Internships at FairVote

Founded in 1992, FairVote is recognized as a national leader in electoral reform. We advance five core reforms and others in their spirit:
  • instant runoff voting for executive offices,
  • proportional voting for legislative offices,
  • a constitutional right to vote,
  • a national popular vote for president,
  • and universal voter registration.
Our mission is to increase vitality in our democracy, broaden access to democratic processes and ensure fairer representation of our society’s diversity in elected bodies.

We maintain a comprehensive website with a wide array of public education materials. We provide legal assistance in voting rights cases, and hold workshops in communities and at conferences around the United States. We support state and local reform efforts with research and outreach. We provide analysis and commentary to local, state and national media outlets ranging from your local paper to CNN, NPR, FOX, and The Nation.

Interning at FairVote

Our national office is relatively small - typically four to eight full-time staff members in our Takoma Park, Maryland office - so internships are highly substantive and ideal for those with interests in research, election law, journalism, political communication, web design, the netroots, grassroots activism and non-profit development.

FairVote offers internships to undergraduate students, graduate students, and law students. Numerous recent grads have interned with us.

Applying, Funding and Academic credit

We offer internships at all points during the year. Applications are rolling. Spring and fall internships may be full- or part-time. Summer internships are generally full-time and the most competitive. We can work with interns to meet academic credit requirements and/or obtain external funding.

Please e-mail, fax or mail your application to:

FairVote - The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 610
Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-4133
[email protected]

Complete applications include a (1) current resume, (2) cover letter explaining your interest in the organization and/or programs in which you're interested and (3) relevant writing sample of no more than five pages. NO CALLS PLEASE.

Internship Job Descriptions

Below are a number of internship job descriptions. Note that these are guidelines for internships and that interns may take on responsibilities for more than one internship position. FairVote staff members are assigned to each internship program area, and interns work closely with those staff members. On occasion, there are opportunities for interns to develop their own project areas outside those outlined below.

Please specify in your cover letter the internship position(s) that interest you. All the below internships are based in our national office in Takoma Park, Maryland (Washington, DC).

IRV America
Interns assist the program director in advancement of instant runoff voting for state and local offices, private organizations and college student governments. Interns also assist the program director in (1) preparation for upcoming ballot measures and (2) successful implementation where IRV has passed. IRV is a voting system that corrects the defects in plurality and two-round runoff elections, the two most widely used single-winner systems in America. Internships will focus on elections analysis and media and activist outreach. Interns assume heavy responsibility for outreach to student governments, campus newspapers and national student groups.
Program for Representative Government
This area of our work focuses on proportional voting (PR) systems as solutions to voting rights and redistricting issues. Interns will work within the civil rights and voting rights communities, including chapters of the NAACP, ACLU, MALDEF, LULAC, Asian American and Hispanic organizations and many others. Interns in this area will also do outreach work similar to that of the IRV America program, including elections research and analysis, as well as comparing elections in the United States to systems used in other countries, conducting research on organizations that are using proportional representation and research election issues like plurality winners in cities, states, and other areas.

Right To Vote Initiative & 100% Registration Project
In the spirit of  H.J. Res 28, a proposed constitutional amendment that would add an affirmative right to vote, FairVote is actively working toward the goal of universal voter registration and other reforms to expand participation. An intern with the Right To Vote Initiative will conduct research, attend coalition meetings and build support for local, state and federal reforms that expand suffrage and modernize the voter registration system. The RTV program addresses reforms such as same-day voter registration, provisional ballot standardization, improvement to voting machinery and voter protection issues. The intern will have the opportunity to develop advocacy materials, draft press releases, help organize state-based lobbying groups and build support through outreach. As a benefit, the intern should walk away from this experience with a better understanding of the legislative process and voter registration policy.

Learning Democracy
FairVote's Learning Democracy project is an educational outreach program designed to teach students about their role in the political process. It is a voting curriculum that includes sections about the history of suffrage, the importance of political participation and the mechanics of voting. FairVote is seeking interns and volunteers to teach the program in area high schools. Learning Democracy interns will also help with volunteer outreach, develop new lesson plans, and create web content. An ideal candidate for this position has some teaching/mentoring experience and a background in organizing.

Voting and Democracy Research Center
An intern in this program would work on researching the competitiveness of elections, various aspects of presidential races, and demographics and partisanship in redistricting. See our report on "Monopoly Politics" as an example of some of this kind of work. Internships in this division are based substantially on analyzing election results to identify problems, as well as make projections.

Presidential Elections Reform Program

FairVote’s Presidential Elections Reform Program supports reforms to provide voters with more exposure to candidates, to encourage a more inclusive nomination schedule and, above all, to adhere to the principle of one person, one vote through the National Popular Vote effort. Interns will assist in research, outreach, website drafting, and other tasks relating to presidential elections reform.

Development Internship
Interns in this are work closely with FairVote's Executive Director and Development Director on a range of program management and development work. On development, the position concentrates on fundraising; identifying new sources of funding; new grants; exploring resources at the DC Foundation Center and identifying potential individual donors. Interns working in this area have the opportunity to help develop and assemble project proposals for foundation funding, as well as help tend to our membership base--great skills to develop for anyone interested in non-profit work.

Communications & Press Internship
In seeking to spread our message of electoral reform, Communications interns help forge important connections to influential individuals and groups across the political spectrum. Interns will conduct outreach to both major and minor political parties, "good government" groups, local and state government officials, election administrators, and more. In addition, they will compile press contacts, maintain our database, write press releases, assemble publicity materials, organize press conferences, regularly post on our blog, and assist with mailings to local and major media. Interns may draft op-eds and letters to the editor. This is a position open to creative thought and new ideas for FairVote's overall communications strategy. Interns will learn about all of FairVote's programs in the course of their work.

Technology & E-Organizing Assistant
Interns will assist the Communications Director with technical and creative tasks including website modifications, flash animation development, graphic design, development of multimedia visuals and production of printed publicity materials. Applicants should possess a solid understanding of Photoshop, MS Access, MySQL, and web-development languages and tools. Knowledge of Macromedia Flash and experience with VHS to .mpg conversion a plus. The Website / E-Organizing Assistant will develop critical technical skills in addition to gaining exposure to policy issues, and will learn much about maintaining the communications infrastructure of a nonprofit organization.

Legal Internship
This internship position is for law students with an interest in the Voting Rights Act, redistricting, and other areas of election law. Areas of work include legislative drafting, statutory and state constitutional analysis of obstacles to reform, tracking and analyzing the impact of recent decisions on our work, researching pending voting rights lawsuits, developing our Voting Rights Act, Section 2 amicus brief, and more relating to voting rights and election law.