This is part 2 of a 2 part article
See part 1 here
My wife and I had the experience of helping in the formation of a student government organization at the University of Idaho. Almost every group of students on campus was represented in the student government except the married student housing (where we lived) and the graduate student housing. Our group was formed to give these students a united voice to communicate with the student government and with the University. My wife and I were elected as the first co-presidents of this group we called Associated Student Housing (A.S.H). While this organization had no authority to legislate anything for it’s members, it did have the benefit of a combined voice, when bringing concerns before the people who made decisions which affected it’s members. The thing we could do was to pass resolutions, which communicated the concerns and opinions of the members of A.S.H.
I think something similar can be created within a voting precinct. Similar to ASH, these precinct organizations would not really have the authority to do anything more than pass resolutions, and present them to government institutions like a city council or mayor, county government officials, or state governmental bodies. But resolutions, when legitimized by the support of the members of the organizations they represent, are very powerful tools to influence the governmental organizations to which they are presented.
A precinct level government is also not unprecedented. Local precincts do have what is called a “local option election.” This is usually only done to set local standards to prohibit certain behaviors (such as selling or buying alcohol), and in Utah this is only allowed if it doesn’t conflict with state law (which severely controls the sale of alcohol). I would need to consult with a lawyer to be certain, but I don’t think, especially considering the first amendment to the US Constitution, that there can be any legislation prohibiting such a precinct organization from being formed and passing resolutions.
Here is what I intend to do:
I will be blogging about my experiences as I attempt to form a non-partisan political organization in my own precinct. I encourage anybody interested to follow my progress. I will commit to submitting a blog entry at least once a week reporting my progress. If anybody would like to join me in their own precinct. I would love for you to become a contributor to this blog so you can post your own progress. In the unlikely event that you live in my precinct, I would especially love to have your help and support as this stepping way outside my comfort zone.
I will also post a blog page to document the lessons that I’ve learned (and that contributors have learned) in the process in order to help others who want to attempt the same thing.
The first thing I would like to try is to contact the representatives for my precinct from each of the political parties to see if I can gain their support in my efforts. My next blog post will be to report on those attempts.