I’ve been asked recently what it means to be a Precinct Committeeman, and the difference between what a “Precinct Committeeman” is versus an “Official.” These are good questions, and the answer is as basic as the position itself. A precinct is the smallest political unit in the Country; each precinct responds to one polling place. When you think of a Precinct Committeeman, think of the very bottom Lego at Lego Town structure such as the Empire State Building. It is the basic building block of either party who obtains 10 signatures to be on a ballot, or is appointed by their Township Chairman to fill an open seat in their precinct or a neighboring vacant precinct if theirs is already represented by a committeeman. An Official is defined as people elected or appointed to administer a government per the Free Dictionary. These are your political office holders, who are elected to spend your tax money, make your laws, and govern the Country.
This being said, as the Chairman of the Democratic Organization of Troy Township, I wanted to share a wonderful story of an 82 year old Marine veteran of the Korean War that I met today. I was called by the Will County Clerk’s office today to see if I could help this gentleman with a problem. She told me that this man wanted to be registered to vote, but he had no way to get out and about. Since I was the Chairman of Troy Township, she gave me a call to see if I could help. She asked if I could get a Registrar to his home or help him. I told her I would.
I called him right away and asked if he would like a ride to get registered to vote. He was hesitant at first, as he did not want to be a burden. I told him it would be no problem, as he should be allowed to vote and not be punished for not having the capacity to drive himself there.
I picked him up, and thanks to a barge and downtown traffic, we had a nice conversation. I did not ask him which party he was affiliated with, nor spoke about whom I was voting for. Instead, we spoke of his years of service at the steel mill, his time as a Veteran of the Korean War as a Marine, and his wife of 67 years, children, and grandchildren. This was a proud man, who deserved the right to vote in this and any election he chose. He served our Country, and worked hard all his life, and is enjoying his retirement with his wife.
When we arrived at the County Building, I told him I would go in to show him where to get registered. He brought all his information, and I asked the clerk if she could also add an Absentee Ballot Application so he could vote from home. She did, and as soon as his application is processed as this is the last day to register, he will get a ballot at home! He doesn't have to walk out on November 6th and wait in lines. He said more Seniors need to know this, as it is difficult for them to get to the polls as well. This was very exciting to him, and he was grateful for me taking the time to bring him today. I told him, “No Sir, it was me that am grateful to you for your service to our Country, and to your dedication to continue to make your voice heard.”
Now I can’t make his Social Security work harder for him, nor can I help reduce his taxes as I’m not an “Official.” I did, however, make a difference in his life he said, and as a Precinct Committeeman and Chairman, that made my day!