What is a committee person?

I would like to clarify many misconceptions of what a committee person's duties are and how valuable they truly are.

First, it is a 365-day-a-year, 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week responsibility.

They are the eyes and ears in their community.

They are the grassroots boots on the ground of the political parties.

They are your neighbors whom you see every day at the supermarkets, churches, schools, and community events. Most important, they are the people you see not only on Election Day, but before and after that, every day, serving you in your community.

Just imagine if you go to vote and the polling place is closed. There is no one there to help you. No one to sign you in to vote. No one to set up the machines for you. There are no tables and chairs. No election binders to verify you voted. No one to set and reset the machine after each vote.

Who do you think does all that?

Who do you think finds a convenient location for the polling places?

Who do you think gets there at 6 a.m. to open and set everything in place on Election Day morning, and who closes up at 8:30 or 9 that night?

Who do you think recruits the judge of elections, the majority inspector, the minority inspector, the clerks, the machine inspector?

Who sets up the tables, the chairs, and makes sure the binders and materials are at the right polling place?

Who stays until all the machines are locked down, and waits for the police to pick up the flash returns, and then takes the binders back to the city commissioners that night?

Who works that 18-hour day?

The committee person.

What do you think would happen if they decided to not prepare all that work and not show up on Election Day?

They don't have to do all that work.

You can't fire them. They are volunteers.

You can't cut their pay. They work free.

What can you do? Why not just thank them?

There are 1,686 polling places in the city of Philadelphia. The city commissioners do a great job assisting our committee people, but they could never staff all the polling places by themselves.

I hope this clarifies just some of the duties that our committee people do, and how valuable they are.

I thank them every day for the great dedication they demonstrate for the community and their city. It's their civic pride.

I am extremely proud of all our men and women who dedicate their time and effort to make their community and our city great.

They are the backbone of our democratic process.

They are our committee people.

Thank you for the unsung duties you provide.

Bob Brady is chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party and has represented Pennsylvania's First Congressional District since 1998. @BradyforPhilly