Tennessee 2015 Precinct and County Conventions
The Tennessee county party committees will reorganize between mid-Januray and mid-February 2015 (Precinct Meetings) and March 2015 (County Conventions). These are the preludes to the State Convention later in 2015.
Tennesseeans will elect precinct committee officers and county committeemen in more than 2,200 precincts across the state at the Tennessee Precinct Meetings between mid-January and mid-February 2015.
Well, that's not totally true, because as many as half of those precinct committee positions will remain vacant for lack of interest or lack of awareness. At the Precinct Meetings, you'll also be electing delegates and alternates to the county conventions.
Do you like the way your party is run in your county? In Tennessee? Well, you can change that. Do you want to influence the direction of the party? You can do that, too. But you've got to get up off the couch and get yourself to the meeting (with as many like-minded neighbors and supporters as you can wrangle).
This is another opportunity to achieve a center of power. It won't come around again for another two years. The people who are elected at these meetings will be the people who are running the party during the 2016 presidential election year. These are the people who will have a big influence on who gets the party's nomination.
Most importantly, you must show up (before the doors close) at your local Precinct Meeting or your County Convention.
You must live within the precinct and county boundary.
You must be registered to vote (or 18 years old by the general election date in November).
You must choose your party affiliation for the party you want to represent. If you are known not to be connected to the party, however, you may be challenged by anyone else at the meeting.
I challenge you. Do you have what it takes to actually accomplish something of lasting effect? Or will you use one of your pat excuses? I've heard them all. (See The Power Is There for the Taking.)
To answer questions so that you can get yourself elected at your meeting and convention, Project City Hall will produce a live teleconference on January 12th (see below) to review the process, discuss strategy, and answer your questions.
Who Should Attend
- Anyone who wants to take their country back.
- Anyone who values the rule of law.
- Anyone who values individual freedom and liberty.
- If you're already a precinct committeeman or officer, attend to encourage others and to relate your own experience.
What You'll Learn
- The power of the committeeman and delegate.
- What happens at a meeting.
- Why you need to connect with like-minded individuals before the meeting.
- Why you should bring your posse.
- How to win in a competitive election.
How to Determine Your Meeting Venue
- Contact your county party (County Party Information) and ask for the date, time, and place of the meeting. (Please share it with Project City Hall and we'll post that information below. Precinct / County Meeting Information)
- Remember that more populous counties will meet once at Precinct Meetings and on a different day at a County Convention. Less populous counties will combine the two meetings on a single day in a County Convention. See How the Party Reorganization Process Works in Tennessee for more details.
- Go to the Voter Registration Information Lookup page.
- Enter the required elements in the form on the page.
County: [pick from list]
Last Name: [Smith]
First Name: [John]
Year of Birth: [pick from list]
- Enter the last four digits of your social security number
- Print the page or write down your precinct and the address of your polling place and bring it with you to your meeting.
Precinct and County Convention Rules
Most of the rules for these meetings are dictated by the state party. Project City Hall has put together the relevant Tennessee County Re-Organization Rules for your convenience, but don't be afraid to read the complete Bylaws of the Tennessee Republican Party -- it's educational.
While most counties follow the state bylaws and rules, a few may have their own special rules. For those, you'll need to get your local county party rules. Contact your county party to get its bylaws and rules. (Project City Hall is building a library of State and County bylaws and rules, so if you are able to get or create an electronic copy, please share it.)
Robert's Rules of Order
On the teleconference, I will discuss Robert's Rules of Order. Here is a link to the Motion Chart which will be the reference for the discussion.
I won't be going over the whole motion chart, but you should print it out and bring it with you to any meeting that you attend. The teleconference will take the view of the minority and show you how to get your officers and delegates elected or at least make sure that you don't get run over. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.
Tennessee has a command-and-control party structure. The state party exercises a lot of control over all the organizational meetings. This makes it significantly more difficult to change the way the party is run. So, it will take some work, but it is doable as a long-term strategy.
