Thursday, September 22, 2011

Precinct Committeeman Deadline: Thursday, December 3rd

This article was first published on November 25, 2009 on, which is now closed. It is republished here, without edits, exactly as it was published then from my own personal archive.

The article was written after the official filing deadline, but prior to the write-in filing deadline. Write-in candidates are required to register in Illinois or votes for them will not be counted.

To update the article. Petition gathering for the 2012 Illinois Primary election begins on September 6, 2011 and ends on November 28, 2011. The filing period begins on November 28, 2011 and ends on December 5, 2011. You have plenty of time and you should also contact your county party to determine if you can be appointed as an interim precinct committeeman.

The State of Illinois requires that all write-in candidates, for whatever office, must file a Declaration of Intent To Be a Write-In Candidate. Write-in votes for candidates who have not filed this declaration are not counted.

There is still time to file as a write-in candidate. The deadline is close of business on December 3rd, which is a Thursday.

You can file the declaration either in-person or via mail. If you file in person, the county clerk will notarize the declaration. If you file via mail, you must obtain the notary before mailing it.

Here are the steps for a write-in:

0. You must be a voter registered for the party for which you wish to run for Precinct Committeeman.

1. Call you county clerk's office during business hours.

1A. Find the Declaration of Intent To Be a Write-In Candidate on the county clerk's web site. Not every county has a web site and even counties that have a web site may not have the information posted.

Resource: Election Boards

2. Determine your Township and Precinct. This is on your voter card. If you are unsure, call the county clerk.

3. Call the county clerk and ask if there are any other candidates for Precinct Committeeman for your party and precinct. If yes, ask for the name, address, and phone number for each of the other candidates. (Some counties have all or part of this information posted on their web sites.)

4. If there already are one or more candidates, call each one and ask how long they have served and how active they are. You may also want to ask each candidate questions about their view of their duty as a precinct committeeman for the party. For Illinois Republicans, one good question to ask is what is their position on the Republican Party's rule that prevents the direct election of State Central Committee representatives. At this point, determine whether you want to challenge the incumbent or candidate. If you cannot reach the candidate, proceed to step 5 anyway, because the deadline is approaching.

5. Go to the county clerk's office and complete the Declaration of Intent To Be a Write-In Candidate. The county clerk will notarize it for you.

5A. Print the Declaration of Intent To Be a Write-In Candidate, complete it, except for your signature, bring it to a notary public (most business service stores have a notary on staff), have it notarized, and then mail it. Mail must be received by close of business on December 3rd, so if there is any doubt that it will arrive on time, do step 5 instead.

6. If you completed the above steps, you should be certified as a write-in candidate. To make certain of that, call the county clerk on December 8 to confirm that you have been certified.

7. If you are certified, then you still have another task. Illinois requires that a write-in candidate, even unopposed, must have at least ten (10) votes to be elected. So, your job between now and election day is to get at least 30 people to commit to write-in your name on the ballot. There are specific instructions that need to be followed for a write-in vote to be effective.

(a) Like any campaign, you should prepare a flyer that tells the potential voter about yourself and why they should vote for you. You should also include on that flyer instructions for how to write in your name on the ballot.

(b) Only voters of the same party can vote for you in the primary. You can obtain a list of voters in your precinct from the State Board of Elections for $25. We recommend you do this so as not to waste time and resources campaigning to people who can't vote for you.

Resource: Voter Information

8. For any voter that commits to write in your name, determine how they are likely to vote -- absentee, early voting, or on election day. Then ask for an e-mail address and phone number so that you can contact them to remind them prior to voting.