  
  • Script     A written text provided to canvassers to guide them in discussing candidates or issues with voters
  • Targeting voters     Identifying voters for special attention such as calling or visiting
  • VoteBuilder (VAN)     A computer Web site containing a database of registered voters containing party affiliation, addresses, phone numbers (often), frequency of voting information, and data obtained through canvassing
  • Walk list  (aka Turf)   A list of registered voters organized by street address and used by canvassers. Usually a walk list and map are provided to canvassers.