The twelve most heavily populated counties (Blount, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Montgomery, Rutherford, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, Washington, Williamson, Wilson) will have two meetings - a Precinct Meeting and a County Convention. The 83 less populous counties will have a single County Convention where the precinct elections will happen in the morning and the county elections will happen in the afternoon on the same day.
There may be some counties that are unorganized. This means that they do not have a recognized county party structure. If you are in one of these counties, give us a call to learn how to deal with this situation.
At the Precinct Meetings the attendees elect precinct officers and delegates to the County Convention. The results of these meetings are certified to the county party.
At the less populous County Conventions, the attendees first meet by precinct to elect precinct officers and delegates to the convention. Each precinct meets separately, even though the meetings are held at the same venue.
At the County Conventions the delegates elected at the Precinct Meetings meet to elect county officers and delegates to the Congressional District Conventions and State Convention.
Preparing for the Meeting
When you have a plan, you don't have to guess what to do next. Written plans are always better than winging it. With that in mind, we've put together the Precinct Committee Candidate Checklist to give you a starting point for your plan.
Part of the reason to be prepared is so that you're not surprised. The other part is to make a good impression on the people you meet. Because the reorganization happens in an odd-numbered year, it doesn't get the benefit of high publicity political races. The previous reorganization (two years ago) happened right on the heals of a controversial presidential election year. People have short attention spans. Many will not realize that these meetings set the stage for the 2016 presidential race in Tennessee. If attendance is down, then those that do show up will have a better chance of getting elected.
- Call your county central committee and ask how many officers and delegates your precinct or county can elect.
- Ask for the names of each of the current precinct and county officers along with their contact information (e-mail address and telephone number).
- Ask how many people from your precinct and county attended the previous meeting (two years ago). The minutes of those meetings should have all the information.
- Join other Tennesseeans on the live teleconference call (see above) where you can get your questions answered.
- Prepare printed information about yourself so that you can quickly communicate it with everyone you meet from your precinct and county. (Many copies, depending on expected attendance.)
- Prepare printed information about any party platform ideas that you have. (At least three copies to enable discussion.)
At your meeting, you have an opportunity to present planks for your party platform for adoption at the meeting. If you need help writing a plank, submit your plank idea in the comment area (below). We'll use part of the question and answer period to help you refine your plank to increase the likelihood that the meeting will adopt it.
If you're not currently registered, or your registration does not match your current home address, you still have time to get your registration in order. Contact your County Elections Commission. To check your voter registration, see How to Determine Your Precinct (above).
Winning the Election
Winning a precinct or delegate position is a little challenging, unless no one is running against you. You can do it if you prepare in advance and have a plan. Many people are looking for leaders and will accept almost anyone who simply steps up to lead. Just look at your current set of elected officials for proof of that.
In general, assume a positive attitude and you're very likely to have a say in the process. Only the people who show up get to vote. In the more populous counties' Precinct Meetings, your goal is to get elected as a delegate to the county convention. In all counties, your goal is to also get elected as a precinct officer. If your goal does not include election as a goal, then you should attend to help elect like-minded people.
After the Election
- Get a current copy of your state party central committee bylaws and of your county party central committee bylaws along with the rules of the convention you are elected to.
- Keep in touch, because we'll be producing training teleconferences about all the aspects of being an effective meeting participant.
If you have corrections or additions to this information, please let us know.
The Precinct Meetings may occur at multiple venues around the county on the same day, although not necessarily at the same time. The County Conventions occur at a single venue within the county on the same day everywhere in Tennessee. This is the meeting at which the newly elected members of the county committee first exercise their power.
If you have corrections or additions to this information, please let us know.
If this is your first meeting, it helps to get together with others who may already know the ropes or just to know someone else who will be at the meeting. The party insiders already know the other insiders, so incumbents, as usual, always have an advantage. Here are a list of contacts, by county, who are willing to connect. You may not agree with them on everything, but they are not insiders, so they, like you, are probably in the minority.
All politics is local. You cannot reach your goal alone. You need help. Some of these people are actively recruiting precinct committeemen in your county. If you'd like to recruit or connect with others in your county, add your comment to this article and a way to contact you.
County Rules Analysis
Below you will find an analysis of county organization rules that differ from the norm.