CA-25 ALERT: How To Register Hordes of Voters at the Antelope Valley Superior Courthouse
by Jason Berlin, Coordinator, Eastside Swing Left
COURTHOUSE ADDRESS: 42011 4th St W, Lancaster, CA 93534
BEST TIME: Monday, 9AM-12:30PM, 1:30-3:30PM
If you’re looking for an incredible place to register voters in the crucial swing district of CA-25, visit the Michael D. Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse… where we’ve registered as many as 27 voters in four hours. We’ve had great results doing 2 shifts there in a day – 10:30-12:30 and 1:30-3:30, with an hour for lunch in the middle. But the morning is by FAR the more fruitful time, and if you’re ambitious, you can start as early as 9. We are not allowed to register people inside the courthouse, but we are allowed in to use the cafeteria or bathrooms. And the courthouse police have been nothing but nice to us since the very first day we were there. (Please be extra polite to them so we keep it that way.)
4-5 volunteers seem to be the ideal number to bring. There are so many people going in and out of the courthouse that it really does take 4-5 volunteers to be able to approach everybody. And if you wind up not needing that many, you can always drop off 2 of those volunteers to register people just outside the DMV down the road.
Remember to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. In the morning, the front of the court gets full sun. If it’s summer, check the weather forecast the night before to make sure the temperatures will not be over 100. At that temperature, not only will it burn you out (literally) – nobody will want to stop to talk to you.
IMPORTANT: if you have one, wear a liberal-looking t-shirt. Examples: any shirt with Obama or a peace sign, or Trump’s face with a red line through it… This magically wards off non-Democrats. It really works! And then you can talk to every single person who walks by, and let your t-shirt sort ‘em out.
Always, be positive and friendly, and be as gently bold as you can be without feeling uncomfortable. Some good openers: “Excuse me sir, can I register you to vote?” Or “Hello Miss, can I register you to vote by mail today? It only takes 2 minutes.” You can also just compliment their sneakers as they approach, and then pop the question. But NEVER call anyone ma’am. And never ask “Are you registered to vote?” It’s way too easy for them to say YUP and keep walking. Walk backwards with people to buy a few more seconds to talk to them. But if they pass you, never yell at their back. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
As far as voter reg forms – before you go, contact the DHCD (Democratic Club of the High Desert) to find out where to pick up their forms in the morning, and where to return them at the end of the day. That’s important because the club gets a small ($3-4) bounty for each form, and eventually those registrations will help draw more attention (and $$$) to the district from the national Democratic Party.
For more details on the nuts and bolts of high traffic-area voter registration, I’m attaching the script I wrote for a voter registration training video. And/or watch the video, which stars Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian, and should be out within days on YouTube, Swing SoCal Left, Swing Left CA-25, and Eastside Swing Left.
Have a great time out there! It’s fun to talk to people, and it’s profoundly satisfying to know you’re on the front lines. This is how we take back the House in 2018: one voter at a time. Keep going!