Oregon political terms PCP, NLP, HDLPCP? NLP? HDL? Navigating the Democratic Alphabet Soup

Midterms are almost here, candidates are emerging from the summer heat with their campaign kick-offs, and you’re ready to help your local Democratic Party make the Blue Wave happen.

Where to start, though?

Like any other organization, the Democratic Party has its own jargon for everything. To help you figure out where you may want to contribute your talents and energy, we’ve put together a brief introduction to getting involved!


Our volunteers keep our office running, put on a twice-yearly clean-up of a section of Scholls Ferry Road, and pitch in at various events wherever extra hands are needed.

During the midterm season, our Party will be present at various public events to remind people about the upcoming election. Our booth staff at County Fair were all volunteers, and we are present at the state fair as well! Another way you can help is making phone calls to help candidates get elected. Our party often hosts phone banking events at our office during the election season.

We don’t check your registration if you want to help out. You can be a registered Democrat, a Republican, other third-party… or a non-affiliated voter, and volunteer with us; though most of your fellow volunteers will probably be Democrats.

To become a volunteer, the easiest way is to visit our office or contact us. You can read through our committee descriptions and decide what you’re interested in doing!

Neighborhood Leader Program (NLP)

Local candidates up for (re)election depend on volunteers to get out the vote, but Washington County has a little extra in the form of the Neighborhood Leader Program.

Neighborhood leaders contact 35 of their neighbors who are registered Democrats. During election season, you have the important responsibility of informing them about current candidates and issues. Most importantly, you remind them to vote. The NLP visit is the most influential contact many voters will have during an election. It is an invaluable opportunity to help Democrats win the vote. Call the office or fill out the online NLP interest form to get started.

If you decide that door-knocking or talking to neighbors isn’t for you, remember that your Democrat-leaning friends and colleagues may not know who to vote for. Talk to them about the election and remind them to vote, too!

Precinct Committeeperson (PCP)

Although you can vote in the closed Democratic primary as a registered Democrat, the only way to be able to comment and vote on Party matters at our Central Committee meetings to be a registered Democrat… and become a Precinct Committeeperson.

There are two types of PCPs, elected and appointed. PCPs are only elected in the May election of even-numbered years. Appointed PCPs can do everything except vote in the biannual reorganization meeting, at which we elect new officers (Chair, first and second Vice-Chairs, Secretary, and Treasurer) for the County Party.

You do not have to become a PCP in order to volunteer, and some of our volunteers never become PCPs. However, if you have a sincere interest in having a say in how our local Party is run, follow the instructions on this page to apply to become an appointed PCP.

House District Leader (HDL)

Our Bylaws provide an extensive description of what HDLs do, but at its basic, House District Leaders act as resources and as a local social hub for registered Democrats in their respective districts. HDLs identify registered Democrats to become PCPs. If you decide to become a PCP, an HDL in your district will usually be the first Democrat to contact you.

Strangely enough, House District Leaders don’t need to be PCPs. If you’ve got the energy and enthusiasm to help mentor Democrats in your area, please contact our Chair to start the appointment process.

Volunteering for the Democratic Party, like volunteering anywhere else, means you get to choose your level of commitment and your level of responsibility. You may be comfortable with putting in one to three hours every other week, or you may suddenly discover that your social life now consists entirely of playing and working with fellow Democrats.

We hope you’ll join us in our mission of electing Democrats to office, and we look forward to welcoming you!