Glossary of Political Terms

GLOSSARY OF POLITICAL TERMINOLOGY

1. CAMPAIGN MANAGER – A person chosen by a candidate for a public or political party office to direct the campaign according to a plan approved by the candidate.

2. CAUCUS – A caucus is a meeting of the members of a political party. Caucuses are most often held during the Precinct, Senate District, State or National Party Conventions.

3. COUNTY CHAIRMAN – The County Chairman is the presiding officer of the county political party and is elected every two years by the voters in the Primary election.

4. COUNTY ELECTION BOARD – The Board supervises any election held at county expense, such as the General election for State and County offices, any Special election for an officer regularly elected at the General election or any election ordered by a county authority. The Board consists of the County Clerk as Chair, County Judge, County Elections Administrator, Sheriff and the County Chair of each political party required to nominate candidates by Primary election.

5. COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION – The Commission appoints the County Elections Administrator. It consists of the County Judge, as Chair; the County Clerk as Vice-Chair; the County Tax Assessor-Collector as Secretary and the County Chair of each political party required to nominate candidates by Primary election.

6. COUNTY ELECTION OFFICIAL – The County Elections Administrator is designated as the Election Official in Montgomery County. The Election Administrator oversees voter registration and conducts the General election, Early voting for the party Primary elections and any county election, such as a bond election. The Administrator’s telephone number is 936-539-7843, 936-442-7700 metro, 281-689-3133, 281-354-5511 or 281-353-9791. The web site address is www.co.montgomery.tx.us/election.

7. COUNTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – The County Executive Committee is the governing body of the county political party. It is established according to the Texas Election Code and is composed of all the Precinct Chairmen and the County Chairman. Only members of the Executive Committee may vote on official business.

8. COUNTY / SENATORIAL DISTRICT CONVENTION – This political Convention consists of Delegates and Alternate Delegates elected at the Precinct Conventions. The Convention chooses Delegates and Alternate Delegates to attend the State Convention and adopts resolutions for consideration at the State Convention. Senatorial District Conventions are held when a county is divided into two or more Senate Districts, as is Montgomery County.

9. ELECTION CODE – The Code is state law governing elections and operation of political parties. A copy is available at the County Headquarters or may be viewed by accessing http://www.capitol.state.tx.us. Go to “Texas Statutes”.

10. ELECTION JUDGE, GENERAL ELECTION – On the recommendation of the political party County Chairman, a registered voter of each precinct carried by the party’s candidate for Governor in the last General election is appointed by the County Commissioners’ Court to serve as Election Judge for a one or two year term. The Judge conducts the election, selects the election workers and maintains the sanctity of the ballot. While conducting the election, the Judge is accorded the powers of a State District Judge.

11. ELECTION JUDGE, PRIMARY ELECTION – The County Chairman, with the approval of the County Executive Committee, appoints the Primary Election Judge for each voting precinct. The Primary Election Judge has all the powers and duties of the General Election Judge.

12. ENDORSEMENT – An endorsement is a demonstration of support for a candidate or issue by a constituent, well-known person or group.

13. GENERAL ELECTION – General elections are held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in even-numbered years for county, state and federal offices. Nominees for these offices are chosen the previous spring in the party Primary elections.

14. GOP – This is an abbreviation for “Grand Old Party”, a common nickname for the Republican Party.

15. GOTV – This is an abbreviation for “Get Out The Vote”, a major program of the Montgomery County Republican Party.

16. HEADQUARTERS – Headquarters is the office space where a county political party or candidate conducts business.

17. NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN / COMMITTEEWOMAN (REPUBLICAN) – One man and one woman are chosen by each State and Territory at their respective conventions to serve a four-year term on the Republican National Committee (RNC). The Committee selects the national party chairman.

18. NOMINEE – A nominee is a candidate elected by members of a political party in the Primary election to be their party’s candidate in the General election.

19. PLATFORM – A platform is a formal declaration of political party principles and issues adopted at both the State and National Party Conventions.

20. PRECINCT – The voting precinct is the smallest political subdivision within a county. A secondary use of the word “precinct” refers to the divisions of a county from which the County Commissioners, Justices of the Peace and Constables are elected.

21. PRECINCT CHAIRMAN – The Precinct Chairman, who is elected by the party Primary voters in the voting precinct and becomes a member of the County Executive Committee, is responsible for the precinct organization, communication between the precinct and county party organization and conduction of the precinct Primary and General elections. Precinct Chair vacancies that may occur between primary elections are filled by the County Executive Committee, according to the Texas Election Code.

22. PRIMARY ELECTION – Primary elections in Texas are organized and conducted every two years by the political parties and are financed by candidate filing fees and the State of Texas. Primary elections determine each party’s nominees for county, district, state and national offices that will appear on the General election ballot. Party Chairs for each voting precinct are also elected in the Primary election. A majority vote is required to win a Primary election. If no candidate obtains a majority, a Runoff election is held between the two candidates receiving the most Primary election votes.

23. PRIMARY ELECTION ADMINISTRATOR – This is a person hired by the County Chairman to assist in handling the many tasks necessary to conduct party Primary and Runoff elections. The Primary election Administrator should not be confused with the position of County Elections Administrator, who works for the County.

24. REPUBLICAN – Texas has no voter registration by party preference. People affiliate with the Republican Party by voting in the Republican Primary or by taking an oath prescribed by the Texas Election Code.

25. REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE – The Committee (RNC) oversees Republican Party business at the national level and assists candidates at the national level. In presidential election years, the RNC conducts the national party convention. See National Committeeman / Committeewoman (Republican).

26. RUNOFF ELECTION – Runoff elections are required in Texas when no Primary election candidate receives a majority of the Primary election vote. General elections are not subject to this requirement.

27. SECRETARY OF STATE – The Secretary of State (SOS) is in charge of the state government department that oversees elections and provides funding for the Primary and Runoff elections. The SOS web site provides important information such as past election results, candidate filing and petition forms and election night vote returns. The web site address is http://www.sos.state.tx.us and the telephone number is 512-463-5770.

28. STATE PARTY CHAIRMAN – The State Chairman of a political party presides over meetings of the State Party Executive Committee and acts as the chief spokesman for the party. The State Chairman and a Vice-Chairman are elected at the State Convention for two-year terms. In the event of a vacancy, the successor is chosen by the State Party Executive Committee to serve the uncompleted term.

29. STATE REPUBLICAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – The State Executive Committee (SREC) is the policy-making body of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). It consists of one man and one woman from each of the thirty-one State Senate Districts, who are elected at the State Convention. The SREC meets quarterly in public session. The RPT web site is http://www.texasgop.org and the telephone number is 512-477-9821.

30. TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION (TEC) – The TEC is the state government agency that oversees and enforces financial reporting requirements for state and district candidates and officeholders. The web site is http://www.ethics.state.tx.us and the telephone number is 512-463-5800.

31. VOLUNTEER DEPUTY VOTER REGISTRAR – This is a person who is officially authorized by the County Elections Administrator to distribute voter registration applications and to receive and deliver completed applications to the Elections Administrator.