FairVote's Democracy Fellowship Program
Hands-On Experience Improving our Democracy
FairVote is one of our nation's leading democracy organizations, with a unique focus on bold, cutting-edge electoral reforms. Each year we seek applicants for full-time, salaried Democracy Fellow positions to work for eleven months from September through July of the following year.
For 2012-2013, five fellows were selected, including two legal fellows. Applications for 2013-2014 are due March 15, 2013.
FairVote (www.fairvote.org) grounds its work in upgrading outmoded electoral rules and practices to provide an equally secure, meaningful, and effective vote for all Americans. With strong support from high-profile board members, interns and a national network of volunteers, our hard-working and energetic staff advances our mission of achieving respect for every vote and every voice through such reforms as: majority voting for executive offices through instant runoff voting, universal voter registration of all eligible voters, proportional voting for fair representation of legislatures, a constitutional right to vote and a national popular vote for president. Our office is conveniently located in historic Old Town Takoma Park, two blocks from the Washington, D.C. Takoma Metro Station (red line).
About FairVote's Democracy Fellowship Program
FairVote's Democracy Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for those with an interest in election reform to work on substantive projects while building valuable skills and networking with others in the field. Fellows will be assigned projects to manage from beginning to end, and will also assist with supervision of FairVote interns. They will be exposed to the broad workings of FairVote, ranging from research, communications and advocacy, to building websites, blogging and representing FairVote in coalition meetings and on Capitol Hill.
The positions are paid, with health benefits and a stipend for commuting expenses. Fellows will be given opportunities to build their skills and knowledge base both through on-the-job training, as well as with opportunities to attend workshops and seminars. Graduates of our Democracy Fellowship Program will be well-positioned to pursue employment with democracy organizations and have valuable experience if seeking to enter or continue similar work in graduate school. Past fellows have in nearly every case gone straight into higher education program or a full-time position at FairVote or another public interest organization.
Examples of Past Democracy Fellow Work
Examples of past Democracy Fellow duties include
- Legal: This fellow worked closely with executive director Rob Richie, legal allies, and legal interns on a range of projects relating to the laws of voting rights and voting systems. Projects include collaborating on amicus briefs, drafting legislation, and analyzing polices.
- Advocacy: This fellow worked closely with FairVote Action, FairVote's advocacy partner. Responsibilities include research, communications, outreach and advocacy both through meeting with elected officials and through grassroots electoral reform. Focus can be on the National Popular Vote plan for president, voter pre-registration, proportional voting and instant runoff voting or on our new FairVote Action website.
- Research: This fellow worked closely with executive director Rob Richie, research interns, and electoral reform allies to analyze current electoral structures and propose fair alternatives and disseminate findings and proposals through various media including blog posts, handouts, and editorials. Projects include analyzing election results, creating proportional voting plans, preparing reports, and contributing to blog.
Democracy Fellows serve full-time, for an eleven-month term from September through July with the potential opportunity to join our staff at the completion of the term. Compensation is at a subsistence level for the DC area (currently projected as an annual salary of $25,000 ), along with health and dental benefits, vacation days, commuting reimbursement, moving costs, and weekly office lunches.
FairVote staff are highly committed to transforming American democracy as a nonpartisan value, grounded in respect for every vote and every voice. The office environment is informal, but focused on making a difference. We seek an applicant eager to work in such an environment, and, ideally, with some of the following skills:
- Experience or interest working or volunteering in a nonprofit, political, or policy organization
- Professional or volunteer experience relating to voting or education
- Strong public speaking, writing and/or research skills
- Ability to work well in a team environment, both as employee and supervisor
- Strong listener, with an attention to detail and ability to self-organize
- Ability to adapt quickly to changes in the workplace and ask questions when needed
- Ability to become fluent in new subjects and projects quickly
- Sense of humor and passion for voting reform
FairVote is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage women, people of color, and reformers from all backgrounds to apply.
How to Apply
Resume, cover letter, writing samples (with ideally one sample reflecting your skills at writing for a popular audience) and two references required. In your cover letter, please explain why you want to be a Democracy Fellow and what skills you hope to gain from the experience. Please feel encouraged to express interest in any particular project or issue within FairVote's mission and work. Please send materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for fellowships starting in September 2013 are due by March 15, 2013, but may be sent at any time.