From: Sue Chapple
I feel compelled to write this after reading the Opinion Page in The Republic addressing the “secret society of precinct committeemen.”
The citizens of Columbus deserve clarification of the facts.
Any citizen can put themselves on the ballot in their own precincts for the position of precinct committeeman.
When no one in the precinct avails themselves of this opportunity, the position is appointed by the party chairperson. The appointed person can be outside the precinct in question.
My mother served as a Republican precinct committeewoman. She put in many hours working to register people to vote and also encouraging people to vote. When she decided she was unable to fulfill that commitment, she encouraged another Republican in her precinct to replace her.
Doing the job of precinct committeeperson requires time. Many people do not have the time to spare for this duty. This is why many of the people serving were not elected and do not live in their precinct.
The concern seems to be that the names, addresses and phone numbers of the precinct committeemen were not available to the public. The reality is, each confirmed candidate was provided this information and had the ability to reach out to each of the precinct committeemen. The candidates had ample opportunity to share their qualifications and to state what interest they had in fulfilling that specific position.
While it is true that the list has not been easily available to the broader public, this had not been an issue until just recently. Under the leadership of Barb Hackman, I think that this improvement will take place.
I would encourage anyone who wants to get involved to put themselves on the ballot. Hopefully, there will be more interest in doing this important but time-consuming work in the future than there has been in the past.