Capitol Alert

Want a trip to Cuba? Register 10 voters for LA House race

A woman walks past a mural in Old Havana, Cuba on the morning of August 16, 2015.
A woman walks past a mural in Old Havana, Cuba on the morning of August 16, 2015. The Washington Post

A trip to Havana could be just 10 registrations away – the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project has cooked up a contest to boost participation in voting-averse Los Angeles.

The non-partisan Latino voter participation organization is giving away a three-day trip for two to the recently opened up Caribbean destination. Any one who can certify they signed up 10 new voters in the 34th Congressional District by March 20 gets an entry in the “Cuba Trip Sweepstakes” drawing. District voters go to the polls in a April 4 special election to choose from 23 candidates to replace Xavier Becerra, now the state Attorney General, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Antonio Gonzalez, SVREP president, said that off-year voting cycles always have low voter turnouts. “We’re just trying to raise turnout,” he said. “Given it’s a primary for a local election, we’d expect maybe 10 percent, so obviously that’s a problem because we believe in high participation. But my gut level tells me that you’re going to see better-than-expected voter turnout: 23 candidates, 23 little engines of turnout.”

Los Angeles’ election turnout has been consistently low in recent years. Turnout was at 11.45 percent in the Los Angeles mayoral election on March 7, when mayor Eric Garcetti was reelected with 81 percent of the vote.

“Participation is always notoriously low for all voter subgroups in off years,” Gonzalez said. “We’re always looking for angles to get people out and voting and a part of the democratic system.”

Robin Opsahl: 916-321-1176, @robinlopsahl