Jason Berlin and Field Team 6

March 4, 2020

When Jason Berlin starts talking, it’s pretty clear he’s going to make you laugh. What you don’t expect is that it will be about things that usually make you cry -- like the 2016 election, Republicans or the fact that the world actually does need saving. That’s because Jason used to write comedy and reality show tv and now uses those skills at Field Team 6 to register Democrats to vote. So if you think activism means angry people in Birkenstocks, take a look at this video and let Jason and his infectious good humor prove you wrong.

What is Field Team 6, and how is it going to save the world?

Field Team 6 registers Democrats to vote in targeted areas where they are needed most to help grow the House majority, flip the Senate and take back the White House in 2020.

Why is registering Democrats so important?

In a presidential cycle, voter turnout is not the problem. Eighty-five percent of voters show up to vote, so while canvassing (aka knocking on doors) is helpful, it is not the whole solution. The solution is to register Democrats, as many as possible, in targeted battleground states. And with Republicans enacting onerous voter id laws and purging voter lists, registering Democrats is more crucial than ever.

How does it work?

Local political groups (Swing Left, Indivisible, local campaigns, etc) provide boots on the ground and then Field Team 6 gives them all that they need for a successful voter registration drive, including everything from state-specific video training to clipboards.

What states do they work in?

Field Team 6 focuses on the “triple word score states,” in other words, states where there are flippable Senate seats in addition to important House races and of course the presidential election. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina. They are also working on four other states that will be taking the White House. Those states are Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida.

Where do they go to register voters?

Typically, the best places to go are community colleges. Seventy-five percent of the new voters registered by Field Team 6 are women, young people and people of color.

Is Jason a political insider?

Not at all. Jason loved his job of 18 years as a tv reality and comedy writer but after Trump’s election in 2016, he felt he had to do something radically different to save democracy. So he quit his job and started volunteering. He worked with the California Democratic Party, helping to register more than 6,000 voters in the five swing congressional districts of Southern California, and all five of those districts ended up flipping in the 2018 Blue Wave midterms. After the midterms, his job was over with the Democratic party, but he didn’t want to put all his newfound expertise to waste, so he and his co-organizer founded Field Team 6 in March 2019 and went national with their voter registration project.

What about money?

Field Team 6 started with no seed money whatsoever, but they have now managed to raise enough to make it to November 2020 on a fully volunteer basis. That translates to around 40,000 to 50,000 new voters. If, however, they achieve their goal of raising $1.2 million, they project that they will be able to register 100,000 voters. And that is enough to change election outcomes in multiple states.

How big is Field Team 6?

They now have 119 people on their team, all on a volunteer basis. There are departments dedicated to coding, legal, voter data intake, social media, outreach, the newsletter and accounting as well as volunteer leaders who serve as field directors in the states. Like Beryl Hartman, the Maine field director, who at the age of 81 has led over 40 drives.

What makes Field Team 6 different from other voter registration groups?

Field Team 6 can advocate for Democratic candidates during their registration drives because, as a 527 organization, they are not required to be non-partisan. That means that whether they register someone or not, they will let the person know the date of the election and the name of the Democrat running. Jason calls this, “letting the canvass come to you,” and it’s wildly effective. In a normal canvass, you might have five good conversations. But when registering voters, you can get that information to at least 20 people.

How to help?

If you live in or near a battleground state, sign up for or lead your own voter drive. So, for example, if you live in New York City, take a day trip to Philadelphia. If you can’t do that, you can donate any amount. Every $5 gets a new battleground state Democrat registered. Or donate your talents. If you’re a graphic designer, good on social media, a writer, a lawyer or have anything else you’re good at, email Jason at info@fieldteam6.org.

If you enjoyed this profile, you might like these.